Posted by: Brian | March 18, 2010

“What is Rational Functional Tester” and “How Do I Get Started”?

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:

  1. Watch the demo
  2. Read the datasheet
  3. Download the trial

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.



  1. it is a good product, i downloaded it from jazz website, it is really suited for our teams’ test style.

  2. Hi,

    We are planning to buy RFT (Rational Functional Tester), before that I wanted to do feasibility check with my application. My application is a combination of UNIX and progress, not sure how it’s going to work with this type of applications.

    I have the following questions

    1. Is RFT supports the terminal based applications (Mouse will not work , operation only possible with the Control keys)?
    2. What is the difference between RFT and Rational Robot Automation Framework?
    3. We have some scripts developed in RRAFs. Is it possible to convert RRAF scripts to RFT?

    Please advice.

    Thank you

    • 1. Yes – RFT supports terminal based apps. We provide a terminal emulator that has been instrumented for RFT, and it captures all keystrokes
      2. RFT is our Java based functional testing tool. The RRAF was a framework used with Rational Robot. The framework offered an alternative way of creating scripts – where you would “code” script actions in a spread sheet in a high level language (ie: click here, test that, check this) and then Robot would read the spreadsheet and execute the actions.
      3. Not sure on that one – theoretically possible, but would require coding so that RFT could interpret the spreadsheet. I know there are some frameworks that can handle both.

      • I have installed the ‘Extension for Terminal based Application’ and trying to record the script using ‘Extension for Terminal based Application’ option.

        Here are the steps for the error :

        1. Hit Record button.
        2. Click ‘Start Application’ on the tool bar.
        3. Choose ‘Extension for Terminal based Application’ option and hit ‘OK’ button.
        4. After clicking on the ‘OK’ button, getting an error “Could not find the main class: Program will exit.”
        Please advise.

  3. Error “Could not find the main class: Program will exit” got resolved.

    I am able to record and rerun the script.

    Trying to parameterise the script , but RFT is not reading the object properties properly since it’s a terminal based application.

    Not able to parameterise, please advise.

  4. Good.

  5. Hello,

    I am working on a task order to add a Tester to our team that has experience with Rational Functional Tester. It seems even though RFT has been out and released since 2004 that most people are using Rational Robot and have only heard of RFT. What industries primarily are using RFT? What other automation testing tools are used in conjunction with RFT? This is an important resource need on our team.

    Thank you,


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