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