The use of software testing tools can dramatically simplify testing, increase the defect find rate and ultimately achieve a higher release quality. Beyond this it can lead to improvements in reliability of the delivered solutions making them more productive and effective from the customers perspective. There are a wide variety of software test tools that address many aspects of the testing process; they can be applied to different types of software, different programming languages, and address different types of testing. The scope and quality of such tools vary widely and provide varying degrees of assistance.
Many of the tools can be tried out these days with no commitment and can be downloaded free of charge. You can choose to purchase a licensed version and upgrade to the full product quickly and easily if the tools evaluation works out well. However, you should remember that the value of testing tools depends on the extent that the tool can address and support the software testing process. Essentially the testing tools should fit and improve existing business processes. They certainly should not force process change on the test team if change isn’t likely to be accepted or implemented by the software testers.
Types of Software Testing Tools Software testing tools can be categorized by the testing activity or the process they are utilized in, e.g. test planning, test execution, data comparison, defect capture, etc. Categorizing tools by the process they are utilized in leads to categories along the following lines:
· Source Code (AdaTEST, AQtime, BoundsChecker, CMT++, CodeCheck, CodeWizard, GlowCode, OSPC, Panorama, TBGEN)
· Functional (.TEST, AberroTest, Automate!Test Manager, CitraTest, Eggplant, GUITAR, QACenter, Silktest, TestComplete, WinRunner®)
· Performance (BugTimer, LoadRunner®, Monitor Master, SilkPerformer, TestLoad, WinFeedback, XtremeLoad)
· Java (Abbot, AgileTest, Agitator, Cactus, GJ-Coverage, JCover, JMeter, JUnit, Marathon, QEngine, TCAT/Java)
· Embedded software (Message Magic, Reactis Tester, TBrun, Tessy, TestQuest Pro, USBTester, VectorCAST)
· Database (AETG, Data Generator, Datatect, ER/Datagen, Jumpstart, SQL DB Validator, TestIt!, TurboData)
· Bug tracking tools (Bugzilla, DevTrack, Dragonfly, Footprints, Mantis, Perfect Tracker, QEngine, Squish, TrackStudio)
· Test management tools (ApTest Manager, QaTraq, Extended Test Plan, QADirector, SilkPlan Pro, TestLog)
Benefits of using Software Testing Tools The benefits of using such software testing tools are extensive. Such tools can provide the following:
- they can drastically speed up the testing process. Just imagine how long it may take you to manually try a few hundred test cases. Automated software tools are able to run 100 or even 1000 times faster;
- they can increase test coverage with the creation of large data sets and combinations. This allows testers to reduce their dependency on developers’ support with developing test data.
- they can remove the human factors such as carelessness or boredom. Think about the times when you have run a few hundred test cases and your attention waned increasing the mistakes you made with your tests. A test tool will perform the same test and check the results perfectly each time it is run;
- they can support the testing of the code in a live environment. Tests tools are often used to replace hardware or software which you plan to use your product on. This application can then help respond to software issues that might be difficult to achieve in a controlled test environment.
What makes software testing tools so useful is that their usability and features have improved immensely in the past few years. As these tools become easier to use the ability to deploy these tools, even to very inexperienced testers, becomes more feasible. With the productivity gains delivered by using such tools the more members of your team employing these tools means the more improvements you will see with productivity increases.
In conclusion, we can say that improvements with software testing tools that use the latest techniques in software testing will not only increase team motivation, but also increase the quality of software products in a number of ways: 1) reduce the cost of software development and testing; 2) reduce the time spent on the development of new software products; 3) improve the software performance, conformance to specifications and interoperability with other software/hardware. Further more the benefits of using software testing tools within the test team, leads to increases in team motivation, increases in test coverage and decreases in time to test.