Review: QA Wizard

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Building scripts for testing software can be an arduous task, beset by pitfalls, but QA Wizard surrounds you with safety and simplicity as you move your product out of development and into the real world. Now QA Wizard makes it easy to incorporate thorough testing of a software suite, whether Windows, web or Java based. Other supportive suites are available that dovetail into the automated operation of QA Wizard, such that software is not only tested, but anomalies are tracked and flow optimized.

Building scripts for testing software can be an arduous task, beset by pitfalls, but QA Wizard surrounds you with safety and simplicity as you move your product out of development and into the real world. Now QA Wizard makes it easy to incorporate thorough testing of a software suite, whether Windows, web or Java based. Other supportive suites are available that dovetail into the automated operation of QA Wizard, such that software is not only tested, but anomalies are tracked and flow optimized.

QA Wizard maintains its own scripting protocol - a language that features many of the constructs you will find in a regular procedural language. It is easy to conceive of a test regime and genuinely as easy to incorporate its features, via QA Wizard, into an automated system that will administer detailed tests, tally results and even highlight necessary adjustments. The beauty of this is that with QA Wizard, the programmer analyst and the end-user of software are dealing with the same concerns and, through the Wizard, effectively speaking the same language. It is bound to carve large amounts of costly time away from formerly frustrating test cycles.

The scripting language is simple, neat and familiar, mainly English in form and very similar to many procedural computer languages such as BASIC and the generic database languages. It will not take more than a day or two for a proficient enough programmer or analyst to familiarize him or herself thoroughly with the coding aspects of scripting. Yet the scripting is extremely powerful, featuring virtually all the flow constructs that you will find in procedural languages (branched comparisons, repeated loops, brachiation, routines, functions, subroutines, Boolean logic, and so on). The effect of this is that any necessary tweaking, enhancement, correction or disabling of tests can be formulated by the analyst (rather than by a test specialist) on the spot. Further, specialized considerations by an end user can be communicated more effectively without having to disturb the test regime.

Best of all, the program-like structure of the flow script is such that data, being specified independently of the testing flow, can be syntactically tested completely automatically. Nobody needs to concern themselves with tests, for example, to ensure that data in a particular field is, for example, numeric: this has been specified beforehand, and QA Wizard will devise a scripted function to vet that this is so. The program of course recognizes a wide variety of data formats, including ODBC-compatible formats, comma-delimited and Microsoft Excel.

You can even specify 'database checkpoints' that pause to vet the integrity of chosen data objects at particular points during trials, thus assuring that an intervening test did not wrongly affect the database. There are manifold advantages to this approach when automating the test procedures. Among them are the fact that at any failing point it is easy to target the effects of the failure - and often as easy to correct on the spot. Another is that realistic appreciation may be gained for what database objects are vulnerable during which test. (Seapine Software actually offers other compatible tools that can be used simultaneously with QA Wizard to track individual objects within the database and make detailed reports.)

One of the most intriguing features of QA Wizard when it is running automated scripts is that there is a sort of 'industrial strength' recovery procedure. In brief, it will deal intelligently with a wide range of problems as 'recoverable exceptions,' which it will log, then continue. It is otherwise often difficult to discover that at a certain point, an 'impossible' (or at least unexpected), value occurred within certain objects because it is a fleeting phenomenon. You can do interesting multi-stage testing with this method, building a checkpoint that marks where the process flow would normally go into web-addressing mode (for example with HTML). You can test up to the checkpoint and even beyond without the additional complication of connecting to the net.

As you begin to set up a workspace, database details and logical description of component parts of a project under the aegis of QA Wizard, even more benefits accrue. It serves as an excellent documentation interface itself, and forms an effective basis for tracking future versions of the software. Scripts to test data and software actually resemble a concise description of the software element itself, and so just sitting down to review the nature of a particular system brings to mind scripts that would be useful. From this point it is particularly simple to refine, adjust, add to, and even combine realistic scripts, knowing exactly what they test with every assurance. The interface into scripting provided with QA Wizard is slick, professional, yet can be appreciated as almost intuitive.

We found that QA Wizard brought together the programmer's detailed knowledge of the objects in the programs tested, with the analyst's thorough understanding of the objectives of running the suite, and more problems were detected and sorted out than with former manual methods. Everybody's job was faster, easier and involved less strain. The software produced thereby was more thoroughly vetted yet over a much shorter time, consuming a fraction of previous resources. You can download a feature-laden 30-day test version at the cited URL to see for yourself.

For:

QA Wizard features a very easy to learn script-creating process, and you are guided at each step with inbuilt flow diagrams.


Against:

Any modeling of a software system will be inexact, and so automated testing will occasionally fall short. Yet this product will help you establish its appropriateness very quickly.


Verdict:

QA Wizard effectively provides highly automated testing more speedily and accurately than can be provided manually by system

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