Working With Automated Testing Tools

A Pragmatic Approach
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the objects on the ERP bolt on for record and playback. As it turns out my client company could not record or script at all the newly acquired ERP bolt-on despite the vendor’s promise. Having stretched the budget for automated testing software on a single vendor my client had to abandon its plans to automate the testing of the ERP bolt-on even though there were other vendors in the market that had demonstrated the compatibility between their automated testing software and the ERP bolt-on in question. My client’s only vendor for automated testing software made promises that within 6 months they would deliver a solution to test the ERP bolt-on but in the meantime my client had to test by hand and manually the newly acquired ERP bolt-on and thus rendering the automated tools useless for this effort.

2. Future of the application
Test managers in selecting automated testing software should not only consider the current state of the architecture of their software application but future releases of their software. For instance an automated testing tool may be compatible with a currently installed client server software application that is invoked via a GUI on a desktop, but what if within a future release of the software the new architecture for the software is to become a completely web-enabled solution that is not compatible with the automated testing tools that were recently purchased? If the purchased automated testing software will not be compatible with a future release of the software that will be tested then the test manager may want to postpone obtaining the automated testing software.

3. Vendor Support
Another guideline for a test manager to follow in selecting automated testing software is the quality of the vendor's software support. I was once in a project where the existing automated software did not recognize newly introduced active-x controls within the application under test. I worked closely with the vendor to get a beta version of their software to support my testing needs at the project for the application’s active-x controls. The vendor sent me within a workweek 3 different beta versions of their software until I was able to record and playback successfully against the active-x controls within my application. During the evaluation period for the automated testing software the company purchasing the software should have its test engineers call the vendor for support and evaluate the quality and responsiveness of the vendor’s support when problems arise with the recording of test scripts during the evaluation period.

Automated Tool Administration
After a company has selected and purchased automated testing software from a vendor that meets a vast majority of the company’s automated testing needs the next step is to assign roles and responsibilities for administering the software. The test manager should appoint primary and back-up administrators for managing the administration of the automated testing software. The roles of the tool administrator would be to install the software, install software patches, report bugs and defects with the software to the vendor, configure and customize the software as needed, provide log-on user access to the software as needed, maintain the software's documentation and user's guides.

The test manager is hereby reminded that in many corporations the automated testing tools are not part of the help-desk standard software image and therefore the company's help desk does not support the automated test tools at all when end users report problems with the automated test tools.

Should end users of the automated test tools encounter problems with the automated test tools within the project that are not quickly resolved then the end users may lose

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