Original Adds Some Manual Features to Testing Suite
January 11, 2007 Alex Woodie
When you hear the name “Original Software,” chances are good the words “automated iSeries, Windows, and Web-based software testing” pop into your mind. That is no mistake, as this has been what the English software house has been developing and promoting for as long as this reporter can remember. That is why it is a bit surprising to hear that Original Software is now taking a small step back from its mantra of all automated software testing, and talking up the virtues of manual testing techniques.
Make no mistake about it: Original Software is not throwing in the towel on test automation. The company still believes very strongly that automation is the answer to the bulk of software test procedures. For some testing tasks, such as regression testing, it’s the only feasible alternative.
But the company has come to the conclusion that not every customer needs to automate every aspect of its test environment. For some customers–in particular those that have already established workable manual test procedures–forcing an automated test solution is not the ideal approach. This is why the company is now trying to make it easier for manual test processes to cohabitate with automated processes maintained by its software.
“Original is still in the automated testing business, very much so. It’s what they develop and what they’re going to continue to promote,” a company spokesman said. “But they have found that a lot of their customers are a little intimidated through full automation. In many cases, they’re using test automation to replicate tests they already have in place.”
In December, Original Software announced that it’s now easier to use its Test Drive suite of tools–specifically, TestDrive-Gold–with either manual processes, or as part of a fully automated testing platform. Software testers can now take advantage of key technologies and techniques that Original has developed–including Self-Healing Scripts (SHS), which automatically detect when applications have been updated; BusySense, which adds time delays and simulates how real users interact with applications; “code-free” testing for script-less testing–whether they use manual or automated testing techniques.
The key element is that TestDrive will still keep an audit trail of all testing activities, manual or automated, which enables users to reproduce and then fix bugs or other errors. It also keeps track of what users see on the screen during the testing process. Organizations will benefit because they can get up and running with TestDrive in less time and with less training, while still maintaining a centralized testing platform. It also keeps their options open for moving up to fully automated testing when they’re ready at some point in the future.
George Wilson, director of operations for Original, says the manual testing capabilities will be a boon to User Acceptance Testing, and also help with gap analysis and audit and compliance requirements.
“The manual testing capability is unobtrusive and logs the user actions and results behind the scenes,” he says in an e-mail. “The results package is created immediately without the need for the user to go back and work out exactly what they had done, find another similar example, repeat the process, and capture the evidence again.”
The change marks a significant step forward for manual testers, says Colin Armitage, CEO of Original Software. “Up to now, glorified versions of Notepad represented the best assistance for manual testing, such as creating simple lists of testing tasks with the ability to pass or fail,” Armitage says. “We’ve made available powerful functions to testers in a nonintrusive, quick-to-learn-and-deploy, intuitive manner. Testers see immediate benefits in their manual testing, developers can correct defects far faster, while the results can simultaneously be used as the basis for full automation.”
It’s all part of Original’s new “walk before you run” approach toward getting users comfortable with test automation. “Starting small is a valid approach. ‘Crawl, walk, run,’ as head of our U.S. operation, Greg Sengpiel, is fond of saying. But equally, we expect people to make gains in the first phases of the first project.”
TestDrive supports green-screen iSeries, Windows, Notes, and Web-based application development. TestDrive-Gold version 5.2 is available now. For more information, see www.origsoft.com.