Workroom Productions

Mainly related to software testing

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Friday, May 25, 2007

Question: What testing tool will help me test an Intranet application with lots of complex calculations?

I'm working for [omitted] software It is a very small comapny. We had developed an Intranet application which consists lot of complex calculation parts. We are looking for a Tool which helps in Testing most complex parts of our application i.e, It should have features of script developing/modifying for regression testing and it should also support Database Testing.

One more thing I would like to inform you that as ours is a very small company we are looking for a tool which comes under $500.00. If any OpenSource tools availble than it is well and good.


Your budget will exclude the larger commercial tools - particularly with ongoing licensing costs. I note that your company provides IT services, and you should consider whether any tool - and the skills acquired to support it - would provide ROI across the company, rather than on a single project.

An organisation's greatest investment in testing with any tool - licensed or open-source - is likely to be the cost of understanding the tool and developing+maintaining the tests. Open source is attractive not only because of its lower initial cost, but because the tools can be modified to suit your purposes. I've detailed some open-source tools below.

Although your email is more detailed than many, it doesn't address the most important question - the purpose of your testing. If you would like to discuss this, call me using skype.

For functional testing of your underlying complex calculations, your best bet might be to write a simple test harness to supply input and check output, avoiding the user interface. This approach allows you to automate testing using powerful design techniques that can go far beyond simple regression scripts, and would potentially give you rather more confidence in the face of change. Look into ideas around combinatorial testing, fuzz testing, and model-based testing.

For testing a web interface, and some functional testing of the software accessed through a browser, I would suggest watir. If by database testing, you mean testing for the purpose of assessing performance or scalability of a database, I would suggest looking at jmeter or grinder.

Watir : http://wtr.rubyforge.org/
JMeter: http://jakarta.apache.org/jmeter/
Grinder: http://grinder.sourceforge.net/

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A use for my blog

I can't say I'm a big fan of blogs - their immediacy lends itself to half-baked ideas, and facilitates breathless ranting. Yet they're anything but ephemeral, or private. As an occasional half-baked ranter myself, I much prefer the cut-and-thrust of a conversation.

However, my email address is in the public domain, and I wonder if I can't make use of a blog to communicate some of the questions I receive about software testing, and some of the answers I give. This would be in the nature of an FAQ, although perhaps the F in that acronym is misleading. I get one or two a month, and sometimes wonder what motivates a stranger to ask me for advice.

The questions that are sent to me are typically short, and seem to need a long answer. It's all too easy to put far more information in the answer than is got in the question - a sign that one may be building one's half-baked rant on sand. I try not to let myself get carried away.

Usually, one would need more details to have a decent stab at a good answer. I'll try to engage the questioner; handing out my skype details and looking forward to clarifying emails. It's rare treat when someone actually responds.

My answers are offered for free, with all the attention to quality and detail that implies - but I also see them as a puzzle, and try to write something cogent. I offer them here in a more public forum, to share ideas and invite comments.

I've not got explicit permission to use people's questions, and so I have obscured, cut and amended their words and my answers to suit. I have a small backlog of such questions. I'll post the first shortly. You're welcome to add comments of your own.

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