Automated End-to-End Testing and Certification

Volume 2, Issue 4

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Ascert - Testing Times
Ascert

Volume 2, Issue 4

US Office
Ascert, LLC
759 Bridgeway
Sausalito, CA 94965
USA
Tel. +1 415-339-8500

UK Office
Ascert, Ltd
3rd Floor Signet House
49 - 51 Farringdon Road
London, EC1M 3JP
England, UK
Tel. +44 (20) 7488 3477

www.ascert.com


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Where We Have Been
HP/ITUG conference in Las Vegas. Ascert introduced the new VersaTest Automator Quality Center Plug-In. Click Here to see pictures.

ACI Customer Exchange (ACE) - Scottsdale
September 14

Where We Are Going
BAI - Orlando, Florida,  November 17 - 20

Ascert Users Group - Tower of London, London, England, November 27
Click Here for More Info

Welcome to this issue of the Testing Times!  You may notice that this newsletter has a new look.  We've updated our format for easier reading and have moved to electronic distribution for all future issues.  You are receiving this because you indicated that you wished to learn more about Ascert products and services.  If this email has reached you in error, please click on the "unsubscribe" link at the bottom of the page and you will be promptly removed from future distributions or notices.  We hope you enjoy our new look.  Please feel free to contact us and let us know what you think at info@ascert.com.

Simulation Does Not Equal Automation
There's a lot of talk regarding automating the testing process. Everyone wants that "magic bullet" which will cut redundancy and save time and money. Mistakenly, some vendors confuse simulation with automation. Don't get us wrong, simulation is great. You need to do it if you're going to find flaws in the system. There are some basic steps that need to occur before testing can or should take place. Click below to find out more.
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Ascert Releases Plug-in for Quality Center
Ascert announced the launch of the VersaTest Automation Plug-In for Quality Center to the market place while at the HP Technology Forum, Las Vegas, NV. The new product provides a bridge between VersaTest Automator and HP's Quality Center. It automatically creates central management, visibility, and a repository of tests and test results.
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Questions & Answers
Ascert's product developers give answers to some of the questions they regularly get asked. See what others users are talking about and ask your own question.
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Simulation Does Not Equal Automation

There's a lot of talk regarding automating the testing process. Everyone wants that "magic bullet" that will cut out redundancy and save time and money. Mistakenly, some vendors confuse simulation with automation. Simulation is the ability to reproduce the full set of individual actions performed in an entity.  Automation is the ability to initiate, coordinate and control a defined set of behaviors within a known environment.  Don't get us wrong, simulation is great. You need to do it if you're going to find flaws in the system.  Automation is even better!

There are some basic steps that need to occur before testing is to take place. When you think about them, you'll see that it is nearly impossible to automate the entire process. There is always some level of manual intervention. However, levels of automation previously unheard of are now available.

The first step is to define your test plan. It seems fairly commonsensical, but too many professionals don't take the time to lay out a testing plan. Not doing so puts you at the whim of any occurrence that could not only cost you time, but cost you money as well. More importantly, you need to make sure that your test plan can actually support automation. 

Once the testing plan is in place, you can take it to the second step which is starting your testing environments. This is fairly easy when you just have one or a couple of environments to test, but what about plans that include 5, 10, 15, or more than 15 environments? Unfortunately, the addition of testing environments is usually not additive in terms of effort involved. You also can't forget about the collection, analysis, and storage of the test results for each environment. Add this to the equation and the effort grows exponentially with each new environment.  If you can't automate these you really haven't got automation!

So why is automation really important? Well, there are a number of fairly substantive reasons. First, you want to be able to test the same way every time. The ability to duplicate exactly the same steps conducted in prior tests is important for comparative as well as auditing purposes.  Imagine what could happen if you forget a small but crucial step?

Duplication becomes more and more important as the number of steps in each test increases. Sure, you can probably follow a test plan that has 50 or even 100 steps in it. But what if it has 1000 or more than a 1000? The more steps, the more chance for human error to occur, the greater the likelihood that your test won't be accurate. Mix the number of steps with different people repeating the same test over and over again and you have the makings for one big headache!  Automation ensures that you get exact duplication of processes, which ensures that you get consistency and repeatability every time.

Also important is the issue of tracking and recording test results.  Let's face it, government regulations regarding the practice of auditable processes continues to grow, and they are not going to go away or get better any time soon. You have a responsibility to do provide an audit trail, don't you? How do you do it now? I bet it's a laborious manual process. Having an automated process to record all of your steps will help you a great deal.

Finally, today's cost crunch has most companies looking for ways to be more efficient. How can you cut down the test cycle timeline? The answer to all of these questions is automation.  There are a few testing automation tools on the market today. Unfortunately, it's difficult to get a real "apples to apples" comparison. Factors such as ease of use, flexibility, return on investment, platform compatibility, and technical/ professional support all need to be considered. However you decide to approach this topic, there are a lot of moving parts!

Do you want to know more about how testing automation might work at your company? Do you want to know how to create a proper test plan that can support automation?  Do you want to know how testing automation can save your company time and money?  If you answered yes to any of the questions above, contact us at info@ascert.com or call one of our local offices.  Make sure to use the promo code word "automation" and you'll get a free Automation Review that you can use to assess next steps for your testing organization.


Ascert Releases Plug-in for Quality Center

Ascert announced the launch of the VersaTest Automation Plug-In for Quality Center to the market place while at the HP Technology Forum, Las Vegas, NV. The new product provides a bridge between VersaTest Automator and HP's Quality Center. It automatically creates central management, visibility, and a repository of tests and test results.

"The VersaTest Automation Plug-In for Quality Center is unique as it is not just a typical plug-in module like many others that exist in the market place. The product achieves a significant level of automation and expands the reach of Quality Center into parts of the enterprise that are otherwise inaccessible," said Rob Walker, Managing Partner of Ascert. "The new Plug-In allows for a Quality Center user to define and execute VersaTest server-level interface tests within Quality Center, validate the pass/fail results automatically, and gather the result files back to Quality Center".

"We designed the plug-in to allow those users to execute VersaTest Automator tests and store test results from within the Quality Center software. Users get the benefit of an expanded knowledge base from a familiar setting, without having to acquire new user skill sets."


Questions & Answers

Q: How do I know if I have the latest version of software?

A: The Ascert Development Team is constantly enhancing our software products. Do you have the latest versions? To find the latest version, go to http://www.ascert.com/. Sign in and go to the Downloads section. While on the downloads page, you can also subscribe to our RSS feed, that way your RSS news reader will notify you of updates virtually as soon as we post them. Alternatively, if you'd like us to send you an email alert regarding new releases, send us an email to support@ascert.com and put "new version alert" in the subject line.

Q: What encryption algorithms are supported by VersaTest?

A: VersaTest has general encryption for DES and TRIPLE-DES (3DES) built into the product. With Electronic Code Book and Cipher Block Chaining modes. Also the following checksum options:

  • ISO 9797-1 - Message Authentication Code using block cipher mechanisms1
  • LRC - Longitudinal Redundancy Check
  • MAC - Message Authentication Code using the ANSI X9.19 (DES-based) algorithm
  • MOD10 - Modulo 10 checksum (Also known as a Luhn check-digit)

Have a question? Send us an email to support@ascert.com and ask the experts!



HPTF / ITUG

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Andrew, Jennifer and Rich ready to do business.

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Denise shows Rich that testing is not "rocket" science.

 

Dr. Ding Dong gets a shoe repair job.

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O.K. What's this mystery photo all about? Take a guess. Here's a hint: It is something that happened to one of our employees at the last trade show. Something to do with double sided tape. Send your guesses to Rich at richg@ascert.com. We'll recognize the winning guess and publish the mystery photo in the next Testing Times.

 

Ascert