Since it was founded in 1989, T-Plan has continued to develop software solutions for the Quality Assurance (QA) industry. Almost every organisation dealing with software, will have a testing department, or a team or group of persons responsible for the testing or verification of the software being implemented, or produced for market.
The challenges presented to testing the software, before it goes into production, have lead companies like us to develop solutions that aid the testing process, in industries such as mobile applications, defence, banking and gaming etc.
The T-Plan Product Suite allows you to manage every aspect of the Testing Process. The T-Plan Professional product, SaaS Cloud or On-Premise, is modular in design, clearly differentiating between the Analysis, Design, Management and Monitoring of the Test Assets. Test Automation is also integrated into the test suite package using T-Plan Robot, therefore creating a full testing solution.
For the purposes of this blog I want to now concentrate on our Test Automation solution…
2) Where do we sit?
Our product "T-Plan Robot Enterprise" is a Test Automation software tool.
In an industry such as gaming, speed of delivery is of the utmost importance. One of the biggest challenges to any auditable verification process is time. When squeezed for time due to delivery timescales, the testing or the software is normally the first to suffer.
Test Automation in this instance can really help in reducing the business risks of releasing a product, that has not had time to go through the proper battery of tests.
How… by getting computers to do the job of 'regression testing' whilst the workers are asleep, or by freeing up your workers so that they can concentrate on critical areas of the system that have just been produced.
The justifications for automation are well documented on the web… so in the interests of keeping this short, I will not reiterate these further here.
3) How does our tool work?
By creating a series of scripts or actions, T-Plan Robot can exercise or drive applications in the same way as would an end user.
In essence, imagine yourself sitting at your PC and running through a list of 'pre-flight' checks on the software, and recording these. Now imagine the PC, using our Robot software, playing this list back to you over and over again, perhaps under different circumstances etc. and then telling you the results when it was finished.
For example… you want to conduct the same list of checks simultaneously on a Windows PC / Windows Tablet / Mac / iPad / Linux PC (Ubuntu etc.) etc. to check that the software works in all of these environments. Welcome to the world of test automation…
4) How are we different?
The key to answering this is in the first sentence of point number 3) : "The same way as would an end user".
Robot is an "image based" test automation tool and approaches validation from the end-user perspective, providing critical validation that what you want the customer to see, they will actually get. We do this by capturing images and checking these images have remain unchanged during the test execution etc. I.e. just like a human would do by comparing 2 photos… or 2 pictures from memory… but doing it programmatically, and therefore eliminating human error and saving time and therefore money!
The fact is that if you are not using Robot you may be testing your code and qualifying that it does not have any bugs that a computer can detect, but a computer isn't a person. A person doesn't read code when they are using an application they work with, or a game. Therefore, without testing your software's interface (GUI) by "seeing it" or "reading it", can you really confidently say that you know your application will deliver the desired experience to the end user.
Robot is also platform independent (Java) [environment agnostic] and runs on and automates all major systems such as Windows, Linux and Unix plus certain mobile platforms. The product has the same functionality, look and feel regardless of Operating System (OS). There is no need to relearn the product on various platforms, and your test scripts are completely transferable between platforms. This is a huge point for the gaming industry as many games now have to sit with no alteration of functionality in many different environments, mobile included. Our solution is a one size fits all approach!
5) Time for a change!
Yes IBM / HP etc. provide testing tools… but their approach is very developer centric. The 'big boys' all approach test automation with very complicated "object oriented" test tools. These tools require a development knowledge of the system under test (SUT) and a technical checking of the code behind the displayed result.
In gaming the visual result is all important, and this in many circumstances cannot be verified at the component / object / code level. For example the work we have done with Zynga and Disney are classic examples of this where flash / flex / Silverlight etc. just cannot be easily tested using the 'old' tools provided by IBM and HP etc. Please view our YouTube Channel to see some examples of what and how we do it.
6) Resourcing and skill transfer.
As Robot fully supports Java as a programming language, I guarantee that you will find more people skilled in Java, than any proprietary scripting language supported by other vendors.
This makes your resourcing easier and more expandable across multiple locations, and off shoring of resource also should this be a consideration.
7) We are…
A UK based company with excellent support and customer service. We have an extensive global partner network, and pride ourselves in being competitive, flexible and addicted to customer retention!
We are totally customer focused, with a simple development focus and ethos to provide customers with functionality they desire.