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HP Software's community for IT leaders // March 2013

Why—and how—you need to change the way you test

Functional testing will remain a major roadblock for organizations stuck using yesterday’s tools and methods.

Functional testing has never been so challenging—or so critical. Even as today’s business requires faster testing processes, testing teams deal with increasingly complex applications that often rely on third-party components. Mobile makes things even more complicated, with users expecting to access apps on every available device and operating system.

Testing teams might be game for this new world, but their tools and processes aren’t. The way they’ve done things in the past can’t keep up with faster time to market, the demands and quirks of mobile, and the complexity of today’s hybrid applications. Instead, organizations need to rethink their long-established practices, transforming them with automation to make testing faster—and better at producing bulletproof, market-ready apps. Here are three steps to get started.

Rethink ingrained practices

Testing teams need to reevaluate everything: their processes, tools, and general approaches to testing. Look for opportunities to cut out repetitive steps, introduce centers of excellence, automate manual test processes, and adopt methodologies that accelerate productivity.

Specifically, it’s time to rethink:

  • Waterfall lifecycles, in which a product is fully built before any serious testing is done
  • High-maintenance effort for test assets, such as automation scripts, documentation, and data
  • Accepted inefficiencies associated with manual testing
  • Duplication of effort across different testing teams (and even within a single team)
  • The inability to test complete permutations of GUI system configurations and mobile configurations
  • The use of disparate tools across the enterprise—which equates to a lack of shared assets, higher training costs, and no leverage of investments

Invest in test automation

After rethinking the old ways, implement the tools that will let you meet the new demands. Automation is a must. The right automated test tools can give developers instant feedback on code changes and enable them to fix problems as they appear, to deliver a higher-quality end product in less time.

Automation tools can also help you address both legacy code and new software functionality. You can automate tasks associated with test case creation and manual testing by integrating test authoring features into your processes, as well as scanners that capture spelling errors and localization and compliance issues. You can accelerate time-consuming manual testing by integrating tools that let your developers convert manual test steps to automated scripts that anyone can reuse.

Unify the functional testing environment

When you’re testing hybrid, composite apps, you need a unified approach. That will let developers and QA teams evaluate both the individual pieces of an application and the end-to-end functionality of the whole thing. A unified approach puts test automation support for both graphical user interfaces (GUIs) and application programming interfaces (APIs) into one, integrated interface, solving these three challenges:

  • Testing the GUI layer, which entails traditional functional validation as well as testing across mobile interfaces and social media technologies.
  • Testing the API layer, which requires automation from the start to catch bugs as early as possible.
  • Tying GUI and API testing together, which allows you to create a true, end-to-end validation of the user experience and uncovers problems that you don’t find when you test GUI and API separately.

Start transforming today

The pressure on testing teams will only intensify as the world becomes more mobile and as always-connected users demand instant gratification. But your team can’t deliver on the demands of the future by relying on the tools of the past.

Read more in our white paper, “Three Challenges to Functional Testing” (reg. req’d). Get more details and practical advice on improved testing for the age of continuous delivery from our functional testing page.


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