Powerful and Lightweight Tool Simplifies Testing
By Anand Narayanaswamy
It is indeed tedious to manually check each and every line of source code for a huge application. Hence, you need a robust testing tool that eliminates all possible errors from the application and enables you to provide a quality and bug-free product for your end users. There are many products available on the market for testing applications, but most are huge in size and are not suitable for beginners. Moreover, customers often will need to spend a lot of time learning every feature of a testing product.
TestComplete 5 from AutomatedQA (http://www.automatedqa.com) simplifies the entire testing process with the help of a powerful and lightweight integrated environment. The product completely supports various testing functionalities, such as functional, unit, regression, manual, data driven, object driven, distributed and HTTP load, stress, and scalability.
Installation & Use
I installed the Enterprise Edition of TestComplete 5 on a system with Windows XP Professional SP2 and 512 MB RAM. The entire installation process went very smoothly. Once installed, the product not only tests Win32 and .NET applications, but also Classic ASP, Java, and the newly introduced Windows Presentation Foundation (WPF) applications. TestComplete 5 also provides support for testing projects created using Microsoft Visual C++, Visual Basic, Borland Delphi, C++Builder, and the .NET Framework. It also integrates well with Visual Studio 2005, so you can directly test applications from within the Integrated Development Environment (IDE). Moreover, a new project can be created with the help of a series of wizards; each screen shows relevant help, which will benefit beginners by helping them understand the relevance of a particular item.
The core feature of the product is that it has built-in support for recording and simulating user actions.
Figure 1: Recording an event.
Not only can you record events, but also you can view the code generated by the recorder in the background.
Figure 2: Analyzing the code.
Some of the other features of TestComplete 5 are Language-Independent Scripting, Intelligent Recording, and Support for Unicode and Multiple Compiler. The product accesses all the internal objects, methods, and properties of an application to provide a detailed analysis for evaluation by the product team. It also allows you to perform load, stress, and scalability testing of Web server applications. The product records HTTP, HTTPS, and SOAP requests, and it allows you to play back the recorded traffic with hundreds or thousands of virtual users that can be simulated on several workstations simultaneously.
An interesting feature of the Enterprise Edition is that it includes an Optical Character Recognition (OCR) engine that lets you translate into text strings text shown in forms and windows of tested applications. These strings can then be used to create solid and reliable tests. Moreover, the engine is fully scriptable, so you can configure its settings to provide better recognition.
TestComplete 5 also ships with the Object Browser tool, which allows you to explore the application under test, as well as other processes running in the system.
Figure 3: The Object Browser in action.
In addition, TestComplete 5 includes a powerful code editor that supports such features as bookmarks, outlining, syntax highlighting, code completion, and code templates.
Figure 4: The code editor in action.
AutomatedQA provides two useful utilities, TestExecute and TestRecorder, which are either available as a standalone product or included with the Enterprise Edition. While the former allows you to run TestComplete projects and log results on computers where the product is not installed, the latter provides the capability to embed script recording functionalities into your applications.
Even though a majority of developers nowadays don t use ActiveX objects, TestComplete 5 has built-in support for them. This feature is an advantage for projects developed prior to the evolution of .NET. The product includes several sample programs for .NET, Java, Borland Delphi, and C++Builder, with which you can explore the various core features. A complete listing of all the TestComplete 5 features is available at http://www.automatedqa.com/products/testcomplete/tc_features.asp.
The product is entirely built using a COM-based architecture and most of the features in the product are supported through plug-ins. You can also write your own plug-ins using the supplied interface libraries and documentation. However, AutomatedQA provides some of the user-contributed plug-ins, which can be downloaded from http://www.automatedqa.com/downloads/plugins.asp.
Documentation & Support
Although TestComplete 5 ships with comprehensive documentation, it doesn t clearly demonstrate how to get started with the product. I d like to see AutomatedQA provide video tutorials so customers, mainly beginners, can quickly and easily learn how best to use it. The product ships with a 100-page document that examines the use of the product, but beginners will find it difficult to follow the content on it due to the high level of complexity. Moreover, the vendor should provide the document in PDF format for easy navigation.
AutomatedQA s support needs improvement; I waited two days to receive a reply from them. Hopefully that was the exception, not the rule. Maybe if they introduce a ticket-based system customers and the related product team members could collaborate more efficiently.
These few caveats aside, from my point of view, TestComplete 5 does the job of testing various applications very nicely. It is suitable for beginners, and will be a sure shot for advanced developers and testers.
Anand Narayanaswamy, a Microsoft Most Valuable Professional (MVP), works as an independent consultant and runs NetAns Technologies (http://www.netans.com), which provides Web hosting services based in Trivandrum, India. Anand also works as a technical editor lead for http://ASPAlliance.com. He runs http://www.Learnxpress.com, http://Dotnetalbum.com, and http://Csharpfaq.com. Anand is the author of Community Server Quickly (Packt Publishing). You can explore more information about the book at http://www.communityserverbook.com. Find out more about him at http://www.visualanand.net or e-mail him at mailto:[email protected].
Price: Enterprise Edition, US$999.99