Codeless Test Creation for Java Thick Client Apps

Appvance has introduced a feature set to its namesake unified testing and test-automation platform that supports codeless test creation for Java thick client applications, the company announced. The feature set is part of an approach to test automation that allows non-technical users to create tests -- or parts of tests -- based on application flow, rather than scripting, said CEO Kevin Surace.

Automating testing around Java thick clients has been something of a pain point in a number of enterprises, Surace said, in part because so much of what has been developed for automating tests in the past decade has been written around HTML5, JavaScript and Ajax. "Java was pretty much ignored," Surace told ADTmag. "So we created AJT (Advanced Java Technology), which records and fully plays back functional, data-enabled performance tests [for Java thick clients]."

The Appvance Unified Testing Platform provides a set of browser-based test authoring components and utilizes a recording technology that learns about an organization's apps, Surace explained. One set of recorded tests can be used for automated functional tests, performance tests, soak test and synthetic APM, without the need to write additional code. The platform can be used to test browser-based or standalone Swing apps, AWT, SWT, Oracle Forms, Oracle Fusion, Oracle Fuse, all J2ME CDLC-compliant apps and Java EE apps, among others.

One standout feature in this release is a real-time analytics dashboard designed to allow users to isolate and eradicate bottlenecks and issues while tests are running. The dashboard provides complete stack traces and outputs and errors for active virtual users, which allows testers to investigate and assess error log details of active transactions. The new release also supports cloud and Agile development.

The Appvance platform aims to address the limitations of software testing methodologies that date back 20-plus years, but are still in place in many organizations, Surace explained.

"Mercury Interactive and Rational were sort of the grandfathers of this space," he said. "They set up a widely used methodology that established silos with specialty people and different kinds of script technologies in each silo—unit testing is different from functional testing, which is different from performance testing, which is different from load test and security and app penetration testing—and using eight or ten tools and languages, and probably four or five different QA teams. You don't see it in Silicon Valley, but much of this persists today among Global 5,000 companies, and it just doesn't work in organizations that want to be Agile."

In those environments in particular, said Tony Rems, Appvance's chief technology officer, it is this ability to leverage tests that have already been created that makes a more Agile process possible.

"The question becomes, how can you really be Agile if you have to go through eight different platforms to get your testing done," Rems said. "The answer is, you can't. As long as you have to write a whole bunch of code to create tests every time, [the testing process] is going to get compressed. And that's a very bad thing. Our goal is to enable effortless rigor in the process, to make quality just an ordinary outcome of everyday development. We believe that, by enabling non-technical users to create a great deal of the tests, we can make this process go a lot faster."

Java has served as something of test for the Appvance platform, Rems said. "We said to ourselves, if we can't support Java applications we are not truly an end-to-end testing tool for the enterprise," he said. "But of course, we can."

About the Author

John K. Waters is the editor in chief of a number of sites, with a focus on high-end development, AI and future tech. He's been writing about cutting-edge technologies and culture of Silicon Valley for more than two decades, and he's written more than a dozen books. He also co-scripted the documentary film Silicon Valley: A 100 Year Renaissance, which aired on PBS.  He can be reached at [email protected].