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From "Andrew C. Oliver" <acoli...@apache.org>
Subject Re: Interoperability tests
Date Wed, 15 Jan 2003 19:00:39 GMT
There are no tests which try to actually load the file into excel.  


1. The nightly build runs on a headless linux box.
2. That would require the use of OLE Automation to load excel
3. That would be ungodly slow
4. When Excel dies, it usually just crashes.  I suppose hanging the 
testcase would be a reasonable way to note that "yes virginia, the test 
failed" but it wouldn't be exactly automated.

Where the files go is dependent on platform.  On UNIX they generally go 
in /tmp.  On Windows they go in different places depending on variety. 
 In the case of Windows 2k they go in D:\Documents and 
Settings\username\Local Settings\Temp (and BTW, the build never deletes 
them...which can use a lot of space up if you don't remember to go after 

Since we've estabilished its not possible to use excel in the manner you 
suggest from a unit test, loading these up manually seems to be the most 
reasonable approach.

So what good are the unit tests?  

The unit tests ensure that HSSF/POI and friends do not cause exceptions
The better of the unit tests take some real world peice of data and 
compare the output of POI/HSSF to it.

We can catch:
 most order errors (meaning Record X must go before Record Y)
 most binary syntax errors (If I set cell format to Bla then there 
should be a new record here with these values, etc)

We can't catch:
Weird things excel expects to be true
Unintended usage which we did not presuppose
Total misusage (some folks do some creative things -- interperating even 
the most obvious of the APIs to mean what they want it to mean... these 
people don't generally read any of the javadoc and quick guide first...)
The effect of structures we haven't implemented (or discovered) on the 
result after modification.  (meaning the effect of words we don't know 
on the grammar of what we write.  For instance if you say "The dog ate 
the cat" and you tell me to make the dog big, I don't need to know what 
the cat is in order to make it "The big dog ate the cat" -- however if 
you tell me to change the operation to "drank" I'll produce an invalid 
operation "The big dog drank the cat" since I don't know what a cat is 
-- whats worse is Excel uses some things to mean different things based 
on context -- so some things that might mean one thing mean another...)

I'll write more on debugging POI and stick it in the wiki.


Chris Haddad wrote:

> I'm currently looking at the source for the POI test cases (which run
> successfully on my copy of the nightly build), and would like to know where
> output XLS files are stored to test interoperability with real-world
> of Excel.   For example, i desire to run code similar to
> TestHSSFCell.testActiveCell() and determine if the file can be loaded into
> my version of Excel.
> does POI have these kinds of tests in the build?
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