Sunday, June 26, 2005

Functional Testing Tools - traceability to requirements

There are quite a few functional testing tools out there: Mercury WinRunner, QuickTest Professional, SilkTest, TestPartner, IBM Rational Robot, IBM Rational XDE/Functional Tester, AccordSqa SmarteScript, etc. The list doesn't really go on and on; a few of the tools listed (Mercury and IBM Rational tools) own the lion's share of the functional testing tools market.

These functional testing tools do a pretty admirable job of enabling software testers to automate functional testing. Depending on the environment and target application being tested, some tools work better than others. When used in an isolated sense, however, the tools are missing a big piece of the picture: testing what needs to be tested in terms of requirements specifications. Without linking tests back to requirements, generating reports that show what's being tested (or not) and communicate becomes an error-prone manual process. Without an automated link back to requirements, it's hard to know how test results relate to the overall quality of software. In a nutshell, traceability from test cases and test results back to requirements provides context necessary for the QA process to work.

Ring-Zero Software makes integrations that provide this context. Because the company's founders came from IBM / Rational Software, they chose to build integrations that center around Rational's test planning tool, TestManager. Out of the box, Rational provides integrations that let testers tie their tests back to requirements kept in Rational's own requirements tool, IBM Rational RequisitePro, as well as IBM Rational Rose and Microsoft Excel. TestManager has an open architecture and published API that makes it possible to extend Test Manager's ability to tie to other requirements tools and functional testing tools.

Ring-Zero has added to Rational's list of integrations by building bridges to several popular requirements tools made by Rational competitors:

Ring-Zero Test Input Adapter for Telelogic DOORS Allows Rational TestManager users to work against the market-leader in requirements management tools, DOORS. Ring-Zero's integration leverages DOORS requirements by supporting "suspicion", which basically means that if you link test cases to requirements and the requirements change, the test cases are marked as "suspect" indicating that they may need review since the underlying requirements may have changed in ways that could affect testing. Ring-Zero also leverages DOORS requirements and letting them be used to populate Rational's ManualTest test scripts.

Ring-Zero Test Input Adapter for Borland CaliberRM TestManager users can work against Borland's entry into requirements management tools. This tool used to be made by StarBase before Borland bought them. This integration is very similar to their DOORS integration, but with CaliberRM instead of DOORS.

Ring-Zero Test Input Adapter for IBM Rational ClearQuest This is an interesting integration. Usually one would think of submitting defects from test results as a one-way process. Rational has a pretty tight integration with their testing software that lets you do this, but Ring-Zero has gone a step further. Often testers need a way to tie tests back to defects that have been submitted, perhaps to generate reports that demonstrate that all defects for a particular release are being tested. Ring-Zero's integration lets test planners treat defects like requirements in this sense, and if tests linked to defects fail, they can submit more defects.

More information about Ring-Zero Test Input Adapters for TestManager is available from Ring-Zero Software.