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38 | TEST Digest

Addressing the diversity

To satisfy the number and diversity of systems under test, the traditional demarcation lines between toolsets have become blurred. Charlie Wheeler, director of T-Plan believes that companies now need a variety of tools from different vendors to achieve blanket coverage for their testing activities.


ounded in 1990, T-Plan developed a test

management tool which ensured that applications of critical importance to the UK and global economy were developed, tested and launched successfully. The company has worked closely with some of the most prestigious institutions in the UK. T-Plan Robot Enterprise is the most

flexible and universal black box test automation tool on the market. Providing a human-like approach to software testing of the user interface, and uniquely built on JAVA, Robot performs well in situations where other tools may fail. It runs on, and automates all major systems, such as Windows, Mac, Linux, Unix, Solaris, and mobile platforms such as Android, iPhone, Windows Mobile, Windows CE, Symbian. It can test any system. As automation runs at the GUI level, via the use of VNC, the tool can automate any application.

Challenges Presently the market is presenting some interesting challenges for software testing. With a mind-set on budget and obtaining the same quality of testing for a smaller budgetary spend; we are seeing a shift away from the historic main conglomerate testing providers,

TEST | October 2011 TEST Digest | October 2011

towards more focused independent companies like ourselves. For our test management tool this

has been great news as our tool is very similar to the major players, but strategically is more cost effective. For our test automation software

we are also seeing a trend towards maximising the automation potential of a collection of tools and techniques, rather than a silver bullet solution by one large provider. Like ourselves, when a company only does testing they are able to be very nimble in bringing solutions to market very quickly, where new technology or technical implementations require a customised solution.

Opportunities The opportunities in this space right now are tremendous and with the plethora of tools and services being provided at the moment, it is an exciting industry to be part of. With this sentiment in mind it is my belief that we will continue to see an increased collaboration and communication between different companies, and therefore technologies, when testing projects are being carried out for customers. We have heard for some time now

about grey box testing (essentially a combination of black box and white box testing), and it is my belief that we

shall see an explosion of these sort of testing practices, being more and more deployed in test environments. For some this will be a use of a combination of different toolsets, whereas for others we will see developers and testers alike working to get a coherent test structure, utilising a combination of different techniques, data sets and of course tools. For example: take the case of

a company that is having to produce a product that now has to function in not just a windows environment, but in a mobile and Linux one also. Users expect a unique but consistent experience across the different technologies, but above all the present day consumer expects quality and security. We have become failure intolerant when using technologies that are no longer emerging and have become intertwined with everyday life. What this means for the software

testing industry is a procurement of a selection of tools to test systems across a wide range of different environments. Historically we have been able to control the testing into fairly neat packages, as the tests conducted on the different environments, all used similar hardware and networks etc. For example, tests carried out against different operating systems of Windows XP, Vista, and 7 etc. However in the

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