First we have agile development, now comes agile testing

In today’s society companies are continuously adapting. It wasn’t that long ago that the gap between IT companies and non IT companies was relatively big. But in today’s world, the development of software and technology takes the fast lane. If you don’t want to miss out on the best ways to run your company efficiently, you better get along for the ride. A well-known statement about the fast development of software and technology in company processes is that, in the future, all companies should be considered IT companies. In the past 10 years, IT developed from simple software for better communication and company logistics, to being able to run entire business processes in a management program. Process management in today’s world is nothing without a program supporting it.

The bigger the organization the better the system to support it. We are talking about programs that make sure that every task and contract is registered and goes to the right person, no more paper stacks on desks about what you should be doing this morning. These systems are considered to be the veins of a company, and if they don’t work properly the vital organs won’t get the right information, leading to terrible consequences.

One of the best platforms for creating these management applications is Mendix. It gives the user the means to create Smart Apps with ease. With their latest release, Mendix 7, organizations can rapidly digitize the company’s needs.

So it’s quite important that these systems stay operational at all times. If you deploy new developments to these systems you want to know if the systems still perform accordingly. And not only in the segment that you changed, but everywhere. Nobody with an online shop wants to find out that since their last deployment customers could not order anything because the order button disappeared. A minor change that can have a big impact on your company.

The simplest way to check this is to let someone go past all the items and lanes to make sure everything is functional. For a small company this might be doable, maybe not cost efficient, but hey, it gets the job done. As you can understand, this method will make costs skyrocket for the larger companies.

Instead of several persons walking through all steps in the system to check if everything is fully functional, why not use a program that checks all these steps? A great solution for testing is ATS, the Automated Test Suite created by Mansystems. Mansystems has years of experience in creating and maintaining these management systems. Their tool is called ExpertDesk and is built on the Mendix platform. It is a multi-purpose tool that can be used to make your business processes much more efficient. While maintaining this tool and continuously developing it, they encountered the same problems with testing and decided it should be made simple and more cost efficient.

ATS is usable with all apps developed on Mendix and when it comes to custom widgets, Mansystems can provide services to assist with creating the necessary actions needed to run the test script. This way ATS can support all Mendix based applications without the need of a skilled programmer. ATS is a program made to be simple, somebody with limited knowledge about programming can create test scripts easily. These scripts will be run by ATS in the desired Mendix system. Cost efficiency becomes quite clear when a person only has to create one test script for a set of actions, which they can run infinitely instead of manually walking through all the steps each time a deployment is released. ATS can also run scheduled, so you can go have lunch while ATS is checking if the system is still functional. Or of course, you can run it every night to make sure the system is operational in the morning.

Sometimes one process has a lot of different routes to take, resulting in a time consuming check. The solution ATS brings is simple: if you have a test script performing a certain process, you can let ATS do the same process with different datasheets. This way you don’t have to create a new test script for each different route. ATS works with so called actions. These actions are used to let ATS know which step you want to take. Like in this example: you have an action ‘click widget’ that makes ATS click on the desired widget by specifying the Mxname of the widget. This makes the system perfect for people who understand the management tool, but lack the skills to write their own scripts. By using these Actions they can easily translate the steps they want to integrate into a test script.

The latest feature Mansystems developed for ATS is the Recorder. It makes the process of creating test scripts even easier. The Recorder is a program that records the steps you take; This way you don’t have to select the actions yourself. By just walking through the steps while using the Recorder, you can create your test script in no time. The recorder will select the actions needed to perform those steps and registers the information you are using.

ATS also offers data driven testing. This new functionality makes it possible to separate test data from the test script, making it easy to change your test data by using excel and importing it in ATS. ATS remembers your references inside a test script, so when you make changes and import these into ATS they are automatically changed inside the correct test scripts. You can also add different values in your test data, so when you run your test script ATS will run a new script for every record of test data. This way you can use one script to test different values.

This innovation in the world of testing creates lots of possibilities for companies. No need for highly skilled engineers to create the tests, or time consuming clicking by lots of people. Even students or non-IT people are able to create the scripts needed to safeguard the performance of the management tool. And with the Recorder it can even be done faster, because it creates the steps for you.

Almost all development platforms focus on creating apps as fast as possible, so it’s important to safeguard quality in the rush. When using Mendix based applications, testing is needed to ensure that the application is functional. Because the development of apps becomes more agile, you need to safe time while testing and ATS is the perfect way to make your testing is as agile as your development.

So overall, ATS makes projects more cost efficient, saves time and takes away the boring part of development making it valuable for your organization.

Derryn Zwart

Derryn Zwart studies tax law at Erasmus university. He works as a testing consultant for Mansystems and gives trainings on the usage of ATS. His knowledge of legislation in different markets enables him to understand the value of testing different core elements of the customers application. His goal is to deliver quality service next to a quality product.

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