Software Testing Product: SmartBear TestComplete 8.5 Enterprise Edition

Well-designed software testing solution for automated testing of Windows applications

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
Website: TestComplete
Price: $1,999

Editor's Note: Per SmartBear, the next major release of TestComplete is scheduled for October 2011.

SmartBear Software's TestComplete is a mature product that I have been using for years. Recently, this excellent application-testing product was upgraded to an 8.5 point release to fully support Adobe AIR and Flash application testing. This review will examine that functionality and succinctly analyze what makes TestComplete a utility worth keeping in your testing toolbox.

TestComplete covers a broad range of applications, including all forms of .NET languages (e.g., Visual C#, VB.NET, Borland C#Builder, the .NET implementation of Delphi, IronPython, IronRuby) as well as more traditional Visual C++, Java, Delphi, PowerBuilder, FoxPro, and Microsoft Access programs. Silverlight 4 and Nokia's Qt 4.7.0 and later are also fully supported. And as I mentioned, TestComplete 8.5 also fully supports Adobe Flash 9.0 and later, Adobe Flex 3.3 and later, and Adobe AIR 2 and later. Essentially, almost anything that you can develop within the Windows environment can be tested with TestComplete.

In addition to its extensive language support, TestComplete can also be used to test a vast array of third-party controls and plug-ins, such as familiar Windows and ASP.NET components from popular vendors such as Infragistics and DevExpress. Your own custom controls can be tooled with TestComplete's easy-to-use SDK to hook them into TestComplete's introspective application analysis. This feature can be quite useful when you're trying to determine where a problem lies, especially when third-party components from different vendors commingle with each other.

 

Creating Test Scripts

TestComplete 8.5 offers a variety of techniques for creating automated test scripts—from recording and replaying on-screen actions via a simple VCR record/playback control, shown in Figure 1, to assembling actions via a point-and-click tool palette of standard commands, to manually coding the scripts the old-fashioned way. Optimally, you'll want to use all these techniques, and the interfaces are easy enough to master that you will be performing such accelerated tasks within the first 30 minutes of using the product. Once tests are created, you can store them in a source-control system such as CVS, IBM Rational ClearCase, SourceGear Vault, Seapine Software's Surround SCM, Microsoft Visual SourceSafe, or any other Microsoft Source Code Control (SCC)–compliant system.

Figure 1: TestComplete 8.5 record/playback control
Figure 1: TestComplete 8.5 record/playback control

 

Storyboarding and Distributed Testing

TestComplete 8.5 also features a storyboarding capability called the Test Visualizer, shown in Figure 2, which lets you simply point and click the mouse to drill down on specific objects being evaluated. You can evaluate runtime versus recorded screens down to the pixel to make variable visual element modifications.

Figure 2: Using the TestComplete Test Visualizer
Figure 2: Using the TestComplete Test Visualizer

TestComplete also supports distributed automated testing among multiple computers, helping to greatly accelerate test suites across disparate versions and patch levels of the operating system. And whether running in local or distributed mode, TestComplete runs all the major test types you would expect from a test suite, from coverage, data-driven, and functional tests to regression, unit, and white-box runs. Data-driven tests are especially easy to construct, thanks to TestComplete's data generators that can quickly populate databases with dummy data. Phony names, phone numbers, credit card numbers, and a host of other data types can be created with a mouse click. How I wish I had something like this during the early days of e-commerce application development!

Once tests have been executed, you can view results using the TestComplete dashboard report, shown in Figure 3, or via detailed logs that capture a wealth of detail. Testers can annotate the logs and sort, filter, and export them as HTML, MHT, or XML files.

Figure 3: Viewing TestComplete software testing results
Figure 3: Viewing TestComplete software testing results

Compared with other Windows-based commercial test suites I've struggled with in the past, TestComplete makes Windows application testing a breeze. Over successive releases, the user interface has been optimally tuned for intuitive use. Anyone who has used a GUI-based test suite in the past will quickly acclimate to TestComplete's surroundings. To see what I mean, you can watch a 10-minute video demo of the application in action. You can also try out either the standard or enterprise edition of TestComplete free for 30 days.

 

At the Top of Its Game

If you are responsible for testing applications on Windows, whether they are Java, .NET, Adobe AIR, or traditional Windows Forms–based applications, you'll find that TestComplete 8.5 remains at the top of its game for comprehensive application test scripting and validation. I look forward to TestComplete's evolution along with the upcoming release of Windows 8 to give testers even more options to test applications under the complete family of Windows server and desktop operating systems.

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