The new parent company of UFT, Micro Focus, is showing their user base that they get it.
They really get it! Changes in this point release alone remind me of the days when QTP was under Mercury Interactive's vision.
Here is a quick dive into many product changes, well beyond what is mentioned in the What’s New section of UFT’s User Guide.
At times it felt like HP had a hard time getting out of it's own way to get new users to download and try UFT with a 60 day trial license. Micro Focus has begun to streamline that process. Here is the link to get exactly what you want. No muss, no fuss.
Like Internet Explorer, each browser has a UFT Hook extension that must be enabled before object recognition will work.
It can now record and playback on Chrome with Polymer's Shadow DOM as well.
UFT 14.02 extends support to WebAgGrid objects and Firefox v.57.
My last review praised a new ability in UFT 14.01 allowing the Spy utility being left open while writing code, but lamented the loss of the Run and Spy buttons when a Function Library window had the focus. These buttons are now restored to their original state, substantially reducing "Click-itus" in the product. There are other design changes that really eases day to day use:
• Double-clicking a function in the Toolbox takes the user to the source code, rather than adding code to a random cursor location.
• Floating mouse-over popups now appear below the code, making it easier to select objects to send it to the Watch window.
• Sending values to the Watch window works on the first try, even if the Watch window is not active.
• There are fixes with Auto-code generation functionality.
• The Spy window split bar is unlocked, giving the user more view space to the property values by default.
The TCG tool was introduced in UFT 14.00 to help users with large Data-Driven test design. It is actually two tools in one: First it is an extensive random data generator. Second it can take small groups of data and generate large combination scenarios organized into Happy Path, Error path and Regression groups.
The new Pull from UI feature now allows users to import data from populated WebLists in an application.
With a simple point-and-click, a list of countries above is imported into the TCG tool and then available for use in the Global table.
To understand why sourcing data from a web list is important, one should have an understanding why the Test Combinations Generator is so beneficial to data-driven testing:
• Need a quick list of random user names? But only with the letter "X"? It does it.
• A range of random dates? Available in nine common date formats? Yup it does that too.
• Same for random URLs, IPs and MAC addresses.
• How about a list of randomly generated emails and passwords that meet specific business rules? A little RegEx gets it for you.
• Combine eMails and Passwords and you have an instant set of unique credentials of simulated new users.
• Need a list of random part numbers in a custom format? Use the Regular Expression data generator to create combinations.
A side benefit here about RegEx: The TCG tool comes with several pre-configured RegEx samples that can be modified. This means it can be used to experiment and learn RegEx much the way many of us learned to code: by modifying a working example and analyzing the results.
While all this data can be exported into Excel sheets for multiple uses the Test Combinations Generator does not stop there. It can take a few short columns of data values and create larger scenario data sets. Take 10 first names and 10 surname names and TCG can create 100 family members. Add random dates in an 80 year span and you have a simulated population sample.
When using four or more types of data, the combinations can quickly become exponentially large. TCG tops out at just over 65,000 combinations, which might take months or years to run every combination just once.
So Micro Focus offers Pairwise, as well as Triplewise, combination sets. This achieves the most efficient combination coverage. This means your automation script can look for problems when combining two or three list values, without repeating every possible combination.
Finally, the TCG tool further allows the user to identify Happy Path data, as well as Error Path data.
This means you can further segment your data combinations into a small Smoke data set, a Negative data set, with the remaining being the Regression data set.
These data sets can be selected upfront for easy instant access to data driven testing from the Global data table.
To see more of UFT’s TCG tool in action, check out this video:
Micro Focus seems to have taken a cue from Alan Cooper's book About Face and Paul Heckel's Elements of Friendly Software Design. Highly descriptive messages pop up indicating exactly what is needed to activate functionality. In addition, the Help file is now peppered with screen captures and even demo movies.
Another welcome change is online access to the Product Availability Matrix from the Help menu. In prior releases, this document has often been hidden in the Documents folder under the Start menu. It informs users what environments and configurations recent versions of UFT requires to run efficiently.
UFT 14.02 remains extremely stable. It's been my tool of choice for nearly two decades because it is solid.
Scalability is entirely up to the framework design.
While Record and Playback is available for new users to learn the tool, it will result in fragile, high maintenance test suites. This is true of most automation tools, so a hybrid framework design approach is always highly recommended.
Fortunately, UFT is extremely flexible in design. Advanced developers can go so far as to design a framework which translates plain English like:
"Click the Ok Button"
into executable script code:
This leads to function designs which in many cases can bypass the object repository entirely. Click here to see a sample showing how this can be accomplished.
With the Business Process Testing (BPT) option, non-technical users can easily build test cases inside of ALM (Application Lifecycle Management) from scripted components designed by automation engineers.
Scaling object class methods to add new functionality or extending existing methods is achievable with the Function Definition Generator Wizard.
This allows automation engineers to fully customize UFT methods, as well as add new functionality. These methods appear in the Intelli-sence dropdown of object classes. Even descriptions appear on the interface to help new team members who are just learning a new framework design.
Prior to using VBScript-based UFT/QTP, I used Mercury Interactive's C-based WinRunner up until 2004. Product support was discontinued in 2011.
Setup remains very straightforward and takes about 45 minutes, including one system restart. The tool installs the bare minimum of add-ins. To add more takes less than 10 minutes.
With this point release the list of good features far exceeds those on the desired wish list.
• When a debug session ends, UFT forces the user back to the main script. 90% of code development and issues occur in function libraries. This is the only remaining source of "Click-itus" in the product.
• RegEx support of property strings, but not integers properties. If the tool allowed [1-9]\d+ in the Height and Width properties, the returned object collections would exclude all non-visible objects.
• The tally of Fail and Warnings in the results viewer lack a count of reported Pass results. From a high-level stand point, a Test with one failure and 99 Pass results looks just as bad as a test with 100 Fail results.
For the price of five automation licenses, you simply would not be able to hire five manual testers.
Over two years, a successful automation project can mature to a 24/7 test execution schedule that outweighs the equivalent cost of manual testers. It also tends to expand from a initial proof of concept to multiple applications.
While UFT 14.02 is a commercial product, the sheer volume of internal tools focused on ease of use gives it an edge over other open source products by speeding test development.
Another advantage of UFT is the number new and legacy web technologies, including terminal emulators and Windows thick clients supported by by the tool.
UFT is the “everything and the kitchen sink” of automation tools with an easy to learn language, a solid history, and extensive support resources.
• Be sure to have new automation engineers trained beyond basic YouTube videos, and avoid on the job training. This will prevent rookie mistakes, producing robust scripts and less re-work in the future. Micro Focus provides tool training, as does Orasi and RTTS in New York.
• Consider expanding your Test Automation Engineer's toolbelt with Test Design Studio from Patterson Consulting. It includes a static code analysis tool, similar to Lint, but tailored to UFT. This allows UFT developers to efficiently analyze entire entire code base for errors in a single sitting, not just at run-time.
I have worked with QTP/UFT for 14 years continuously.
Micro Focus' Unified Functional Testing tool is shaping up to return as a major contender in the test automation field. This new release shows a real commitment to ease of use and hints at providing more superior functionality to users in the coming year.
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