Case Study:

TestComplete Quickly Automates UI Testing Reduces Testing Time for 2,000 Test Cases Down to 2-3 Hours

Business Need

The IT Project Manager for one of the world's largest generators of renewable, clean energy from wind and solar power works with a software development team to support the company’s energy trading floor with custom apps. The biggest application is an energy trading and risk management system that is used across the business from front-office personnel to leadership teams who submit new business deals daily. The company relies heavily on the system to run day-to-day business processes.

After a major new release of the application reached the testing phase—after one year in the development phase—the company was anxious to give users access to the new capabilities. At that point in time, the company solely utilized a manual process for testing the system’s application user-interfaces.

“The functional testing process took us about four weeks to finish, but we still had to conduct regression testing,” the IT Director says. “There were about 4,000 test cases and that took us three months to complete.”

After waiting 12 months for the software release to be developed, the testing process that took about four months  prevented the project from going into production on time.  “It was particularly frustrating because we did not know at the beginning of the regression testing just how long it would take,” the IT Director says “ with the manual process proving to be too slow, we needed to automate the UI testing process so that future projects would not experience the same type of delay.”

"As we changed our development process and the tools we use, it has been good to know that TestComplete adapts and continues to work well as our automated UI testing tool. Our research also indicated that TestComplete is more lightweight in terms of its drain on system resources and costs a lot less than other solutions due to the licensing model SmartBear uses."
IT Director

Targeted Solution

As the IT Director and his team began researching potential solutions for automating UI tests, he had a well-timed conversation with a colleague on a separate development team. “They had implemented SmartBear TestComplete for automated UI testing and highly recommended it for us,” says the IT Director. “They were also using TestComplete in conjunction with their quality management tool—SpiraTest—which we were about to implement as another way to accelerate our development process.”

The two solutions worked well together and met all our testing needs, making the decision to choose TestComplete easy.. TestComplete features an object identification algorithm that enables QA teams to build stable, scalable and easily-maintainable automated UI tests. The company’s testers can automate anything on user interfaces and choose from more than 50,000 object properties across more than 500 control types—including all major frameworks and third-party tools.

The energy firm had purchased a UI testing tool (HP QuickTest Professional—now known as HPE Unified Functional Testing) a few years prior, but the tool was never able to get off the ground. “No one was using that tool so we made the change to TestComplete,” the IT Director points out. Although TestComplete offers record and replay capabilities for non-technical testers, the software team chose to write scripts for all of its tests. The team uses the Java bridge feature in TestComplete to write Java code for each UI test, and then has TestComplete ping the Java code. “TestComplete is easier to understand so it has been adopted readily by our team. The solution also offers Java scripting, which is an important feature. We like the flexibility of being able to use the development language with which we are most comfortable.”

To complement TestComplete, the company also purchased SmartBear TestExecute. The runtime tool helps further reduce testing time by splitting tests on distributed infrastructures, including both physical and virtual machines. TestExecute makes it easy to set up parallel test suites that specify the actions that need to be performed after each run and the data that needs to be shared across tests.

Since the initial deployment, TestComplete has proven its flexibility and commitment to providing quality at speed even further as the company changed to angile development methodology and adopted new tools.  TestComplete helps speed up feedback loops with corresponding teams to promote agile delivery and seamlessly worksin conjunction with their new quality management tool as it does with SpiraTest. The software team also easily integrated TestComplete with Atlassian Jira to  track software defects communicate allchanges anback to the developer team.

“As we changed our development process and the tools we use, it has been good to know that TestComplete adapts and continues to work well as our automated UI testing tool,” says the IT Director. “Our research also indicated that TestComplete is more lightweight in terms of its drain on system resources and costs a lot less than other solutions due to the licensing model SmartBear uses.”

Benefits and Results

Looking back at the 6+ years that the company has now utilized TestComplete and TestExecute, the IT Director realizes the solutions came along just in time. “Our software development team has grown from 2 to 15 members since then, and instead of deploying application updates once per year, we now produce updates three times per week,” “Growing the staff and adopting the agile development methodology allowed us to achieve this rate of software releases, but it was also critical to deploy automated UI testing tools like TestComplete and TestExecute to keep sprints moving fast.”

When testing the energy trading and risk management suite, the IT Director and his team have improved their efficiency in using TestComplete over time. What started out as 24 hours of testing time has been reduced to eight hours for the entire suite—increasing efficiency by 300%.

“We can now run 2,000 tests in 2-3 hours using the TestComplete distributed execution feature,” explains the IT Director. “We can point tests to a TestExecute server and then run portions of the tests in parallel rather than serially, which speeds up the testing time considerably.”

The way in which the software team has accelerated the software development process for the company has been such as a success that additional business units are now looking at ways to expand their use of TestComplete. “Our energy trading and risk management app is huge and complex, so other teams in the company know what it takes to make sure it works,” the IT Director says. “They are impressed with our success and how TestComplete and TestExecute help us move applications into production much faster.”

Business Challenges

  • Lack of adoption for pre-existing UI automation tools
  • Speed up user-interface testing for key applications that run business operations
  • Eliminate manual UI regression testing that requires months to complete
  • Automate UI testing with a tool that supports the Java development language
  • Reduce software development timelines to move applications into production sooner

SmartBear Solution

  • Enables building of stable, scalable and easily-maintainable automated UI tests.
  • Allows testers to choose from 50,000+ object properties across 500+ control types
  • Integrates with changing software quality and defect management tools, such as JIRA
  • Provides UI testing flexibility with multiple features such as record and replay and JAVA scripting that’s easy to understand to drive greater user adoption
  • Provides lightweight tool that does not drain system resources

Measurable Results

  • Reduces testing time of 2,000 UI test cases down to 2-3 hours
  • Increases efficiency by 300% with faster testing cycles
  • Costs less than other UI testing solutions
  • Provides support for test scripts within complex applications
  • Facilitates communications on UI defects between testers and developers

All company names and/or products referenced herein are either registered trademarks or trademarks of their respective trademark holders.