Exploring Agile Testing Days 2019

One of TTC’s Lead Consultants, Nate Custer has a passion for new technology and process improvement. Always on the lookout for fresh ideas, he attended the Agile Testing Days conference in Chicago recently and came away impressed with the growing number of quality test tools available.

  • Nate Custer
  • 4 July 2019

One of my favourite parts of attending conferences like Agile Testing Days is getting to learn about new tools and ideas being used across the market. I usually try to pick one that excites me and dive into it, but this year’s Agile Testing Days impressed me so much that I couldn’t pick just one. So, in no particular order, here are three tools that were new to me that I’ll be looking into in the future:

Applitools

Applitools is deceptively simple; wouldn’t it be great if we could record pictures of our product as it’s being tested and compare it to the last version? We would be able to catch all the visual and layout bugs that traditional functional automated tests miss.

If you’ve had to manually click through all the pages to check a product, you’ve probably dreamed of a tool like Applitools. It compares screenshots of a baseline of what your application should look like with images of your tests, and highlights differences that you should investigate. Part of what makes Applitools interesting to me is it’s a complementary tool that adds an additional dimension to testing.

Eight years ago I worked on an internal QA tools team that tried building a similar solution. We made a working prototype, gave it to the test team to use and quickly learned that the challenge isn’t to capture the images or do basic comparisons – it’s to sift the valid defects from all the noise. When I discussed this with the Applitools team they were able to explain how they handle the signal vs noise problem and had interesting methods for dealing with this and other challenges.

I’ll be watching and thinking about where to give Applitools a try. Hopefully it lives up to its promises!

FortressAPI

API testing is a crucial and growing part of many companies’ testing processes, especially with the rise of microservice architectures. Fortress API focuses exclusively on API testing and offers the ability to handle logic and response details for a number of calls, one after another. This lets you use API testing not just for segments of code but for a more complex logic flow (like an integration or functional test). It also collects a number of performance measurements and offers dashboards to highlight basic performance issues earlier in the SDLC.

If your company is struggling with scaling Postman or other API testing frameworks, I would check out FortressAPI.

Inflectra

As a software testing professional, I work in a number of different tools on any given job. These typically include tools for test management, test automation, defect tracking, agile planning, lifecycle management, CI/CD, etc. For most companies, there are two broad approaches to selecting a suite of tools; focus on integrating the best of breed for each segment or compare stacks from large software vendors that sell already-integrated tools for all different parts of the SDLC.

Inflectra caught my attention as it offers this kind of full stack with the ability to test web, API and native desktop applications. This differentiates Inflectra from most open source solutions. Given the breath of its tooling, a much more detailed dive is required before I’d make firm recommendations to a client – but the Inflectra toolset (and particularly its Rapise test automation tool) will be on my backlog for further exploration.