Rob Kuijt's Testing Blog
Model Based Testing (part 1) 
Sunday, June 27, 2010, 08:11 AM - ALM, Quality, Testing, TMap®
Posted by Rob Kuijt
Model Based Testing is a powerful concept for testing information systems, from which, despite the increasing complexity, more quality and flexibility is expected. It is a methodology that fits well with companies with experience in structured design and testing. Model Based Testing will also support and lower the threshold for companies who want to make a first step towards improving their test basis towards a better, faster and cheaper test process.

The core of Model Based Testing is the use of tools to first, create the actual design and secondly to compare the simulation of the process and predicted outcome of the test generation with the requirements at an earliest possible stage. Thus, the various "paths" through the procedures / processes including related business rules are tested and checked much earlier.
Subsequently, automatic test generation creates efficient and reliable high quality test cases which excel in compactness and low cost.

Model Based Testing helps to improve the overall development process: the impact of demands and wishes becomes clear in a fast manner, design errors are found at an early stage, debugging code caused by wrong assumptions and interpretations decreases and reuse of designs in new projects is easier.
In short, developers achieve greater results in less time and at lower cost.

The tools needed to support Model Based Testing are available and are developing rapidly based on the experience of cutting edge companies like Sogeti. It becomes increasingly easy for companies to make the choice and take advantage of Model Based Testing.

Rob Kuijt

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History of Test Automation 
Sunday, January 10, 2010, 09:44 PM - Testing, TMap®
Posted by Rob Kuijt
Test Automation is the use of software to control the execution of tests, the comparison of actual outcomes to predicted outcomes, the setting up of test preconditions, test design, and other test control and test reporting functions. Commonly, test automation involves automating a manual process already in place that uses a formalized testing process. (Wikipedia)

Working with Model-Based Testing I get many questions on “Test Automation”. To be honest, around a year ago, I could not answer them at all. After a year playing with “test industrialization” my knowledge is better. But still, especially the timeline (“when was a specific type of test tooling introduced”) was a gap in my mind. An overview: “History of Test Automation” would be very practical.

On internet, I couldn’t find the complete Test Automation timeline I needed, so I started creating one…

Inspired by the powerpoint slides: “Generations of Test Automation” by dr Mark Utting, I made a slide show (kind of e-learning component) which gives an overview how the (automating of the) test process did evolve since the 1940's.
I created some nice graphics, added some definitions and expanded the presentation with more detailed slides and background information from TMap®, Wikipedia, James Bach, William E. Lewis, Gunasekaran Veerapillai and Marvin Niven (thanks guys!) and uploaded the slide show/e-learning component for future use…

Interested? See “History of Test Automation

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Test Case Design: Manually or Automated? 
Sunday, December 20, 2009, 07:42 AM - Quality, Testing, TMap®
Posted by Rob Kuijt
There are several tools that can help with the creation of test cases. So why don't we succeed in automating the Test Cases Design Process? In this short article I will explain that, if test collaborates with design, we can make huge progress on this topic!

4 Examples of Test Case Design
Let’s imagine a business process that is documented by the design team on one page. Test will create the test cases. In the first example the description is done in plain text. In that case it is not possible to automate the test, and also it is not possible to use a formal test specification technique:

Example 1: Test Design from plain text: many interpretations and assumptions...

Creating test cases from plain text may look easy, but when you ask 5 test engineers to create the test cases you get 5 different sets without any insight in the quality of the coverage.
Choosing the process flow diagram technique for describing the business process, will result in less interpretations and assumptions, therefore in much better test cases:

Example 2: Manual Test Design: Process Cycle Test (TMap®)

The advantage of formal Test Case Design techniques like Process Cycle Test (PCT) is that it can be automated! How? The first step of deriving test cases with PCT, is to identify the paths and path combinations within the process flow diagram. Step 2: Instead of manually combining those path combinations to test cases, the path combinations (joined with a short description) can be inserted in a Test Design Tool. Step 3: The test cases are generated. Comparing with manual test case design: much faster; less knowledge is needed, but you need a tool* (license):

Example 3: Using a Test Design Tool: much Faster!

Most of the time, designers make these process flow diagrams in modeling tools (like MsVisio, Protos, Aris, BiZZdesigner,..). A common feature of the modeling tools is exporting the models in XML-format. Model Based Testing tools* do read XML! So, let’s skip all manual steps and generate test cases directly from the process flow diagram:

Example 4: Model Based Test Case Design

Model Based Test Tools* can generate test cases within minutes. Of course, before using the test cases you must do a sanity check to confirm the tool understood the model correctly but nevertheless the time can’t be beaten manually.

Test Case Design can be automated (I’m already working with these tooling on a daily basis).
But, besides getting the right tool(s), there is an important condition: the Test Base must have a minimum level of quality.
For instance: instead of describing business processes in plain text, they should be specified with the help of activity diagrams or process flow diagrams (and that is not (yet) common knowledge within the design processes). To get an automated Test Design process, let’s join the forces: Together, Design and Test can make projects much faster and cheaper!

*) Example of a Test Design/Model Based Testing Tool I personally often use: STaaS/COVER (Sogeti Netherlands)

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ALM and MBT 
Monday, October 19, 2009, 07:08 PM - ALM, Testing
Posted by Rob Kuijt
Both ALM (Application Lifecycle Management) and MBT (Model Based Testing) are hot. I'm pretty busy running from customer to customer starting/supporting MBT proof of concepts and assignments. With some explanation all my contacts are convinced that the combination of ALM and MBT is THE roadmap for the future.

The advantages of ALM can already be implemented by choosing for the new generation of tools of Microsoft (VSTS2010) and IBM (JAZZ etc.) are presenting to strongly support the collaboration of the different roles in and around the ICT. Model Based Testing has not yet that same level of maturity. Most participants in the Model Based Testing world are very ambitious: They try to Generate Test Cases for direct automatic execution, based on test specific models.

I think this is a bridge to far for most companies using for instance mainly ERP-software. In the ERP-scope most of the testing is still done manually, and jumping to this ultimate form of Model Based Testing (Generate Test Cases for direct automatic execution) will be very tricky and/or costly. That's why we (Sogeti) are introducing also a basic form of Model Based Testing (STaaS/COVER), using the same models as the developers do.

"MBT: ...a bridge to far..."

MBT: Generate Test Cases for direct automatic execution
Does this mean that Generating automated tests is a dead end? NO! It is a very good approach for testing high risk functionalities, which are to risky or to complex to test manually.
Making test specific models is a costly business and top designers/test engineers are needed to make it work. So be sure to pinpoint these heavy coverage and tooling only on the high risk areas. AND!! Do not try to make the test specific models in the Testing Silo! Look for collaboration with the design department to get these test specific models in the same configuration mnagement as the models the devlopers use to build the software. Preferably in an "ALM Center Configuration Management".

MBT-basic: Using the same models as the developers do
On the other hand, when the ambition of Model Based Testing is lowered to only generating the test cases, it is a complete different story. Especially the generation of the (more global) logical test cases can be done from the same (functional and/or requirement) models the developers use as a bases for creating the software. For instance process flows (activity diagrams), decision tables and pseudo code are a perfect basis for generating (logical) test cases.
Enrichment of these models (in collaboration with the design department) will bring us to the next step: Generating the physical test cases. In that case the Test Cases are no longer Configuration Items (costly maintenance!) but Test Cases become Work Items (if desired: directly generated from the same models the developers use to build the software).

Rob Kuijt

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ALM: the end of the whispering game 
Saturday, October 17, 2009, 08:35 PM - ALM, Quality, Fun
Posted by Rob Kuijt
Who don't know the whispering game? For me it was one of my favourite games in my childhood. Whispering a tricky word in the ear of the child next to you and waiting for the twisted result at the end of the cycle....

Nowadays not only children do play this game. In the ICT world practically everyone is playing this game. Only they invented a new name for it: The Waterfall Model .

ALM (Application Lifecycle Management) makes an end to the twisted results of this widely implemented whispering game. Instead of working in Silos with their own project and configuration management, in ALM the requirement, workflow and configuration management is organized in the center of the process. So everybody is working on the same artifacts.

In ALM everbody is working on the same artifacts. No whispering risks at all.. ;-)

And from my archive..
Some famous twisted results of the whispering game:

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