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.
SmartBear Launches TestLeft Developer Focused Test Automation Tool
Meanwhile, the user interface is what is visible to someone when they try to use an application for the first time, Kaul said. “The focus on the UI is important in order to ensure the user has the desired experience when interacting and accessing the application. Making certain the UI of an application responds in a functionally correct manner however can be challenging,” he said. “The UI often consists of third party controls as well as dynamic controls like HTML5 and AngularJS. As a result, even the smallest of changes in the UI can cause automated tests created at the UI level to break, resulting in a lot of maintenance overhead. TestLeft tries to solve this problem in multiple ways.
TestLeft allows developers to explore and examine an application under test (AUT) including their controls and UI elements with a built-in spy, Kaul said. As a result, developers can get out of the box direct access to native properties and methods of an object. This allows them to find accurate and unique identifiers for different objects on the user interface, thereby ensuring tests don’t break with the changes in the AUT.
In addition, TestLeft also comes with an access to extensive and feature-rich libraries for .NET and other third party components, Kaul told eWEEK. He said it is ideal for performing different checks across a wide variety of UI elements such as buttons, dialogs, pop ups etc., without having to spend time writing custom methods manually. Built-in classes and methods that come with TestLeft can be used for performing different actions on any of the identified controls.
The TestLeft tool embeds into standard development IDEs such as Microsoft’s Visual Studio, which helps minimize context switching and enables developers to create test cases in their favorite IDEs. The product comes with visual tools to help developers to quickly and easily identify correct object properties for applications under test. Using TestLeft, developers can easily generate test code simply by dragging and dropping identifiers over objects on the screen, Kaul said.
“Testing tools are moving right in the middle of the development cycle, which is increasingly becoming complicated,” said Chris Marsh, Research Director at 451 Research, in a statement. “This in part led to TestLeft with SmartBear following the trend ‘to the left.’ In other words, the shift is towards developers in increasingly Agile workflows doing more testing, so that organizations don’t have to be reliant on the often attritional, sequential to-and-fro with test teams, which often elongates testing time and hence time to market. In this case, TestLeft enables robust object-level recognition on the UI, which developers can leverage from within Visual Studio. The tool will be a nice compliment for SmartBear’s Java and .NET customer base using TestComplete and TestExecute. The integration is done through a simple API call from Visual Studio to TestLeft’s testing engine, thereby making the integration easy to replicate with other IDEs and development platforms.”