Automated End-to-End Testing and Certification

Volume 4, Issue 1

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Volume 4, Issue 1 

US Office
Ascert, LLC
759 Bridgeway
Sausalito, CA 94965
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 3470

Crash Test Dummies

Don't be a "test dummy". Get testing smarts through VersaTest!

Where We Have Been

Canadian TUG
Mississauga, ON, Canada
October 21 - 22

Boston, MA - BAI Retail Delivery Conference & Expo
November 4

London, UK - Ascert User Group November 12 - 13

Colorado TUG
Denver, CO,
December 10   

Where We Are Going 

Las Vegas, NV
April 13-15
Dallas, TX
April 19

Seattle, WA
April 25-28

Madrid, Spain
April 27-30
Welcome to this edition of the Testing Times.  In the last publication we explored the cost of not testing.  We'll take it a step further and look at the benefits of testing automation.  Check out "Are There Savings Through Test Automation or is it Just a Big Expense."   Let us know what you think at

Are There Savings Through Test Automation or is it Just a Big Expense?
Testing automation is not the end all solution for testing professionals nor is it "snake oil."  In reality, it's somewhere in between.

More Details

Ascert Announces New Driver Development Partner Program
Ascert launches the Driver Development Partnership Program.  The Program is a driver creation tool kit for customer self sufficiency and marketing portal for  distribution of self created drivers.

VersaTest Automator 1.1 Release Now Available
The latest version contains several usability enhancements as well as the initial version of Ascert's Driver Library and Package Management features.

Ascert Holds User Conference at Tower of London
 The Ascert User Group Conference continues to grow with over forty delegates attending this year.  The Tower of London venue was well received as well as substantive vendor sessions and lively after hours post meeting recaps.

Questions & Answers
Ascert's product developers give answers to some of the questions they regularly get asked. See what other users are talking about and ask your own questions.

Stuff From Dr. D.
Dr. D. needs your help!

Are There Savings Through Test Automation or is it Just a Big Expense?

There seems to be a lot written about test automation today.  Go ahead and Google "test automation" and see what you find.  Suffice to say there are a whole bunch of listings.  I love the one titled "Test Automation Snake Oil." It comes up near the top of the search page and it was written in 1999!  I guess that's the power of marketing with a good title.

In our last edition of the testing times, we discussed the cost of not testing.  If you don't think you need to test, check these out:
Listed above are examples from Banking, Airlines, and Retail.  These are just a few examples of errors that could have been avoided with a comprehensive testing program.  There's a lot more examples of this out there!  So, if you're really a serious business concern, you test.  Right?  Now let's ratchet it up a bit and talk about the next step; automated testing.  

Contrary to the aforementioned article, testing automation is not snake oil.  Nor is it the end all solution to your testing needs.  In reality, it probably falls somewhere in between.  If done properly, automation of testing practices can achieve huge savings.  Automation of redundant tasks can save testing time and eliminate the possibility for human error.  And a whole lot more.  

I'll never knock the computing power in the human brain and the knowledge of an experienced testing professional.  But if there was a way to duplicate a set of test scripts flawlessly and repeat it as often as desired in an effortless fashion, wouldn't that be of value?  A proper testing software solution can do just that and it can also act as an information repository and training tool.  Organization brain drain is a danger for companies that don't practice good process documentation.  Imagine a process being automatically captured during a testing practice?  It can happen and the best part about it is that it can't get sick or the knowledge is not lost to the organization.

Automation and "smart" knowledge transference can be a valuable aid in offshoring or outsourced testing.  Automation allows for the process to be transferable and reduces the need for "subject matter experts."  If the test runs, it's successful.  Testing automation can also reduce time in the testing cycle.  Literally, regression testing can be reduced from weeks to hours and sometimes to days.  

What a difference a decade will make.  Since that "snake oil" article was written, testing tools have evolved to automate processes, retain and transfer knowledge, decrease testing times, justify QA headcount, and shorten the testing cycle.  They're real and real companies are reaping huge benefits by implementing automation.

To learn more about test automation or to let me (Dr. Ding Dong) know how many listings you got on your Google search, email me at

Ascert unveiled the Driver Development Partnership Program at the Ascert User Group meeting last November.  The program provides members with the tools and commercial rights necessary for them to create and market their own automated test drivers.   The program utilizes the Driver Framework Standard (DFS) which enables more efficient use of code through shared modular functionality.  This unique methodology eliminates redundant code development and streamlines driver creation which translates to lower development costs.  DFS drivers also offer standardized test definition and operation.  This enables them to operate as dual role drivers, allowing them to be usable for both functional and performance testing. 

"The Driver Development Partnership Program provides everything necessary to build drivers for your own operation.  It empowers Ascert customers by allowing them to either create their own drivers or to contract with the company.  The Program is open to both individuals and organizations who wish to expand their experience, customer reach, and revenue opportunities. In addition to providing partners the technology, tools and licensing rights needed for them to develop their own drivers, Ascert will promote their efforts by making partner-developed drivers commercially available via the Ascert web site.  For more information on becoming an Ascert partner, visit the partner page on our website or contact us at

The latest version of VersaTest Automator contains several usability enhancements as well as the initial version of Ascert's Driver Library and Package Management features. This enables pre-packaged drivers to be downloaded and installed direct from the Ascert website into VersaTest Automator allowing a far simpler driver deployment and upgrade path than was previously available.

This release extends the flexibility in the already easy to operate user interface and enhancements were based on customer feedback.  As a result of such feedback this version includes a forms-based, validating editor that makes test case maintenance easier, and reduces human error as well as enhancements to the flexibility of test case reporting.

The new release is compliant with Quality Center 10.0 allowing for users of HP's product to significantly extend their testing capabilities, with VersaTest Automator as the back end testing engine and the familiar Quality Center interface as the front end.  This not only enables extended testing capabilities but also measurable time savings in the testing process.

In addition to time savings in testing, VersaTest Automator decreases the time involved in analyzing testing results.  With an easy to use GUI interface and "audit capture" functionality, the product increases both testing accuracy as well as ROI.  To find out more about VersaTest Automator, checkout the datasheet on our website or contact us at

Ascert User Conference Attendees
The Ascert User Group took place on the 12th and 13th of November at the historic Tower of London, close to Ascert's EMEA offices. There were over forty delegates from twenty one customer and partner organisations in attendance including delegates from continental Europe and the USA.
Ascert used the morning of the first day to announce and demonstrate the VersaTest Automation Server version 1.1 which elicited lively discussion. The afternoon saw user and partner presentations from Jim Tibbetts of RBS Worldpay in Atlanta, Georgia, and David Silverstone of NMQA, whose formal partnership with Ascert was also announced at the meeting.
The evening saw the daytime discussions continue in a lively manner at The Stirling, which is situated at the Swiss Re Building, better known to all Londoners as "The Gherkin". Day two consisted of an interactive training session with topics led by user interest at Ascert's offices.

The presentations from the event are available for registered users to download from the Ascert Website.

The hunt for a venue for the next User Group is now underway, but it is hard to top a Royal Palace! Provisional dates for the event are the 11th and 12th of November. Make sure it goes in your diary today. If you wish to ensure you get an invitation to the next User Group please email us at

Questions & Answers

Q:  If I have a field declared in a struct that I want to set to spaces do I physically have to do:
AAT_APT_RSP_DEF.sys_err_prog_id := ' ' (i.e. manually enter all the spaces)
or is there something I can use along the lines of:
AAT_APT_RSP_DEF.sys_err_prog_id := SPACES
A: You have to use " ". i,e, the characters for spaces.

Q:  Is there a way of automatically starting VersaTeat Automator testing environments and running tests using a .bat or .sh file?
A: A Command Line Interface (CLI) tool, named vtascmd, is shipped with VersaTest Automator. It supports the following commands:


These commands can be used to set up batch jobs that start/stop environments as well as perform tests themselves. An example is provided below
bin\vtascmd env abc; start_vtmp ; start_env; execute send_pos_req;

Have a question? Send us an email to and ask the experts!

We begin this year with a bit of relief.  At least it "seems" like worldwide economic conditions are begining to improve.  One lesson that many companies had in the last year was being mindful of making sound investments.  In many cases, capital was not flowing...and that alone increased its percieved worth.  What has resulted is a much more cautious approach to business investments and a revised look at ensuring the business practices of yesterday are as relevant today.  In this newsletter, we've featured past articles around testing efficiencies and testing automation.  These topics focused directly to the problem stated above. 
Dr. D. needs your help.  What would you like to read about in future newsletters?  I've received emails from readers with the following suggested topics::
  • Successful Testing Begins with Leadership
  • How to Avoid Brain Drain in Your Testing Practice
  • How Can I Get Management to Take Testing Seriously
Each of these topics alone could fill several of the next few issues.  To add to this list, please send me an email to  Thanks for reading and thanks for your great suggestions!
Dr. D.

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