The testing challenge continues

In many corporate development operations, automated testing tools have become a fundamental part of the software development life cycle. But as we have written many times in the past, too many other organizations pay mostly lip service to testing as hotshot developers bypass that segment of the development process to concentrate on creating new stuff.

Development managers have also long complained that the complexity of testing tools requires the assignment of top programmers, taking them away from critical new development projects. At the same time, several makers of testing tools have made significant strides over the past decade or so in ease-of-use issues and in convincing development managers of the need to add a testing phase to corporate development life cycles.

Software testing champions quietly acknowledge that some organizations have yet to accept the need for automated software testing, and are expressing hope that an emerging transformation of the testing process will bring more developers into the fold. This issue examines some of those emerging trends in our special report, 'Testing: A new age,' which features stories by regular contributors Lana Gates and Johanna Ambrosio along with a listing of many of the tools in use today.

In 'Extending the testing process,' Gates looks at the emergence of pre-written testing frameworks that promise to simplify the use of scripting languages and slash maintenance requirements. Thus, experts told Gates, the testing phase can be overseen by less-experienced engineers working as key parts of IT development teams. Experts say the new frameworks allow the best developers to stay involved with the testing process, but also let them spend significant time on other phases of development.

In addition, testing experts note that such frameworks can improve the process further by linking different tools that specialize in testing specific pieces of an application, an adjustment that could eventually let organizations utilize so-called best-of-breed tools from different suppliers to test various pieces of the same application. Such moves can lessen dependence on a single vendor and provide easier access to emerging technologies.

Meanwhile, Ambrosio examines the emerging 'specialty' tools and processes for testing packaged and internally built software components ('Testing key to component quality'). Because single components can be used in multiple applications, high quality is even more important for them than it is for traditional applications. Ambrosio looks at specific component testing tools and at how some IT development groups are using them in important projects.

About the Author

Mike Bucken is former Editor-in-Chief of Application Development Trends magazine.


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