And While I'm at It, I Want a Platypus Too!

Chris McMahon said, “…even if someone were to give Elisabeth her pony, other functional testers would still find a dire need for aardvarks and platypuses.”

Yup. I agree.

Throughout my FTT:TNG post, I kept referring to “a tool” that would do a ton of cool stuff. Actually, that’s not exactly what I want. My wording was imprecise. Sorry.

So let me restate what I want.

I want the capabilities, but I don’t want them all in a single tool. A single tool that did everything I said would probably be too unwieldy to use effectively, too cumbersome to deploy, and too constricting. It would take too long to create. And if it came with it’s own proprietary IDE designed for people who don’t code, plus a hamstrung scripting language that’s supposed to be “easy,” and a record-and-playback feature? Well then we’d be right back where we started with commercial tools, only with tail fins in addition to bells and whistles.

So I what I really want isn’t one thing, but a set of things that can be plugged together. (I did eventually say something like that, though it was easy to miss. 3800 words into my massive wish list, I wrote: “Perhaps each part could be a separate open source project and the complete solution would involve deploying the full collection, much like an XP team that uses Eclipse+JUnit+JWebUnit+Ant+etc.”)

In five years, I’d like to think that we’ll have a collection of utilities, tools, frameworks, libraries, etc. that make tests more graphical, connected, transparent, and integrated. Such a set of things would make it possible for teams to assemble their own ponies, aardvarks, and platypi to fit their particular context.

In somewhat related news…

As Chris mentioned in his post, we held the first DT/TD Summit yesterday. Great stuff, and many thanks to all who participated!

Once I wrap my head around what I learned, I’ll be blogging about it. (I facilitated the meeting, so I’ll need a little quiet time to reflect before I’ll be ready to share my insights…)

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2 Responses to And While I'm at It, I Want a Platypus Too!

  1. Paul Littlebury February 25, 2007 at 2:41 pm #

    You are right – my experience of off-the-shelf automated tools has generally been a hair-pulling experience. In the effort to give a user-friendly appeal, the actual requirements of a test tool are fogotten.

    I used a STAF/Junit/Ant combination for load testing and functional testing for amobile email system. A little more work, but beneficial and worthwhile, as it only did what was required. However, this was by no means the limit of the setup, and once completed, it was ready for any number of future modifications. Not many off-the-shelf automated test solutions fit that description.

    A collection of (proven) utilities is the best route for automated testing – especially with the newer software development methods (including mashup projects). Rather than relying on third-party software, we are in an age where where a more proactive approach is needed for the design and implemetation of an automated test framework, and its associated components. These frameworks and tools are growing – there is a lot more open source test tools available now, which can easily compete with the commercial offerings. Less about cost saving – more about efficency, and fit for purpose.

  2. Danny Faught February 26, 2007 at 11:16 am #

    And thus the Unix toolbox paradigm proves its worth again!

    I’m looking forward to hearing what happened at the summit.