Inscript Acceptance Test Solutions
Rapid Test Development
"We saved approximately three person-months and $30,000 using Iron Speed Designer!"

- James Whistler, Managing Director of Acid Yellow

Rapid Test Development

Inscript Acceptance Test Solutions
Buckinghamshire, UK

The Rapid Test Development (RTD) toolset was developed by Inscript Acceptance Test Solutions as a Windows Forms-based product. The toolset enables users to build packs of test scripts for acceptance testing purposes. Inscript has a successful following for the RTD toolset in the UK. They approached Acid Yellow for help migrating their software onto a web-based platform.

The RTD toolset enables users to produce and maintain packs of quality acceptance test scripts quickly, accurately and without the need for expert knowledge of the system under test. The scripts produced are sufficiently detailed to enable test execution to be carried out by analysts with no background knowledge of the system under test. This enables Inscript's customers to dramatically reduce costs in the acceptance test phase of a project.

The RTD toolset is comprised of three sub-systems:

Modeller — Allows a user to create a logical model of the system under test. This model is comprised of logical screens, its entities (buttons, input fields,etc.) and the navigation routes between them. Building the model requires no understanding of the function or business rules behind the screens.

Scriptor — Once the logical model is built, Scriptor records the functional flow of the business processes requiring testing. A business process is recorded through the user interaction with the system under test. The test and system data used and displayed throughout the business processes need not be recorded when using Scriptor.

Testware Manager — Enables users to combine the recorded business processes with imported test data, allowing test scripts to be produced. There are numerous configuration options available to customize the test output. These are written to Word, Excel or CSV for manual execution or import into Test Management products such as Quality Center. Testware Manager also allows users to import new test data and reapply it to the existing script pack.

A screenshot of test script in Word format.

Application size and scope

The RTD toolset accesses one Microsoft SQL server database comprised of 51 database tables and 102 web pages. The largest table is the BusinessProcessStepEntry table which records the configuration of every entity, on every screen in every business process. The number of records varies depending on the size of the system under test.

The number of application users depends very much on the size of the system under test as well as the size of the Inscript consultant team. There are rarely more than four users on the system at any time, but this will change as the application is continually developed through the next stages. The application currently processes 40,000 transactions each month.

The project

It took two developers, one from Inscript and one from Acid Yellow, approximately three months to implement the project. As the developer from Acid Yellow, I did all the Iron Speed Designer work. The complex functionality of the RTD toolset was simply migrated from the Windows Forms environment to Iron Speed Designer.

It took a month's work to ensure the existing data model for the RTD toolset application was well-suited to a web-based platform. The Iron Speed Designer work took about two weeks. The remaining six weeks were needed to incorporate the functionality from the RTD toolset.

Iron Speed Designer automatically removed the "tbl" prefix to the existing data model. A neat touch!

Code extensions and customizations

What excited us here at Acid Yellow about this project was that we worked on code customizations for about a month, and yet wrote remarkably few lines of code. Iron Speed Designer has more potential to accelerate our development than we had previously realized. The vast majority of the custom code was migrated from the old version of the RTD toolset.

We changed the base classes within Iron Speed Designer to ensure that a single SQL Server database can be used for multiple Inscript customers and systems under test, without risk of mixing up client or system data.

We did not need to incorporate any third-party tools because of Iron Speed Designer's wide range of features. The power of making changes to the base classes was a new direction for us, and we are now very excited at the potential now available to us.

Page layout customizations

We used the standard Mount Redmond page style in Iron Speed Designer to create our application. There are plans to customize the design theme for each individual requirement when the application is made available to Inscript's customers.

Rich text editing was widely implemented in the application.

Iron Speed Designer impact

We saved approximately three person-months and $30,000 using Iron Speed Designer! I estimate the project would have required at least six months without the tool. While feasible, the investment required to complete this project by hand would have prevented Inscript from taking the plunge in this economy.

Next steps

Inscript consultants currently use the application onsite with their customers. The next stage of the project is to enable Inscript's customers to access and download the test packs produced from the web site. The final stage, and ultimate goal, is to enable customers to use the site and produce their own test packs directly via a pay-per-use approach.

Inscript can add their own users already, but at present, these are exclusively their own consultants. Allowing Inscript's customers to use the system will dramatically expand their user and site numbers.

About the developer

James Whistler has worked in IT since 1992 in a variety of roles and across a wide range of industry sectors. These include finance, retail, logistics and insurance. His technical experience includes mainframe applications as well as PC and web-based development.

James graduated with a double major in Physics and Computer Science from the University of Southampton, UK.

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