February 11, 2008

Next generation testing tools

During an internal Open Space Technology in Valtech about one year ago (12th Feb 07) we had a discussion on software testing frameworks and test automation tools. I initiated this discussion by proposing a topic about how to make a framework that would hide the programming details of functional test automation and help focusing on writing test cases. We exchanged about existing commercial tools and their limits. We also discussed about frameworks, or wrappers, built on top of those tools to allow for better test creation. Valtech India has built such a wrapper, named LoFat, based on Excel spreadsheets and that can use QuickTestProfessional, Selenium, or SilkTest to execute the functional tests. My current client has also built such a wrapper on top of QuickTestProfessional. We finished the openspace discussion by sketching a simple and theorical architecture to support our approach. After this Open Space, we did not keep this discussion rolling.

Some time ago I came across an article from Jenitta Andrea titled Envisionning the Next Generation of Functional Testing Tools. That's a big piece of work that depicts our expectations towards test automation tools in a bright and comprehensive way. Following this article, Jenitta organised a workshop for the Agile Alliance in October 2007, gathering test automation tools experts to push the discussion further on. There are many reports of this workshop on participants' blogs, and a digest on InfoQ. A discussion group has been created on Yahoo to keep the discussion rolling. I think the consultants that participated in our open space discussion a year ago should subscribe to this group, because there are really interesting stuffs going on. As an example, an interesting web seminars is planned 19th of February, featuring Jenitta and Ward Cuningam, about next generation functional testing tools. Ward might present a new tool from Thoughtworks that supports the approach described by Jenitta. Well, by reading the description of the seminar, there is no question that Test-Driven Requirements and Functional Testing are now one single issue.