Harness the power, flexibility, and new functionality of Visual Test 6 to enhance the effectiveness of your testing projects. Using concrete scenarios and detailed examples, leading Visual Test expert and veteran trainer Tom Arnold guides you through the entire test automation process - covering both the programming and project management skills needed to deliver high-quality Windows or Web-based software applications on schedule and within budget.
Review By: Elisabeth Hendrickson 05/11/2004In this practical, hands-on book, Thomas Arnold provides testers with an in-depth look at the capabilities of Visual Test. While this book covers the basics—it includes an overview of the Visual Test interface, details about the language syntax and commands, and lots of sample code—its real strength is that it goes beyond the basics. Advanced information includes topics such as how to use Visual Test for networked tests, benchmark tests, and linking to the Windows API. The appendixes are also very valuable: the full Visual Test language reference in appendix A, James Bach's "Useful Features of a Test Automation System" in appendix B, and the full source code listings for several useful test scripts.
This is not a rose-colored-glasses view of test automation. Early on in the book, Thomas Arnold says:
“Don't buy into the shuck and jive of an automation tool vendor's spiel. Automation is not the magic bullet, and it won't be the answer to all of your testing problems. It is one of the tools found in a test engineer's toolkit to be used in specific situations. You can't tighten a bolt with a screwdriver, so don't even try. Use test automation when and where it makes sense, and use it effectively so that you get the most return on your investment.”
Weighing in at a hefty 700 pages plus CD, there's a lot of material. A great deal has been added since the previous edition of the book (Software Testing with Visual Test 4.0), particularly in the Advanced Topics section which now includes new chapters on "Black Box Monkey Testing" and "Testing Web Pages."
What I love about this book is that it teaches you how to use the recorder while explaining the pitfalls of relying on it too heavily. It walks you through examples of simple test script creation, then builds on those ideas to show you how to create much more complex and powerful scripts. It offers practical coding advice along with advice on organizing your scripts.
If it sounds like this book is about programming, that's because it is. Although Visual Test includes a record and playback feature (as do most other GUI test automation tools), you're better off approaching test automation as a programming project if you want to create truly useful, maintainable, and powerful test automation. As Thomas Arnold says, "While the recorder offers a number of benefits, it's still necessary for you to go in and modify the scripts to handle the different events than can arise."
One caveat: this is a book about how to use Visual Test. It is not a book about general design principles of test automation. For example, although the book contains a section on File Input/Output, it does not discuss data-driven testing. It is also not a book about good test case design. It tells you how to create test scripts, not how to determine how many test scripts you'll need or what they should contain in order to do a thorough job of testing. Fortunately, this book doesn't pretend to be anything it isn't. And there is plenty of information here to digest without adding more topics.
The book provides a well-developed guided tour for the novice as well as a rich set of reference materials for the more experienced test automator. If you're using Visual Test, whether you're a new test automator with limited programming experience or an old hand at automating tests, you need this book.