Customer Review

June 23, 2003
"Purchasing a software testing tool suite does not constitute implementing a software process". Wise words from Dan Mosley and Bruce Posey in "Just Enough Software Test Automation"; maybe some development managers need to take heed.
Too many times have automated test tools become shelfware, or the cost of maintaining the scripts prohibitvely expensive. The authors of this book offer a simple and easy to use data-driven framework that can minimise scripts and human effort. They place their framework within the Rational Unified Process (RUP).
The book offers actual and detailed advice that goes all the way down to code and script templates. Based mostly on Rational tools, the book gives lip service to Winrunner and anything said can be translated to any automated tool.
Their open-source framework is the Control Synchronized Data Driven Testing(CSDDT). Data to be input, keywords to navigate through the application and actions to be performed are held in the spreadsheet. There are four main scripts: A Main script that reads and processes the records; a window selection script, a tab selection script, an action script and error handling script. Data input is held in an array and there is a comment field that documents the test record. Your application code is held in a switch statement, and it is highly conceivable that your project can have single figure script numbers. There is also a script that converts the spreadsheet data in a .csv file that is read by the Main script. There is detailed
information given on how to implement the CSDDT. It is a framework I use and am pleased with.
There are two interesting chapters on Unit and Integration testing. Like eXtreme Programmers they believe in automating unit tests that pass at 100% before submitting for build. They correctly argue that unit tests should be constructed before development code is written and they also point to the xUnit group of tools.
They make insightful points about the necessity of integration testing: Could you not help but identify with the following statements: "... We have seen two chronic problems: First, the build fequently does not install on system test machines. Second, the fact that unit and integration testing has not been done previously forces the system test team to do tests that development should have already executed." Again they also argue for automated integration testing else "it will not get done."
I feel however that Mosley and Posey's ideas need to be infused with agile values and practices. For example do we really need improved software requirements documentation, verbose Test Plans and meticulous test design when requirements change so much? Do we really need all these Rational tools and the time it takes to use and update them? Can we not make automated functional tests an integral part of requirements? What about Pair Test Programming? How are we going to increase oral communication? Is devolopment and test a false dichotomy? These kind of issues also need to be addressed as we begin to construct software in a radically different way.
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