Two takes on preproduction testing
New tools from Empirix, Segue appeal to opposite ends of the application-testing spectrum
It’s a hard-core developer’s worst nightmare: You pour your heart and soul into a new project, double-checking every .Net I-interface and cross-checking every T-SQL statement only to discover — post-deployment — that a hidden flaw is killing your program’s scalability. Management is breathing down your neck and you’ve got that uneasy feeling that the outsourcing vultures are beginning to circle, but every line of code looks as perfect as when you first crafted it.
Time to swallow your pride and do what the smart developers do: Seek professional help. Thanks to advances in Application Performance Management (APM) technology, the testing process needn’t be painful. Innovative predeployment testing tools like Empirix’s recently updated e-Test suite and Segue SilkPerformer make constructing and maintaining even the most sophisticated app test scripts a breeze.
Empirix e-Test suite 7.0
Usability is always a key consideration in comparing software testing solutions. After spending months or even years implementing a project, the last thing most developers want is yet another API to master — hence the popularity of visually oriented testing tools.
With an emphasis on scripting by example — where you walk through a Web app using a recording applet to log each interaction between the client
and server — e-Test suite makes it possible to test the most critical layers of your solution without writing a single line of scripting code.
The e-Tester console is the heart of e-Test suite. Built around a custom Web browser window, e-Tester wraps each page with a sophisticated script-recording framework that parses the HTTP stream and constructs a visual, node-based representation of the application flow. Key elements including form field post data, embedded script commands — even the order in which links are accessed — all are saved and exposed for review.
New in version 7.0 is the ability to parse .Net elements, including Microsoft Web forms. Add to this a more intelligent script-maintenance process (e-Tester can now detect and correct for many common application design changes), and you have a potent preproduction scripting environment.
Generating the test script is only the first part of the equation. You also need to replay the script as a workload simulation to validate the application, and this is where e-Test suite really shines. Thanks to tight integration between e-Tester and its companion tools, you can go from zero to a working simulation package in a few minutes.
Each tier provides a wide array of configuration options. With e-Test, your recorded script is the common thread that integrates the solution. Modifying your simulation then becomes a simple matter of tuning how each tier handles the script processing to render the desired effect.
E-Test suite is easy to use and tackles most common Web integration tasks with aplomb. However, as is often the case with visual development tools, there’s a trade-off between usability and functionality, especially when it comes to programmability.
Although e-Tester translates the HTTP stream into a highly structured, visual representation of an application’s flow, you still cannot directly edit the underlying script logic, though you can embed custom VBA (Visual Basic for Applications) code as part of a scripted page transition. Basically, what you see is what you get.