SmartBear Launches TestLeft Developer Focused Test Automation Tool

By Darryl K. Taft  |  Posted 2016-04-05 Print this article Print
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SmartBear's new TestLeft helps developers create tests within IDEs, minimizing test creation time in a Continuous Delivery environment.

SmartBear Software, a provider of software quality tools for developers building mobile, Web, Internet of Things (IoT) and other connected apps, has announced a new developer focused test automation tool known as TestLeft.

The tool enables developers working in an Agile and continuous delivery environment to create tests within integrated development environments (IDEs), which helps to reduce test creation and maintenance time.

Nikhil Kaul, product marketing manager for testing at SmartBear Software, told eWEEK that with Agile development, testing is moving more into the development cycle. "Traditionally the manual tester and automation engineer were involved in testing," he said. "However, to release faster in an Agile marketplace, developers with strong technical expertise are increasingly working alongside testers to contribute towards test automation frameworks. This has resulted in a shift-left model, with development contributing towards quality assurance efforts from day one of the project. TestLeft is targeted towards such developers. Hence, the name "TestLeft" tries built upon the shift-left model in which developers are responsible for testing."

Indeed, many development organizations are increasingly adopting an Agile development approach to shorten the product delivery cycle and release high quality applications in a predictable fashion to the marketplace, SmartBear said. Testing in these short Agile iterations often necessitates a "shift left" model, an approach in which testing starts much earlier in the application lifecycle.

"We are very excited about opportunities SmartBear's TestLeft will bring to our testing organization," said Brian Schaffer, director of automated testing at Interactive Intelligence, in a statement. "Combining the best UI object recognition in the industry with extremely fast IntelliSense, the power of .NET framework and benefits of a strongly typed object oriented language will give us an opportunity to make our functional UI tests faster and more maintainable than ever before."

Kaul explained that in a "shift left" model, developers with strong technical expertise are increasingly being held accountable for testing, and are working with other testers to create test automation frameworks. Ensuring developers contribute to these frameworks can only be possible if testing tools easily plug into integrated development ecosystems such as IDEs, the company said. This may not always be enough, Kaul noted.

"Testing earlier in the dev process can be really useful. Primarily because it helps catch bugs right in the development lifecycle, thereby reducing cost and time involved with fixing issues downstream," Kaul said. "A faster time to market is also achieved by ensuring developers with more technical skills contribute to testing. Allowing both testers and developers to contribute towards testing also helps improve test coverage."

Meanwhile, Kaul said developers building automated testing frameworks often face challenges while identifying the proper identifiers for objects on the applications under test. Not having the right object identifiers also creates challenges for test maintenance in the longer run as automated tests keep breaking when the Graphical User Interface (GUI) of the application under test changes, he said.

Moreover, developers spend a lot of time writing custom logic to interact with the recognized objects, and often testing tools need to be tightly integrated with developer focused test automation tools.

TestLeft works with SmartBear's functional testing tool for desktop, mobile, and Web applications—TestComplete, Kaul said. As a result, tests created in TestLeft can be bought over to TestComplete so that non-programmers can use them. Additionally, TestLeft fits well into a continuous delivery process. It works out of the box, with Source Control Management (SCM) systems such as Microsoft's Team Foundation Server or Continuous Integration tools such as Jenkins, he said.


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