Tug of War between BA’s and QA…Guess who gets stuck?

I have always wondered what the core responsibility of a business analyst is.
Googling it, which is not a great idea, threw up hundreds of responses! The more I analyzed, I realized that they form the bridge between business and technology – translating technical explanations into something that business understands and vice versa. On the one hand, a proficient business analyst performs testing better than those with a strong technology background, and on the other hand they are able to write use cases which can be easily understood by the technical team. They lose credibility if one side is favored against the other, even if it is because they come with one dominant background walking into the BA role. Due to this unique combination of skills, good business analysts are a ‘high in demand’ rare genre.

Since Quality Assurance is a big part of what BAs do, wouldn’t it be wonderful to have some tools which use business vocabulary instead of technical? Most QA related tools like Selenium and QTP demand technical knowledge which business analysts often lack. So much for the rapid progress of technology! What BAs need is a framework that deskills the entire process of test automation! Easier said than done, right?

Well, I have done some research on that front and while I have not come across a dedicated tool for BA’s, I have been exposed to some automation frameworks that use the concept of business scenarios based test case creation using an graphical interface. These frameworks claim automating testing at a click of button by dragging/ dropping business flows. They combine different approaches of automation like functional decomposition and keyword driven to give friendly user interface, are easy to maintain, and allow reuse scaling the entire testing operation. In fact some of them even claim to eliminate the need to maintain huge automation staff once the Business Scenario, Component and Utility layers are ready.

With such frameworks BA’s can focus on ensuring that high quality tests are designed and executed thereby mitigating business risks. I wish there is more research and investment to address issues such as these and help improve the overall productivity of both business and IT.

Have you had similar experiences and come across a solution? I will be more than happy to share my research and discuss on the frameworks.

Aparna Katre

Director Strategy | Zen Test Labs

Common Issues and Solutions in Selenium

Selenium is fast becoming one of the most widely used test automation tools for web based applications. While working on selenium projects we faced some common issues that I thought is best addressed through the solutions I am listing below. In case you have tried other solutions and they have worked for you, please feel free to add your inputs in the comments box.

Issue No. 1. Issue in handling popup windows / Frame
Solution: Pop-ups that are very commonly found on the GUI of web apps are many times not recorded by selenium or cause issues while running selenium scripts. The table below gives a snapshot at how these issues can be handled

Popup Type Description Solution
Alert Popup (Message box) Message box popup on application To handle alert popup you can use getAlert functions e.g. selenium.GetAlert();
This will click on Ok button of alert and return alert message.
Confirmation Popup This type of popup has Ok & Cancel buttons You can select the button you want to click, by using below statements before GetConfirmation
For Ok – chooseOkOnNextConfirmation
For Cancel – chooseCancelOnNextConfirmation
And then use GetConfirmation as follows,
selenium.GetConfirmation();
This will click on selected button & return confirmation message.
Popup Window/ Frame In this type of popup, the Frame/window contains data fields where we have to fill values in fields. this can be done using SelectFrame
Following code will illustrate how this can be done.

selenium.Click(btnSubmit)
// This will open a popup window asking user to enter activation code & click on confirm button
selenium.SelectFrame(frmActivationCode); // this will transfer the control to Activation code frame i.e. popup window
//Now you can process objects from popup frame
selenium.Type(txtactivationCode, stractivecode);
selenium.Click(btnConfirm);
// After this you have to get back the control to parent window again using
selenium.SelectWindow(“”);

Issue No.2. Selenium does not trigger event on changing values
Solution: Selenium does not trigger event on changing values so we have to explicitly trigger the event using fireEvent,

selenium.FireEvent(cmbCategory, “onchange”);
Here, cmbCategory is object on which you want to fire event & onchange is the name of event.

Issue No.3. Synchronization issue leading to timeout
Solution:
For this type of scenario I created a function ‘CheckElementPresent’ which will take object locator as parameter & will return true once object is visible.

CheckElementPresent(btnSubmit)
Here, I have used selenium.IsElementPresent(locator) to verify object is present in for loop with Thread.Sleep

Issue No.4. Handling SSL certificates
Solution: Many times we face issue in SSL certificates for selenium tests. We can handle this issue by using –trustAllSSLCertificates & firefox profiles as shown below,
a. For browser other than firefox
Use following command to start selenium server, this will start selenium server which trust all SSL certificates.
C: > java -jar c:\Selenium\selenium-server2.14.0.jar. –trustAllSSLCertificates
b. For Firefox browser
Create a new firefox profile (steps to create profile – http://support.mozilla.org/en-US/kb/profile-manager-create-and-remove-firefox-profiles)
And accept SSL Certificate using same profile. Now, use the same profile while running selenium server using following command,

C:> java -jar c:\Selenium\selenium-server2.14.0.jar. -firefoxProfileTemplate /C:\Selenium\ Profile

Here were some issues that I faced and the solutions I came up with. Please share any other solutions you know of for the above issues. Also please share other issues that you faced and if possible provide the solutions that you came up with. Happy testing! 

Hemant Jadhav | Senior Consultant | ZenTest Labs

Automating data migration testing

I had the opportunity to be a part of data migration project recently. I was involved in automated data migration testing, which I found it to be a very exciting and challenging form of testing.  I wanted to share my learning’s in this post.

During conversion or migration projects, data from the legacy or source systems is extracted, transformed and loaded into the target system. This is called as the ETL process. The data needs to be transformed as the data model of any two systems is different. As a standard practice the data transformations are managed in the data mapping document, which forms the basis for development as well as testing.

Testing the migrated data is usually a critical and challenging aspect. Testing the migrated data manually is a very time consuming process and so automated data validation is a good way to go ahead.

In my latest project, data from two source systems was migrated to target system. The data from the source systems’ UI was compared with the data from target system’s UI, since we did not have access to the database. Data migration was performed based on incremental loading approach to ensure cent per cent verification. The approach was to load small subsets of data every week for verification. This type of a process was a perfect solution to client’s challenges as in the event of any mismatch only that specific subset of data could be reversed.

I am also listing some of the key challenges we overcame during the course of the project

  1. We had to create scripts that could read source values and the use field level mapping rules to calculate the expected results at the destination. This had to be done because the mappings between the fields of the source system and the target system were different; i.e., both systems had their own structure
  2. We had to verify values at the target system as some extra fields were present in it leading to a mismatch with the source system
  3. We had to read the data on the target system to verify as some amount of data in the source system was in a CSV format with header changes for each customer column
  4. We also created a strong log generation mechanism that generated a result for every iteration. It also went onto ensure that when any mismatch occurs not only field name mismatches are captured but also values get captured
  5. The results also included the time taken to execute each record
  6. To counter the fact that most of the data migration was done in files of XML tab separated formats, we had to generate the input file for automation in excel format

We also went onto to create a customized data migration automation testing framework (illustrated below) to overcome these challenges which lead to a successful project.

Have any of you worked on such projects? Would love to hear some of your experiences.

Anand Gharge | Test Manager | Zen Test Labs

Implementing Object Repository in Selenium

Selenium (http://seleniumhq.org/) has now emerged as one of the top contenders to take on QTP in the test automation tools space. Our teams at Zen Test Labs (www.zentestlabs.com) were one of the early adopters of this automation tool and have built up a decent level of expertise in automating test scripts using selenium. We recently also presented a tutorial on this topic at STARWEST, California in October 2011.

While both tools have their advantages and disadvantages, object repositories are one area that I have found to be important but not supported by Selenium. An object repository is a centralized place for storing properties of objects available in the application under test (AUT) to be used in scripts. QTP comes with its own object repository where one can record and store objects.

Over the course of a recent project I have tried to implement object repository in and it worked really well. I am listing below, how I went about doing this.

1. Create an interface of a name you want to give to your object repository as follows,
Interface ObjectRepository
{
// Now here you can store properties of the object in variable
Static String ddCategory = “id=ctl00_MainContent_ddlCategory”;
Static String btnSave = “”id=ctl00_MainContent_btnSave””;
}

2. Implement the interface into your class and you are good to use objects in your functions
Class TestLibrary implements ObjectRepository
{
public String testFuntion()
{
//here you can your object to perform actions or validations
selenium.select(ddCategory, “Testing”);
if (selenium.isElementPresent(btnSave)
selenium.click(btnSave);
}

}
In the above example, I have implemented it in java and have also tried it in C#. Thus, using OOPS concepts I feel that this can be implemented in any object oriented language supported by Selenium.
What is important to note is that one can also connect to excel or any database and store values. Thus in the event of changes in the application or changes in properties of any object; a simple change in the excel file or DB will reflect across all instances of the object.

Some of the advantages of doing this include:

1. Easily maintain your tests or components when an object in your application changes
2. Manage all the objects for a suite of tests or components in one central location
3. Code becomes more readable & easy to write when user defined objects name are used instead of complex and long property name & value.

These have been some of the approaches that have worked for me and my learning’s. Would be great to get to know other people’s experiences in implementing object repositories within Selenium

Hemant Jadhav | Senior Consultant | ZenTest Labs