Introduction to IBM Rational Functional Tester 7.0

The IBM Rational Functional Tester tool automates testing Java, .NET, and Web-based applications. Starting with Version 7.0, it includes support extensions for both Siebel and SAP, plus integration with IBM Rational ClearQuest, support for the Eclipse Test and Performance Tools Platform (TPTP) logs, and support for testing HTML applications with Mozilla Firefox. This article explains these new features and capabilities.

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Michael Kelly (Mike@MichaelDKelly.com), Consultant, www.MichaelDKelly.com

Michael Kelly is currently an independent consultant and provides custom training in the IBM Rational testing tools. He consults, writes, and speaks on topics in software testing. He is currently serving as the Program Director for the Indianapolis Quality Assurance Association and is a Director at Large for the Association for Software Testing. He can be reached by email at Mike@MichaelDKelly.com.



05 December 2006

Also available in Chinese

Most likely, you're already familiar with IBM® Rational® Functional Tester. If not, here's the quick overview: Rational Functional Tester is an object-oriented, automated testing tool that enables you to test a variety of applications. You can quickly generate scripts by recording tests against an application, and you can test any object in the application, including the object's properties and data.

Rational Functional Tester offers you a choice of scripting languages and two development environments: Java™ in the Eclipse framework or Microsoft® Visual Basic® .NET in the Microsoft® Visual Studio® development system. This means that, regardless of the language or platform that your development staff uses, you should be able to integrate Rational Functional Tester with them and leverage some of their functionality as you develop automated tests.

This article reviews some of the new features in Rational Functional Tester v7.0, as it is implemented in the Java™ environment. However, if you use Microsoft® .NET, it's basically the same.

Note: The author used Version 7.0.0 of the IBM Rational Functional Tester automation tool, the Microsoft® Windows® XP Professional operating system (SP2), and Mozilla Firefox V1.5 while writing this article, although Rational software works with other operating systems and browsers, as well.

What's new

The two major new features in Rational Functional Tester v7.0 are the support extensions for both Siebel 7.8 and SAP. There are also several other noteworthy additions and changes:

  • Integration with IBM® Rational® ClearQuest® TestManager
  • Support for Microsoft .NET Framework 2.0
  • Support for Eclipse Test and Performance Tools Platform (TPTP) logs
  • Process advice from the IBM® Rational® Process Advisor
  • Support for testing HTML applications with Mozilla Firefox 2.0

In addition to these Rational Functional Tester updates, there are also upgrades to the Java development tools included in the 3.2 release of Eclipse.


Siebel and SAP support

The Siebel support enables you to capture and play back GUI-level interactions using Siebel object models and events. You can also perform property and data verification points on Siebel custom components for Siebel 7.7 and 7.8. In addition, Rational Functional Tester includes a Siebel Automation Framework, which allows you to create functional test scripts without using the recorder or the object map. You can develop test scripts based on known screen definitions in Siebel using the framework.

The SAP framework support enables Rational Functional Tester to record and play back scripts against the SAP UI and to verify data in SAP controls. The support is built on top of SAP's GUI scripting framework and exposes all of the scripting capabilities provided by SAP. Rational Functional Tester supports testing of SAP R/3 versions 4.6 and 4.7 through the SAP GUI, running on Microsoft Windows. The currently supported versions of SAP GUI are 6.20 (with patch level 52 or more) and 6.40.


Integration with IBM Rational ClearQuest

The release of IBM® Rational® ClearQuest® Version 7.0 heralds a significant strategy shift in the IBM Rational approach to test management. Before this release, test management functionality was provided by IBM® Rational® TestManager, which included test planning, test execution, and test result analysis.

Beginning with the 7.0 release, ClearQuest also handles test management. ClearQuest provides the same core functionality available in Rational TestManager but extends it with features that address the challenges of the modern QA organization. This new feature offer several benefits:

  • Web interface
  • Eclipse integration
  • Tighter defect integration
  • Enterprise-level database support
  • More powerful reporting
  • Query capabilities for regulatory compliance through eSignatures and AuditTrails
  • Support for geographically distributed test teams, using IBM® Rational® ClearQuest® MultiSite

Brian Bryson has written a detailed IBM® developerWorks® tutorial on the topic, titled "Run and Analyze Software Tests with Rational ClearQuest Test Management" (see Resources). For more on this new feature (and there is more), be sure to check out that tutorial.


Support for Microsoft .NET Framework 2.0

Rational Functional Tester supports recording and playback of user applications built using the Microsoft® .NET™ Framework 1.0 or 1.1 and Microsoft® Win32® controls. It also supports testing these controls in a Microsoft .NET Framework 2.0 platform, including recording and testing applications that contain DataGridView and MaskedTextBox controls.


Support for Eclipse Test and Performance Tools Platform (TPTP) logs

The Eclipse Test and Performance Tools Platform (TPTP) provides a comprehensive data collection framework that helps write, deploy, and collect data from remote or local data collection agents. You can group data collection agents according to the type of data that the agent can collect and according to those that are associated with a set of workbench views that display this data in a meaningful format. TPTP provides a group of views in the Profiling and Logging view, so you can see the large and varying statistical data that these agents collect. The views that are related to the collection of statistical data and control of statistical agents are the Profiling Monitor, Statistical Graph, Statistical Graph Summaries, and Agent Control views.

Ok, so what does that all mean? Well, it really means is you now have a common logging format. TPTP attempts to provide some consistency across a range of target platforms. There are two great presentations on TPTP from EclipseCon 2005 that go into greater detail on what TPTP is and what it does for you (see Resources).


Using the IBM Rational Process Advisor and the Process Browser

With Rational Functional Tester v7, you can get process guidance with a set of integrated features and content called the IBM® Rational® Process Advisor. The Rational Process Advisor captures many of the more recent practices in software development that are now commonly used and presents them in a form suitable for a wide range of projects and organizations. The two easiest ways to access this information are in the Process Advisor view and the Process Browser window.

The Process Advisor view

To launch the Process Advisor view, select Help > Process Advisor. The view (see Figure 1) appears at the bottom of your workspace (it takes a little time to load the first time).

Figure 1. The Process Advisor view
Figure 1. The Process Advisor view

The Process Advisor view provides contextual process guidance, thus it is based on the task at hand. Clicking a link opens the topic content in the Process Browser window.

The Process Browser window

To launch the Process Browser window, you can either select Help > Process Browser, or you can select a topic in the Process Advisor view. (See Figure 2.)

Figure 2. The Process Browser window
Figure 2. The Process Browser window

The Process Browser window displays the full set of process content from the installed process configuration. You can navigate to topics by using any of three tabs: Process Views, Search Results, and Index. (If you are familiar with the IBM® Rational Unified Process® Web site that used to ship with the products, the Process Browser will familiar to you.) The Process View is the hierarchical set of process elements that you see in the process content tree display. It is associated with a particular role or a major category.


For more information or help

If you want a more detailed walkthrough of recording and playing back a script, read the Getting Started with Functional Tester Cheat Sheet under Help > Cheat Sheets. Also, be sure to take the time to work through Brian Bryson's tutorial, "Run and Analyze Software Tests with Rational ClearQuest Test Management" (see Resources). And don't forget: You can always get help in the Functional and GUI Testing forum on developerWorks (also listed in Resources).

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