Over at our QualityManager brother blog (broblog?), one of the most popular articles is “What is Rational Quality Manager” and “How do I get started“. It’s one of those obvious things in hindsight. The article is based on the fact that the two most popular questions about Rational Quality Manager are “What is Rational Quality Manager” and “How do I get started”. So it only follows that an article that addresses a popular question will be a popular article. It made me wonder why I haven’t written a “What is Rational Functional Tester” and “How Do I Get Started”? article.
Accordingly, I present for your perusal today my thoughts on “What is Rational Functional Tester” and “How Do I Get Started”.
First of all, “What is Rational Functional Tester”. From the Rational Functional Tester website:
Rational Functional Tester is an automated functional testing and regression testing tool. Provides testers with automated testing capabilities for functional testing, regression testing, GUI testing and data-driven testing.
Which, is actually not a bad definition. I guess to simplify, I’d say Rational Functional Tester is a tool you use to automate functional regression testing. With Rational Functional Tester you capture and create automated tests whose main purpose is to ensure that what used to work, still does work. This type of tool becomes most useful if you are on a software delivery team that is continually updating your software and you need a way to keep running a core batch of tests. Instead of manually having to go through and perform all the actions, you capture a test once using the tool and then from that point on the tool does the playback. Typically, you’d group a whole series of tests into a suite, and run them day and night to ensure no regressions have slipped in.
To answer the “How do I get started with IBM Rational Functional Tester” question, I would suggest three simple steps:
The first two items will give you everything you need to know in the shortest amount of time. The demo walks you though a basic scenario of how Rational Functional Tester would be used by a quality management team. The datasheet should (hopefully) answer any questions you have about the details of the tool. Total time investment at this point is about 15 minutes.
Then, I’d jump to the trial. The trial is a much more significant time investment, but it’s the only way to know if the tool is right for you. You get 30 days, from the time of installation, to try Rational Functional Tester out in your environment, against your application. If you’re stuck, it includes support, so you can call 24×7 for help. IBM will even send out a technical representative to help you if you’d like. The IBM technical representatives will help you install the tool, create your few tests and give you a few pointers on how to be successful with the tool. All free.
If you want more info, IBM provides a Rational Functional Tester eKit. This eKit has all the above links, plus a few more whitepapers and a handy ROI Calculator. The ROI calculator in particular is useful for figuring out if Rational Functional Tester is right for you from an investment standpoint. It will give you a ballpark estimate of the savings you’ll generate through regression testing. It’s an estimate only, of course, but it will give you a ball park idea of what you’re looking at in terms of ROI.