What does it mean to an Automator to have a True IDE?

T-image.jpgOver the years I’ve worked in a lot of Integrated Development Environment (IDE) tools, A LOT.  But until now, I couldn’t include QuickTest Pro (QTP) in that statement. Sure it had the look and feel of an IDE platform, but it couldn’t always deliver on some basic elements which make up a true IDE tool.

 

 If you haven’t been a developer or if you have never thought about it, you are probably asking yourself—what define a true IDE tool? I am glad you asked. To a lot of people it simply means “A platform that provides a comprehensive environment to develop software or code”. For me it means having everything that I need to develop code within the same window or a maximum of two key strokes from my view.

 

Because we testers develop test and not applications (compiled software) I wondered how I would justify or define a test development as true IDE.  To justify a true Automators IDE Platform, I developed this checklist:

 

  • The ability for the platform to develop both GUIs (QTP) and APIs (Service Test). This reduces the time of developing similar scripts or test in two different tools. On this account,
    HP Unified Functional Testing 11.5 far exceed expectations and even combined or enhanced some the new features we found in QTP 11 and Service Test (ST) 11 at the same time. Over the years, a majority of my time has been spent using the GUI scripting tool.  But since I’ve picked up a copy of the UFT 11.5 tool, I find myself using API more often than not; because the user interface has made it so easy to Drag and drop functionality with in API side of UFT. This has also given me the ability to bypass all of the hassles of dealing with the presentation layer— which I find very refreshing.

 

  • The ability to edit and/or debug more than one script or test at a time. This has been probably the number one request of the functional testing tool that I have heard about over the years. Year after year, I would have some other type of media open (Notepad for most us) to compare or edit scripts. The HP software group has hit a home run (with the bases loaded) with this new feature. Based on this ability alone I would recommend switching to UFT before the end of the year. Over the last couple of weeks I have saved hours (hours, not minutes) of reviewing and debugging code because of it.

  

  • The ability to view, combine, or link test, actions, function libraries, documents, component etc… through solution areas. I recognize that this is similar to the development tools currently on the market—but our new UFT has several advantages and abilities over the competition. Again R&D and Marketing amazed me with how the solution area not only incorporates the function libraries and actions, but they also offer the capability to link other test including API test with GUI or vice versa. This all has me believing that somebody is making deals with the Dark Side of the force.
    One of those items I could never get used to as developer and automator has been switching between true IDE where developer could simply drag and drop functions like  libraries, Dynamic-link library (DLL), etc… into the solution area and the IDE would automatically link the new functionality to the Application under development. I could go into why a scripting tool such as QTP shouldn’t have this type of functionality (testing scripts are not compiled). I believe that you’ll enjoy as much as I do.

 

  • In a true IDE editor, we would be able to develop function, subs and classes to enhance the performance of our script and test. Again if you have ever had the opportunity to use a true IDE tool, you would quickly realize that most developers take that one simple piece of functionality for granted. But as automator, the ability to create classes in a true IDE has been on my wish list for years. I’m not the biggest Disney fan but in the attached video you will see that if you wish hard enough your dreams can come true.

The only thing I didn’t talk about today is the new IDE functionality around Business Process Testing (BPT) which I will address in my “BPT for UFT” article later in this series.

 

This is just a listing of four of the biggest item on my IDE checklist. But I think most automators would agree that this new functionality gets their attention.  If you were wondering what grade I would give the new functionality within UFT IDE on a scale from 1 to 10, I would score it at 11.5. Pun intended.

 

If you were given the chance to create a wish list for UFT with the knowledge that marketing and R&D would see it, what would you put on that list? If you post your hope/request for new functionality in the comments section I will attempt to find it in the new UFT release. I will be happy to share the results of my search with you as soon as I can.  If it isn’t in UFT 11.5 I will definitely forward your request onto Marketing and R&D. This is your chance to change how you work, make sure you take it.

 

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Thanks

@Wh4tsup_Doc  

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Comments
Oleksandr Kulychok | ‎02-19-2013 02:57 AM

So many words about the benefits and none of the disadvantages...

[Quote]
"In a true IDE editor, we would be able to develop function, subs and classes to enhance the performance of our script and test"

[/Quote]

 

We can  develop function, subs and classes even in Notepad. And  performance of our script and test does not depend on this. Maybe you want to say that speed of development depends on.

 True IDE editor must:

  - help to tester to write code in fast way with minimum errors

  - must have  Intelisence support.(UFT has very limited version: public functions from other libraries is not listed, no support for COM-classes, sometimes error occure when it is called)

  - must have code documentation features

  - must have configurable hotkeys or have support for common hotkeys (for ex, UFT ignores Alt BkSpace, shortcut for undo)

  - must have code navigation feature

  - if you language support classes then IDE must have class browser

  - big plus for IDE is the integrated refactoring tools

Of cause, it is a big plus for HP that it updated his IDE. But for now it is not ideal and very limited. You can compare editor features of UFT and Test Design Studio. You will see that your dreams about features, realized in UFT is nothing in comparison with features of TDS.

 

 

Few words about debugger: The ability to edit and/or debug more than one script or test at a time its a good feature. But for years I wait for the feature "Set next step" in debugger. Why I should run my script from beginning if I want to debug some if-then flows inside my function? This make debugging process very difficult because initialization process of my code takes some time.

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About the Author
Michael Deady is a Pr. Consultant & Solution Architect for HP Professional Service and HP's ALM Evangelist for IT Experts Community. He spec...
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