Original Beefs Up Report Compare Feature in iSeries Testing Tool
August 19, 2008 Alex Woodie
Original Software recently launched a new release of its TestBench for iSeries software. With version 6.3, the English software company has included a new report compare feature that should dramatically speed the analysis of test results and improve test quality, the company says. Original also launched a new test-asset management portal for heightened collaboration among testers, and released a new version of TestBench for Oracle databases.
The new report compare feature of TestBench for iSeries version 6.3 will enable customers to compare a new version of a test result against a previously validated baseline version, according to Original Software. In this manner, the software does the work of identifying differences between the reports, which can span hundreds of pages, thereby saving human eyes for more pertinent uses.
Original says the new feature was added at the request of the iSeries and System i customer base, which has long struggled to compare the results of regression tests and other analyses performed to ensure applications haven’t been adversely affected by programmers’ changes.
One customer that’s already benefiting from the new feature of TestBench for iSeries is Euronet USA, a Little Rock, Arkansas, division of the $900-million electronic payments service provider.
“A typical regression test on our applications would produce hundreds of reports. It just wasn’t feasible to manually check through all of these,” says Dale Cook, manager of software development at Euronet USA.
When an error was picked up, it took a huge amount of time to go back through the reports and track it down, Cook says. But worst of all, there was a chance that the tester wouldn’t catch it. “It really was an unacceptable level of risk,” he says.
Cook looked around for a solution, and finally found one with Original. “Nothing on the market sufficiently met our needs,” he says. The new report compare feature “will reduce corporate risk and allow us to improve the quality of our applications.”
To use the report compare feature, a customer must identity a key piece of information that should remain consistent through report runs, such as an invoice number or a product code. It will then compare the two report runs, during which it will match the similar data while identifying the dissimilar data.
The capability to match similar data will keep the reports on track even if things get off kilter a little bit. For example, if an additional line item shows up in a subsequent report–a small change that doesn’t necessarily indicate a new error in the application–the TestBench report compare feature will be able to adjust for that and correctly analyze the rest of the report for important problems.
New Test Portal
Original also launched a new software testing portal, called Original Software Manager, which provides customers with a repository for sharing data and documents used during the test process, and a workspace to boost collaboration.
The new Software Manager, which is free to all Original customers, functions as an extension of Windows Explorer, and allows customers to share information by simply dragging and dropping items, such as test plans, test scripts, action plans, spreadsheets, and supporting documentation, into a common repository.
“The new portal allows testing and QA [quality assurance] professionals to manage licenses and more easily deal with complex environments where multiple servers and testing solutions may be deployed,” says Gregory Sengpiel, general manager Original’s Americas division, which is based in Westmont, Illinois. “With a user friendly interface, it is anticipated that significant time savings will be found in locating files, launching products, and utilizing assets that may already exist within the team.”
TestBench for Oracle
Last but not least, a busy Original launched a new release of TestBench for Oracle, its suite of testing applications for applications built on the Oracle database. With TestBench for Oracle version 6.3, Original has added a new data-scrambling module designed to prevent sensitive data from falling into the wrong hands.
The new data-scrambling module allows customers to continue to use their production data for testing purposes, which most closely approximates how the applications will behave in the real world. But instead of using unmodified production data, TestBench tweaks the data slightly, rendering it unintelligible to others who may happen across it.
TestBench can tweak the data in several ways. It can swap the data among different fields, thereby de-identifying customer details. Or it can generate new data when simply swapping rows doesn’t alleviate all security concerns, such as with credit card numbers.
The need for data scrambling in test software is real and immediate. Original cites statistics that show more than 60 percent of customers in a recent survey admit to using production data in test environments, and that 50 percent shared this data with outside testers, putting the security of the data in jeopardy.
Original Software CEO Colin Armitage says the new scrambling module completes the company’s Oracle data management capabilities. “Customers can already extract data from live systems to a test environment and the testing functionality enables them to view the effects of the application under test on the database,” he says. “Our data-protection module allows users to roll back the changes and reset the environment if it becomes corrupted by any testing activity, and now we can also ensure that the data being used, is not only risk-free but is still representative of the live environment.”
Original rolled out a similar capability for iSeries shops way back in 2005, when it launched Extractor Compliance Edition for use with TestBench for iSeries. In recent years, Original has bolstered its solutions for open systems, which now account for more than half of the company’s business.
TestBench for Oracle 6.3 works with Oracle 9i, 10g and 11i. For more information, visit www.origsoft.com.