Automated Software Test Articles

        This is  a review of several articles about automated software tests. All the articles are written by experienced specialists in software testing.

- Software Test Automation and the Product Life Cycle

(by Dave Kelly, a Software Quality Assurance Manager for Symantec Corporation responsible for testing several networking products including Norton Administrator for Networks for MacOS)

Dave Kelly writes about the importance of using an automatic test program, that will avoid the errors that humans make when they get tired after multiple repetitions. A test program won't skip any tests by mistake and will also record the results of the test accurately. Dave Kelly says: "Software that is tested manually will be tested with a randomness that helps find bugs in more varied situations. Since a software program usually won't vary each time it is run, it may not find some bugs that manual testing will. Automated software testing is never a complete substitute for manual testing".

        But there are programs for automated software test, that can reproduce tests at random, such as AutoClickExtreme (with its Playlist function).  

- Lessons in Test Automation

(by Elfriede Dustin, a test manager at Computer Sciences Corporation and the author of the book titled Automated Software Testing)

Elfriede Dustin has worked on many projects at various companies where automated testing tools were introduced to a test program lifecycle for the first time. In reviewing these projects, she has accumulated a list of "Automated Testing Lessons Learned," taken from actual experiences and test engineer feedback. In this article, she will share examples of this feedback, hoping that this information will help you avoid some typical false starts and roadblocks. One of the main problems she encounters is difference of tools, which are used one for each phase. They are each from a different vendor and they didn’t easily integrate. Trying to overcome those challenges and integrate the tools on this project was a complex effort. Much time was spent trying to move information from one tool set to another, using elaborate programming techniques, and resulting in extra work.

        AutoClickExtreme can easily solve the problem of tool difference and integrate all of them into one aip file.  AutoClickExtreme can automate any windows program, you just need to record all the tests in it, and it will use a different tool for each phase. Thus, you'll have a fully automated software test that encloses all the software testing tools you need.

- Three Keys to Test Automation

(by Bret Pettichord, a consultant specializing in software testing, test automation and testability. Familiar with many test tools, he helps teams develop test automation strategies and architectures. He has helped develop automated tests for such companies as Texas Instruments, Rational, Netpliance, Whisperwire, Managemark, Tivoli, Unison, BMC, Segue and Interleaf.)

Bret Pettichord reviews the automated software test projects in which he has been involved and identifies the factors most associated with success. He points out main challenges faced by test automation for mature software products. One of them is that automated test procedures are never quite the same as manual test procedures. They can be similar, but some things will need to be different. Every testing strategy has strengths and weaknesses. Changing strategy--which is what automation requires--may make testers and managers who are familiar with the old approach nervous. He admits that this is often the most difficult challenge to late-starting testing automation projects.

        The problem of changing strategy, required by software test automation, can also be solved with the help of AutoClickExtreme. With this auto clicker testers and managers, who are used to the old approach, won't have to change their strategy. They can record their usual manual tests in AutoClickExtreme and get an automated software test. Such automated software tests are easily made and save precious time and nerves.

- Success with Test Automation

(by Bret Pettichord, a consultant, writer and trainer specializing in software testing and test automation)

Bret Pettichord points out, that over the past several years the pressure on testers has increased. Testers are being asked to test more and more code in less and less time. They need to dramatically improve their own productivity. Test automation is one way to do this. Many testers do not have strong programming skills. This combined with the repetitive nature of much testing, leads people to use record and playback techniques. There indeed are many tools that allow scripts to be recorded and then played back, using screen captures for verification. The problem that always crops up is that the layouts are changed, invalidating the screen captures and then the interface controls change making playback fail. Now the scripts must be re-recorded from scratch. Record and playback tools provide an easy way to create throwaway test suites.

        AutoClickExtreme is one of "record and playback tools" that automatically records actions. With it's new Replay Branches technology based on Pixel Control it can create reliable automated software tests. You don't have to re-record a test, if interface elements change - just  create a new Replay Branch at this point. You even don't have to think about it, AutoClickExtreme itself will tell you when to create an alternative Replay Branch.

- Getting a Late Start on Test Automation

(by Bret Pettichord, a consultant, writer and trainer specializing in software testing and test automation)

Bret says: "Early in a project, changes in code or strategy are less risky, because we have less confidence in what we are changing from. But with time, change becomes more difficult. I’d estimate that the difficulty increases by a factor of three or four. And our test automation project now requires additional skills. Now we need a change agent, someone who is effective at shepherding an organization through necessary changes." He chooses an approach  to try and follow the existing test strategy to the degree that it does not burden the test automation, but then to insist on the strategy changes that are required to allow the test automation to be reliable and efficient. So that the changes wouldn't make managers uncomfortable.

        Now, with AutoClickExtreme, it's possible to have a late start on test automation, and you won't have to change code or strategy. You'll get lots of automated tests by doing the same things you've done for ages. Such automated software tests do not require additional skills, any one can easily use AutoClickExtreme. There is no need in a change agent!

- Seven Steps to Test Automation Success

(by Bret Pettichord, a consultant, writer and trainer specializing in software testing and test automation)

Bret Pettichord admits, that an automated software test can create as many problems as it solves. The key is to follow the rules of software development when automating testing. This article presents seven key steps: improve the testing process, define requirements, prove the concept, champion product testability, design for sustainability, plan for deployment, and face the challenges of success. Follow these steps as you staff, tool, or schedule your test automation project, and you will be well on your way to success. Bret says, that many teams start by automating their regression tests. These are the tests that are frequently run and rerun, checking to make sure that things that used to work aren't broken by new changes. They are run often and are tedious. But such automated software tests need lots of documentation, so that, another tester from the team could execute the tests.

        If you use AutoClickExtreme, no documentation will be needed, a tester just chooses the test he needs and presses the button Play. Or it can be even simpler, if to create a Playlist with several tests in it. The only thing to be done in this case is to start the Playlist Replay with a ready list of automated software tests.

You can also read: ;

Pixel Control – a New Range of AutoClickExtreme Opportunities

The Command Line Is a Useful Heritage from MS DOS

How to Automate Repetitive Actions on Your Computer