Founded in 1986 as a subsidiary of OTTO Versand, bonprix provides affordable, high- quality clothing. With approximately 27 million customers in 25 countries, bonprix is one of the leading multi-channel fashion vendors in Germany and Europe with an assortment of goods including clothing for women, men and children as well as furniture and accessories.
As bonprix launched an initiative to achieve continuous software integration and delivery processes, the internal software development team required a high–level acceptance testing tool for applications developed and updated with Visual Basic (VB).NET. The team specifically wanted to minimize software bugs by leveraging automated testing and reducing feedback cycles.
"We wanted an acceptance testing tool we could easily incorporate into the build/release processes of our internal software development efforts," said Vagharshak Baghdasaryan, a Software Developer for bonprix. "It was also important for us to deploy a tool that requires little training and is easy to use so our developers would eagerly adopt the tool and leverage it for its full value. We also wanted a solution that would facilitate a high-level, general test strategy and workflow."
bonprix launched the effort to employ continuous integration and delivery processes so the developer team could frequently run checks on the application development system, which has a large number of interacting components that create the likelihood of introducing bugs within the components. This is especially true on the boundaries between components where bonprix sometimes runs into dependency and compatibility issues.
Continuous integration and delivery is critical for bonprix to develop deployable, stable applications, which on average are updated every 7-10 days. The software development team thus needed a high-level testing tool for checking complex, full-interaction paths and complete user scenarios across many components using resources such as user-interface controls and databases.
The high–level acceptance testing tool that bonprix needed to deploy would be leveraged to test desktop applications that run internally on local machines within the company’s central product information management system. The system includes a clothing style repository that assists internal buyers during the purchase process and feeds into printed catalogues as well as the online shopping catalog.
bonprix carefully researched and tested three possible solutions including TestComplete from SmartBear as well as solutions offered by FitNesse and DevExpress. TestComplete, an automated testing tool for advanced and novice testers, impressed bonprix the most—particularly with its ability to streamline the process for creating, managing and running tests for desktop applications as well as Web and rich-client applications.
"Based on the easy-to-use interface, script-free testing and powerful customization features, we found TestComplete to be the most effective top-level testing tool," Baghdasaryan explained. "We don’t need to alter the source code at all when creating tests. This allows us to develop the tests in a much shorter amount of time."
Baghdasaryan also appreciates how TestComplete provides a user-interface that makes it easy even for novice developers to work with the tool. "Other tools we considered force developers to edit test tables and enter technical information on the class, method and namespace levels," Baghdasaryan explained. "This can be difficult for inexperienced developers and requires even experienced developers to spend extra time. But TestComplete eliminates the challenge by making test creation and editing very intuitive."
Other key features that prompted bonprix to choose TestComplete include its ability to work with multiple technologies beyond VB.NET such as Java and Web applications. "No matter which technologies we might work with, we don’t have to worry about tasks like refactoring code and creating entry points," Baghdasaryan said.
"Based on the easy-to-use interface, script-free testing and powerful customization features, we found TestComplete to be the most effective top-level testing tool. We don’t need to alter the source code at all when creating tests. This allows us to develop the tests in a much shorter amount of time."
— Vagharshak Baghdasaryan, bonprix Software Developer
Benefits and Results
SmartBear provided TestComplete to bonprix with what Baghdasaryan describes as a "very suitable license model," where separate SmartBear solutions can be combined effectively and economically. "In addition to TestComplete, we also wanted to leverage the SmartBear TestExecute solution," Baghdasaryan explained. "SmartBear showed us how we needed just one TestComplete license for creating the tests and then a few TestExecute licenses to execute the tests. This arrangement works especially well for us because a part of our development takes place via an offshore team."
TestExecute is a software utility add-on to TestComplete that allows bonprix testers to run TestComplete automated tests and view test results on PCs that do not have TestComplete installed. TestExecute can be installed on remote computers in a test lab, or on virtual machines in a virtual lab.
With TestComplete and TestExecute, bonprix has gained the ability to identify the location of software bugs much earlier in the development process where the resource cost to fix the bugs is much less compared to later in the development process. bonprix can now run automated tests on application user-interfaces without involving any manual intervention by developer personnel. In addition to finding bugs faster, this also reduces resource costs.
"The applications we test play a critical role in our day-to-day interactions with internal end users," Baghdasaryan said. "Our end users tend to be very sensitive to application errors, so we need the capability TestComplete gives us to test the most relevant product interaction paths to prevent blocking errors. The solution also helps us roll out new applications and application updates faster."
- Enhance applications to streamline product purchasing by internal buyers.
- Deploy continuous software integration and delivery processes.
- Minimize software bugs.
- Facilitate a high-level application test strategy and workflow.
SmartBear TestComplete Solution
- Executes tests for applications created in VB.NET, Java and Web applications.
- Streamlines the process for creating, managing and running tests for desktop applications as well as Web and rich-client applications.
- Features script-free testing and powerful customization.
- Offers easy-to-use interface and intuitive editing that makes it easier to train developers.
- Helps improve applications that make it easier for internal buyers to purchase goods.
- Identifies software bugs earlier by reducing feedback cycles.
- Reduces software development resource costs.
- Facilitates collaboration between geographically-dispersed development teams.