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Image-based testing for ATMs and new device categories

SciFi worlds from the 1980s always included super powerful, intelligent, computers that you could talk to. By the late 90s the vision had moved on to worlds where _everything_ is a computer and connected; maybe even us! And it’s this ubiquitous computing that I think is the most exciting and interesting part of technology.

New device categories

I like to think that TestPlant plays a role in this story by helping people test new device categories and existing device categories becoming ‘smart’. Connected cars, vending machines, drones, washing machines, and payment systems – eggPlant tools are used to test all these devices. It’s a perfect example of the strengths of image-based testing that we’ve been able to test the GUIs on all these systems (and we are focussed here on the GUI testing) without any modification of eggPlant Functional.

There are three reasons image-based testing (and eggPlant Functional) is able to easily test all these new device categories:

  • Technology independent. Different device categories typically run different software stacks. Operating systems (OS) are becoming more standard, but there are still many choices of OS for ’embedded’ devices, and even the standard ones (e.g. Linux and WinCE) are often heavily customised. At the UI framework level most new device categories are completely bespoke. So the fact that image-based testing doesn’t care _at all_ about the underlying implementation technology is key.
  • System-level events. Most test tools inject events directly into the application being tested, but image-based testing (or at least eggPlant Functional) injects events at the system level. This may sound like a technical detail, but it is very important. It means that the testing tool can inject events it knows nothing about. The testing tool doesn’t need to know how many hardware buttons a particular ATM has and it doesn’t need to know the details of a ‘card inserted’ event on a payment system. So the testing tool can test systems it hasn’t seen before without modification.
  • Two-system model. Image-based testing tends to favour a ‘two-system model’, i.e. the testing tool runs on a separate computer to the system-under-test. Most test tools assume that the testing software is running on the system-under-test (mobile testing tools are all two-system model). Obviously you’re not going to port the testing tool to a washing machine, so testing new device categories almost always requires a ‘two-system model’ and so image-based testing is a natural approach.

My favourite example from this year is testing ATMs (cash machines) – we’ve worked on several projects to help banks automate the testing of ATMs. They may not sound like the newest of devices, but ATMs are becoming much ‘smarter’ as they become one of the most common touch-points between banks and their consumers.

ATM testing with eggPlant Functional

How can eggPlant Functional test an ATM? For connectivity we use a KVM-IP switch (link). This is a standard hardware device that plugs into the standard I/O ports of the ATM, exports the display, can raise button-press events, and can raise touch screen events. The KVM-IP switch includes a VNC server which means that eggPlant Functional can connect to and control the KVM-IP device and hence the ATM. From there eggPlant Functional simply behaves as normal, it can see the screen, it can read balances and other information, it can press buttons, and it can tap the screen. That’s it! The tester doesn’t need to know any technical details of the ATM, they just need to know how to use an ATM, and if they are familiar with eggPlant Functional they can immediately start creating automated tests.

So if you are testing new device categories try image-based testing (LINK)


Simplify with image-based testing… the eggPlant way

Software testing can be complex. Just think about how many different types of testing there are, from functional and performance testing, to load and stress testing; from regression testing, to integration and system testing. On top of this complexity, all of these tests can be conducted manually or through automated testing. Ultimately, all of these testing methodologies have a single goal: Producing a polished final product.

Here’s where eggPlant comes in. Read more…

Summer Reception 2015

Thank you to everyone who joined us at our annual Summer Reception in London.

A perfect evening on the balcony with a great mix of people from all over, British drinks and a delicious selection of canapés – we definitely enjoyed ourselves!

Here are some pictures from the night. Thank you to Kat Green for capturing the celebration so beautifully.  Read more…

Test a smartwatch? With eggPlant, we can.

It is surprisingly easy to get the Samsung Gear working with eggPlant Functional.

I know you’re probably wondering how eggPlant can connect to the new Samsung Gear smartwatch when our VNC server eggOn requires a key to be entered through a keyboard, which the watch doesn’t have. This is because you’re thinking of our original VNC server eggOn, which is installed on the device through a download from the internet, and then licensed using a manually entered key. Read more…

Digital banking, testing everything from cheque scanning to ATMs

NOTE: Over the next few weeks we will be hosting several webinars to show how we used eggPlant tools to address these challenges in major US and UK banks. Please register now!

Consumer banking is now a digital business. Over 65% of people in the USA and UK do all their banking on-line and over 40% regularly use mobile banking (based on data from Pew Research Center). Earlier this year Charter Savings Bank opened as the UK’s first digital-only bank. So while “digital transformation” is one of 2015’s leading buzzwords, it seems to me that Read more…

Guest article: integrating AppTracker with eggPlant

Wondering what AppTracker is? Here’s a quick brief from the AppTracker website: “AppTracker was created in response to the ever-increasing complexity of managing the application estate and user-base. Our solution provides a collaborative workflow management tool that enables you to examine and maintain your current estate, as well as offering analysis and recommendation on what your future estate should look like. AppTracker provides a plan on how to reach your goals quickly and efficiently and the tools to monitor and report on progress.”

Ben Cook, Senior Product Specialist at AppTracker, writes about how his team integrated AppTracker with eggPlant for streamlined application lifecycle management. Read more…

Solving the problem of online travel performance testing

This month, we’ve been talking about how to test complex online retail websites; specifically, we’ve been talking about testing travel websites, both here on our blog and in a recurring webinar on “performance testing online travel”. If you didn’t have a chance to attend the first iteration of this webinar, we’ll be hosting it again next week. It’s your last chance! Read more about it on our Events and webinars page, or register now.

Why did we select online travel websites? There are a few different reasons Read more…

Testing complex retail websites in the on-line travel industry

Retail is increasingly web and mobile; on-line sales totalled $300B in the U.S. and $285B in the EU. Retailers’ web sites and apps are now absolutely mission critical. They must be user-friendly, fast, provide the right functionality, and work! Every time in any environment. My favourite data point for the on-line retail industry was published by Amazon – a 100ms increase in the response time of their website reduces revenue by 1%. Quality directly impacts revenue. Read more…

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We recently conducted the last in our series of webinars on the challenges of mobile testing, and how eggPlant Functional and related tools in the eggPlant range can address those challenges. This most recent webinar was all about testing your mobile app under different network conditions. This is a critical element of testing mobiles app both from a performance/UX and functional perspective, but it’s one which very few teams are equipped for. Read more…

Mobile apps need performance testing too

The third webinar in our series on the challenges of mobile testing was all about performance testing, and it’s important to say what we mean by that because the term “performance testing” is used in many different ways. Read more…