Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Functional Testing Tools - Mixed Vendor Implementations

The plethora of functional testing tools previously mentioned (Mercury Interactive WinRunner, QuickTest Professional, Segue SilkTest, Compuware TestPartner, IBM Rational Robot, IBM Rational XDE/Functional Tester, and AccordSQA SmarteScript), combined with the fact that some tools work better than others in certain environments or against particular target applications, often creates a need for users to switch tools or at a minimum bring in a new tool to use in parallel with their current tool.

Perhaps a company used one vendor's functional testing tool to test Version 1.0 of their target application, and that tool worked fine with the technologies in 1.0, but now Version 2.0 uses different technologies and that testing tool doesn't support some particular aspect of 2.0. Maybe their previous vendor of choice hasn't released an updated version that works with today's technologies, yet works fine for continuing to support 1.0 revisions.

Perhaps an organization is outsourcing its testing and finding that one of the ramifications of outsourcing is a need to employ a new tool that allows greater reuse of testing assets. That might mean moving from a programmer-centric script-based testing tool to a simpler, keyword-driven testing tool. This may be further driven by a need to shorten the learning curve so that many new testers can learn a particular tool, ramp up quickly, and shorten the gap between hiring on and becoming a productive QA team member.

Change is sometimes necessary. What isn't necessary is completely abandoning an old tool, especially one that works fine for previous (but still maintained and supported) releases and one which has been invested in significantly in terms of man-hours spent creating test assets that work.

Ring-Zero Software sells Test Execution Adapters for IBM Rational TestManager. These adapters allow functional testing tools from a variety of tool vendors to be tied to Rational TestManager. Scripts can be executed and results captured within TestManager, and test results can be tied to requirements and defects. In the big picture, these adapters allow non-Rational functional testing tools to be integrated into the environments of companies that use predominantly Rational tools.

IBM Rational includes integrations out of the box that allow TestManager to work with:

  • IBM Rational Robot
  • IBM Rational Functional Tester
  • IBM Rational Performance Tester
  • IBM Rational Visual Test
  • Command-Line driven tests
  • Java-based tests
  • VB-based tests

At the time of this post, Ring-Zero supports the following tools:

Most importantly, the adapters allow testing tools to coexist within a QA environment. In the event that two particular tools cannot coexist on the same machine, the IBM Rational Test Agent can be used to execute scripts on a remote machine. This means that QA shops can now retain Tool X as they fully or partially implement Tool Y, and that neither tool ends up being orphaned from the rest of the software development process. Of course, the catch is that these adapters require the use of IBM Rational TestManager for test planning. This catch really isn't so bad, however, because the tool also provides a bridge to requirements and defects.

More information on Test Script Execution Adapters is available from Ring-Zero Software.