Compuware scores big with .NET integration, automation

By Sandra K. Miller

Compuware is scoring well with both long-time and new users with its recently released TestPartner 5.4, the functional testing module of its QACenter Enterprise Edition suite.

Though only a Compuware customer for about 6 months, Duane Robinson, test automation manager at CRM solution provider RightNow Technologies, is extremely pleased with TestPartner 5.4’s performance. “Our mantra is innovation so we take a hard look at the tools we’re using every few years. We evaluated nine other tools but no one came close to Compuware,” he says.

Key to Robinson is the new integration with the Microsoft .NET Framework 2.0. “Test automation is all about object recognition,” explained Robinson as he pointed out this version of TestPartner has outstanding out-of-the-box recognition capabilities compared to tools from other vendors. TestPartner is able to recognize non-standard controls and customized technologies on the .NET Framework.

Similarly, TestPartner integrates with Microsoft Visual Studio 2005 Team System (VSTS). This enables VSTS users to test-drive hundreds of thousands of transactions through the GUI of their applications using TestPartner. Currently, VSTS does not offer that capability which is critical to quality assurance.

Another plus for Robinson in this release is the ActiveData Wizard. Creating test scripts is vital to automating application testing. The ActiveData Wizard lets users record a test script with TestPartner and then to quickly parameterize it with external data. “There is a lot of hard-coded data—name, address, that type of information that gets typed into the system. The Active Data Wizard allows you to very quickly find that data within your script and then automatically externalize that with variable data that can either come from our test data management capabilities or even tools like Excel,” Eshelby explains.

This level of flexibility rapidly generates test scripts that can easily loop through massive numbers of data records.

Designed with both a ‘novice’ and ‘expert’ mode, the ActiveData Wizard makes TestPartner less intimidating for new users, yet satisfies experienced users’ needs to drill down into testing data much more efficient.

Mark Eshelby, quality solutions product manager at Compuware says TestPartner 5.4 says numerous enhancements enable organizations to accurately get more testing done in a limited time. “Functional testing drives the application the same way a real tester would,” he explains. That means that all the transactions a tester would undertake to verify the dependability of an application could be fully automated. “It can do thousands upon thousands of repetitive tasks that you traditionally wouldn’t have time for,” says Eshelby.

Long-time customer, Mark Athow, software analyst for the Nebraska based UNIFI Companies, has been using Compuware’s automated testing tools for nearly eight years and is also happy with the introduction of the ActiveData Wizard. Currently, Athow is working on testing an illustration application that generates insurance policy quotes—a tool frequently used in the selling process. The ActiveData Wizard has helped Athow achieve faster and more accurate results in his testing.

Other updated features Athow praised are better test results summaries offering more details and better support for Microsoft SQL Server. Also new is an import/export wizard for facilitating shared assets, scripts, checks, event and the system data.

Automation tools go back to the late 1980s and the days of DOS. Although TestPartner was first officially introduced in 2000, Compuware has provided functional testing solutions since 1996. Eshelby believes that the ability to drive testing scripts with external data has become a critical component of functional testing.

“No tool is perfect, but all the tools I’ve used over the last ten years, this is by far the best one I’ve evaluated,” says Robinson. Athow adds, “For what Compuware charges, you get a much larger bang for your buck.”

TestPartner 5.4 is not just a Microsoft-only tool; it supports a number of other packaged applications and technologies including Sun Java and SAP.