10 Years On - The Future of Testing is Here (or is it?)


Mercury1.pngI’m writing this blog post on the 10th anniversary of my start date at HP – or Mercury as we used to be known (Mercury Interactive, in full).  I started at Mercury on the first of January 2003, and since this blog is called “The Future of Testing”, I thought that it might be an interesting exercise to see where we’ve come in those ten years.

 

The first group I joined was the TestDirector group, which was working on version 8.0.  The product was written in Delphi (remember that?) with a C++ backend.  Ten years later, with a complete technology overhaul, it’s known as Quality Center (QC), and has a big brother called Application Lifecycle Management (ALM).  Endless features have been added over the course of the last ten years, and although it was a great product in version 7 when I joined, the latest version solves a much wider set of challenges that today’s quality managers face.  And in fact, ALM is now much more attractive to roles other than the traditional quality manager, with development managers and subject matter experts getting in on the act.

 

While I was helping get Quality Center 8 out, my colleagues in QuickTest Professional were working hard on pushing QTP 6.5 out of the door, and preparing the next big leap forward, which was to be QTP 8.0.  This was when QTP’s Keyword-Driven Testing capabilities first saw the light of day.  Look where we are today – QTP has morphed into Unified Functional Testing 11.50, which includes both GUI and API-testing capabilities, image-based testing, and lots of other goodies that weren’t even a gleam in their developers’ eyes ten years ago. 

 

Mercury2.pngAt the same time, people were working on the first release of Business Process Testing, which brought a whole new methodology into the testing domain.  Testers could collaborate with subject-matter experts, and develop components to enable reuse and simpler maintenance.  While BPT catered to manual testers, it also catered to automation engineers who could write components with QTP.  And there was another option - you could write components using WinRunner as well!  But WinRunner, with its unique Test Script Language (TSL), was retired in 2008, and customers were advised to migrate to QTP.

 

LoadRunner and Performance Center have also seen some amazing changes since 2003.  TruClient technology didn’t exist then, and users had to struggle with some real challenges around Ajax and Web 2.0.  The advent of TruClient allowed users to write their scripts by simply using their application, and the user’s actions were translated into a LoadRunner script.  Easy!  At that time, Performance Center had very little in common with Test Director, but it’s now built on the same platform, offering a very close integration, and look-and-feel.

 

HP 1981-2008.pngThe Agile Manifesto was introduced in 2001, a short time before I joined Mercury/HP.  This directly influenced the decision to develop products like HP Service Test, because developers and QA engineers are working closer together than ever.  Before then, not many people were thinking about testing APIs, beyond relying on developers’ unit tests.  ST was released in 2006, and has undergone some significant changes.  It was originally based on LoadRunner’s Vugen technology, but was re-written  to provide a visual drag-and-drop flow-based interface, with the option of writing .NET code.  Today, while ST is still sold as a stand-alone product, everything that ST can do is now part of UFT.  One tool can now test the GUI and API parts of the application.  At the same time as ST came into the world in 2006, we didn’t have anything for SOA Governance either.  The acquisition of Systinet in 2006 changed that, and we added its eponymous product to our ranks, integrating with ST along the way.

 

We also developed HP Service Virtualization, which helps both developers and testers use services which may not be available, or which are costly to use in testing scenarios.  This is an essential capability in an Agile world, and can also be used in problem root-cause analysis, which is more common as we see developers get closer to operations, as well as to QA.

 

HP 2008-2012.pngAnd since we mentioned Agile, I should also note that we initially started offering the Agile Accelerator for Quality Center, which was a base project that came with pre-configured roles and privileges, workflows, configurations and rules, and reporting, for managing Agile projects.  HP Application Lifecycle Intelligence was added to link requirements, tests and defects to code changes, all from within the developer’s IDE.  And we now have the HP Agile Manager, which was built from the ground up as one of our Software as a Service (SaaS) offerings.  And to help customers doing Continuous Integration (an Agile best practice), we developed a Jenkins plugin to run HP UFT tests as part of the build process.

 

HP Sprinter also didn’t exist 2003.  In the ‘olden days’ the only option for running manual tests was TestDirector’s manual runner.  It was very utilitarian, in the sense that it did what it said on the tin.  I think of it as the black-and-white TV of manual testing.  Sprinter is the color, full HD TV that adds a whole new dimension to the process of manual testing.

 

In 2006, Mercury Interactive was acquired by HP.  At that time, we didn’t have anything for testing security.  But that gap was plugged when HP acquired SPI Dynamics in 2007, which added WebInspect and QAInspect to the product line.  Since then, HP has added a plethora of security tools to its portfolio, from Fortify (identifying software vulnerabilities) and ArcSight (identifying IT infrastructure vulnerabilities and attacks), to EnterpriseView, which caters to the Chief Security Officer by providing a real-time graphical view of risks across the enterprise.

 

HP 2012-2013.pngThe last 10 years have seen amazing advances in the way we approach testing, and I know we’re not finished yet.  The next ten years promise to be even more exciting.  The pace at which technology is advancing is astounding, and our challenge at HP is not only to keep up with progress, but to continue to lead the way forward towards… ‘The Future of Testing’!

 

 

 

(Along the left are the logos in use since I started, from top to bottom: Mercury Interactive's original logo; Mercury's logo from 2004; HP logo from 1981-2008; HP logo from 2008 to 2012; HP logo from 2012)

Comments
Michael Cooper | ‎01-08-2013 12:35 PM

Malcolm, I believe 2013 is also the 20th Anniversary of Quality Center/Test Director.  If I recall correctly, Test Director was originally released by Mercury Interactive in 1993.  Perhaps, we should have a 20th Birthday Party celebration for Quality Center where we can discuss the past and the future of testing.   

 

 

‎01-08-2013 12:54 PM - edited ‎01-08-2013 12:57 PM

Nice idea, Michael.  Do you (or does anyone else) remember what TestDirector looked like in 1993?  What features did it have in its '1.0' release?

Michael-Deady | ‎01-08-2013 05:40 PM

Malcolm is ten years older today (I want to be just like Malcolm when I'm old too) Happy Birthday. The trip down memory lane only makes me wonder if joining the circus would've been a better choice of careers 10 years ago. All kidding aside thanks for all the hours spent on making my job easier.

 

I don't really remember the exact release date of Test Director  it was a GUI-based interface to a centralized database 1999.

 

Thanks

@whatsup_doc

| ‎01-09-2013 05:40 PM

When we rolled out ALM/QC 11, Filip put together a slide deck that showed all the UIs over the years. I wonder if anyone still has those screenshots?  From memory is was grey with lots of white field boxes! :)

Spoiler
 
| ‎01-10-2013 12:58 AM

I'd love to see the early TestDirector UI too!  In the meantime, the earliest references I found were to TestDirector 2.0, from 1996-1997, and there is a copy of its data sheet on the Wayback Machine, with some screenshots.  That's also where the logo on the left (with the revolving star!) came from.

 

Remember Mercury's phone number in those days?  1-800-TEST-911!

 

Sreedhar Khandavilli | ‎01-10-2013 06:57 AM

My Starting of Career in Applabs worked with WINRUNNER.  It had given me good path to prove my development skill with automated stuff.  Still BPT is giving immense support to Business teams to reduce maximum manual testing job. 

manish_1 | ‎01-13-2013 11:04 PM

Introduction of Lab Management Automation to support Continuous Delivery/DevOps in ALM 11.5 is also noteworthy - an important milestone in history and showing the way in to future.

 

KellyEmo | ‎01-23-2013 03:41 PM

Great find Malcolm,  enjoyed that Wayback machine -- looking at the change in UI from Test Director 2.0 now fast forwarding to the user experience in HP Agile Manager reminds me of how far this industry has evolved.  Just last week I subjected my 15 year old daughter to watching Alien with me... you should have seen her face when she saw the interface to the space ship's mainframe computer-- "Mother" was a command line interface on a green screen!    Just wait for HP ALM 2020--I bet it will be holographic!

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About the Author
Malcolm is a functional architect, focusing on best practices and methodologies across the software development lifecycle.
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