Infragistics Pushes Functional Testing for GUI Components

Infragistics releases TestAdvantage 2007 Volume 2.

UI component vendor Infragistics last month released an updated version of its TestAdvantage functional testing product built upon Hewlett-Packard Development Co.'s test platform, and says it expects to ship a second flavor of TestAdvantage built upon IBM Corp.'s Rational testing platform sometime this fall.

The Volume 2 release of TestAdvantage 2007 currently plugs into HP QuickTest Professional through a .NET add-in. The pairing allows testers to automate functional testing of Windows Forms UIs built using Infragistics' NetAdvantage for .NET component.

'Tricky Business'
"Functional testing for GUI components is a tricky business, especially automating test scripts," says Burton Group analyst Joe Niski. "Doing it well, and in a highly reusable way, means going beyond just screen recording. Getting test results that help developers trace bugs typically requires that the testing tools have some way of getting at the inner workings of the GUI components being tested."

Otherwise, of course, testers end up having to do a lot of basic coding themselves to automate the process. Niski says ready-to-use tools such as TestAdvantage that target UI components make life easier for testers and "may make the components themselves more appealing to risk-conscious development managers."

Infragistics' Andrew Flick, product manager for rich clients, says his company and Mercury Interactive (later acquired by HP) originally partnered several years ago because Infragistics needed a way for its customers to test UIs built with its toolset, and Mercury wanted to offer broad UI testing without having to write the code for every component vendor in the market.

When HP announced plans to buy Mercury last summer, Infragistics initially braced itself for potential changes in the partnership, Flick says. However, a year later, little has changed, he says. "They're still looking to take care of their partners, as they were in the past."

Meanwhile, Infragistics has released the first beta version of TestAdvantage for integration into IBM's Rational testing platform. The first official release is scheduled for the fall.

Competition from Redmond
IBM and HP remain the heavy-hitters in the testing-platform market, but Microsoft has shown a new emphasis on manual testing in the first community technology preview (CTP) of the Visual Studio Team System successor, code-named "Rosario," as an RDN report recently noted. Current versions of Visual Studio (VS) focus on unit testing at the code level as opposed to the kind of functional testing TestAdvantage targets.

The main addition to TestAdvantage since the Volume 1 release earlier this year is testing support for the new desktop alert component in NetAdvantage. NetAdvantage for Windows Forms officially supports VS2005, but, Flick says, "if you want to give it a try in Visual Studio 2008, that's currently in beta and not supported, but it does work."
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