Sage is a leading global supplier of business management software and services for small and midsized businesses. The company has more than five million global customers that rely on its software. To ensure that it meets its customers’ needs for top-quality software, Sage relies on TestComplete from SmartBear.
Sage started over 25 years ago in North East, England. Sage has since grown to become a worldwide company employing 13,000 people, 1,800 in the United Kingdom alone. Worldwide Sage has a customer base of around 5.2m businesses that rely on their business management software. With that many businesses that rely on Sage, they needed a reliable testing tool, so they turned to TestComplete.
"I joined the Forecasting project in early 2002; this was quite early in the development stage for a brand new version of Sage’s Forecasting product. This new product was to be our first release to use .NET technologies. At this stage no test scripts existed let alone any automated test cases, so it was more or less a clean slate that we had to work with. I already had some experience using automated tools from working on previous products and projects within Sage and initially I tried to amend the tools we already had to work with the new product. Unfortunately the existing framework had been developed using what was then a rival tool and this tool was not designed to be used with .NET products. Since the existing tools could not give us enough control over the product to satisfy what we wanted from automated testing, we decided that it would be beneficial to carry out research into some of the other tools on the market, and this is when we found TestComplete," said Peter Yates, Senior Testing Technician from Sage.
Standard Languages Save Time
Peter described why TestComplete's supported scripting languages are so important to them. "When we looked at some of the other tools they used their own proprietary development languages but with TestComplete being based around existing scripting technologies this meant a reduced learning curve. Also, since the testing phase of a software release always feels the pinch any time savings we could obtain were important."
Far Beyond Black Box Testing
"One of the main things I liked about TestComplete was its ability to allow the test developer access to any of the properties and methods available on the controls. This is invaluable when testing things like grids. The framework that had been used on previous com projects was very limited in how it could handle certain controls. We often had to write code to use simulated key presses to move to what we thought would be the correct position in the grid and then process the cell. With TestComplete we no longer have this problem and it is much easier to work with grid cells," said Peter.
Robust Control Handling
Peter explained how important it is for them to have a tool that frees them from having to use a control's ID. "The tool we had prior to TestComplete, the one which had been used on previous projects, used IDs to specify which control was to be processed. This approach meant every time a form changed we were having to change the IDs to ensure the correct control was being manipulated. Thankfully TestComplete has the ability to use the name of the control, so the only time we need to amend the code is if the control's name is changed."
Automation Brings Immense Time Savings
"As already stated, TestComplete is based around existing scripting languages. Due to this the learning curve was drastically reduced meaning we were up and running quicker than we would have been using other products. Once the initial time investment in developing the tests has been completed the time savings made can be immense. We have reduced the average test time per script from 90 minutes per script (manually) to 20 minutes (automated). Plus with the scripts being automated it means that the testers do not need to be sat at the machine while the script is running, all that is required is for someone to analyze the results at the end of the script run," said Peter.
"Although the overall number of tests we perform has not increased dramatically by automating, the time taken to perform the tests has been reduced, and therefore so has product release time. We have also freed up some of the testing team's time to allow them to perform the kind of tests that cannot be scripted. For example, you cannot script to test the look and feel of an application, but if you sit a tester in front of the application and let them perform ad-hoc testing they will always come back with an issue to be resolved or a suggestion on how to improve the application."
"We now also have a suite of automated scripts that can be run overnight as a smoke test. These tests are run remotely over a network, with each client running different tests on the application. When we come in the next morning we know if the application has regressed or not. Before automation this was not possible since the time to perform all these tests would have taken days, if not weeks."
"TestComplete has to be one of the best value pieces of software on the market. It was not only one of the best featured tools we looked at but it was also one of the cheapest. The saying may go “you get what you pay for” but this certainly is not the case with TestComplete, it has everything we need and a lot, lot more"
— Peter Yates, Senior Testing Technician from Sage
Dramatically Reduce Testing Time
Peter explained how he feels about TestComplete and automated testing: "As with any automated tool you are not going to be able to install the software and perform tests immediately. Time will always be needed to develop the required tests. There is never a good time in the software cycle to implement new tools, but the sooner you bite the bullet the sooner savings can be made. It may take two or three releases before savings are realized, but after that the testing time can be dramatically reduced on all future releases. My Advice? Download the demo to appreciate the advantages this product will bring; then buy it and start developing your tests!"
TestComplete has allowed Sage to improve their quality and their product's time to market. They've gained enormous time savings in their testing processes which allows their testers to perform more tests and more varied tests.