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Agile Testing Solution for Java

Enterprise Test Manager - traditional testing methods are long, drawn out and tedious

Traditional testing methods are long, drawn out and tedious. Moreoften than not organizations spend millions of dollars testing their scripts using a technique that can be slow, costly and sometimes incorrect. ETM is my attempt to address this lag, a bottleneck in your IT assembly line, that can bring your whole project to a grinding halt. Traditional, testing approaches require four major entities to work with each other. These are:

  1. The Tester
  2. The Developer
  3. The Business Owner
  4. The Business User

The Developer develops the software based on some requirements from the Business Owner. Once the software has been developed, the developer does some Unit Testing. Satisfied with the results of his Unit Testing, the developer pushes the application to the next stage, where it will go through a series of tests to ensure its quality and compliance. Enter the Tester, the protagonist of our discussion today. The Tester is the person who is responsible for going through the Requirements documents and come up with test cases. They do this by scheduling meetings and working with the business owners.

Once the TESTCASES are ready and the TESTCASES are approved by the business owners, the Tester at this point diverts his attention to the Developer. The Tester begs, tortures and pleads the Developer to provide him with a test script so he can run his TESTCASES. This is the first blow delivered to the integrity of the tests. To guarantee reliable test results, testing must ensure that the only piece of code the Developer is responsible for is "the code to be tested." This will ensure a complete blackbox testing of the application. Any other gray/white approach would expose the testing to manipulation and tampering.

Once the test scripts are ready, the Tester then goes to the business user to collect details regarding the data that needs to be used for testing. The Tester at this point has all the information to perform his testing. How much time has all of this consumed? Depending on the availability of each of the stakeholders, this would take anywhere from two to four weeks based on the size of the organization. Not only has this slowed down your speed-to-production on the current project, but it also has stalled future projects as your Development and Business groups are busy supporting and working with the testers. Also, most of the test scripts and test cases created by the testers can easily become redundant , if they are not managed properly. The traditional approach additionally requires that most of the results and defects are tracked using a manual process, with little or no relationships between the TESTCASES, testresults and the defects.

Enterprise Test Manager is an approach to take all these disconnected procedures and bring them together into one tightly coupled application that will not only speed up the testing process, but will also help you efficiently create, manage and execute your quality control scripts and results. ETM will make it easier for the different stake holders to perform their role and ensure that the highest standards of quality control are ensured. ETM will help clearly define the role of each and every individual based on roles and access rights. ETM application is a web-based app that will run on any application server. The ETM application once deployed , can be accessed from anywhere in the world (as long you are within the network), using a web browser. The developer initiates the testing cycle by uploading his application artifacts (ex. the POJO API to be tested, the client side jars need to connect to a web-service etc...). He uploads these artifacts by creating a Testing project for his application. He then defines other specific details of the application, including the various interfaces defined in his API or Service, how to initialize/connect to these services. Each of this interface/Entity becomes a test target within the project. Here, the developer can provide additional details like where his application is deployed (host, port etc..). At this point the projects is ready for testing.

To test the application, the developer or the business owner or the tester, logs into ETM and connects to this project in a specified role. Once logged in , the tester can only create and execute test cases , but he cannot change the project details or the service details. ETM provides a graphical wizard like step by step interface to help create and organise TESTCASES. When the tester selects a a particular project to be tested, he is presented with a wizard , which will load all the services that are exposed by the project (as defined by the developer). The user at this point can simply click and select the service he wants to create a testcase against. In the next step, the wizard will show the user all the methods that the service/interface exposes to the user. The user selects the method he wants to be tested and proceeds to the next screen. The next screen, the wizard gives the user a graphical form , representing the arguments that the selected method needs. The user fills this data and proceeds to the next step. The next screen, will provide the user options on how to handle any errors or exceptions that may arise. The last screen, gives the user an option to save his result in the server memory, so it can be used by some other testcase, as an object. He has an option to declare this object either as local or global context. The user clicks save to end the wizard. The wizard at this point create a test case entry based on the data collected and is made available to user under the project->Service he had selected.

The user can organize his test cases into groups by using the concepts of  TESTGROUPS and TESTSUITES. TESTGROUPS allows the user to group TESTCASES from within the same service to create a logical flow or procedure. TESTSUITES are a collection of several such groups, thus enabling the user to create logical flow across various projects. Once the testcase have been created, ETM will enable the user to view,edit, delete these test cases by displaying them in a tabular manner. User can search, sort and organise these TESTCASES based on several parameters. Each of the TESTGROUPS, TESTSUITES and TESTCASES can be easily execute , by clicking on the green execute button next to the, The user has the option to a synthetic execution of the TESTCASE execution, easily enabling them to gather performance data. The Executions results are shown in a user friendly HTML form, with options to save the results for future comparisons, or if there any errors, defects can be opened with a single click of a button. This ensures that the defects opened have all the input and output data that a developer may need to reproduce the issue.

I will end this dicussion here. I am hoping that you enjoyed reading this article. I am currently working on getting the Tool deployed on a server, so I can have some users try this out. I am hoping I will have it up and ready before Part 2 of this article. In Part 2 I will be discussing the internal working of the ETM tool and its advantages and how it can decrease the duration of your testing cycles.

In short ETM will eliminate the need for developers to write throw-away code for testing your applications. TESTCASES developed in ETM will be very easy to migrate to newer versions of your application. It will be a breeze to open any defects and also compare current results against historical data ( actual test results, performance data etc.). Actually, It might even eliminate the cost of having a dedicated testing team. The business user and his browser will be your favorite testing team.

More Stories By Karthik Narayanan

I am an avid software engineer with more than 7+ years of experience in the industry. I have been working with Java technologies for the past 5 years now. I am currently working as a Sr.Programmer Analyst with FedEx Services. My interests are in java, especially in the areas of Framework development and automation.

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