Mercury Interactive unveils application testing tool

In an effort to reduce the cycle time between application design and testing and when the application is put into production, Mercury Interactive introduced this week Mercury Business Process Testing. The application will be part of the Mercury Quality Center suite of applications.

According to Mathew Morgan, director of products for Quality Center Automation at Mercury, Mercury's new component is the first to allow business users to be involved in the testing of automated business processes for new applications, as well as testing for quality assurance for upgrades and patches.

"This is the first time that business people are active participants in validating that the software will work as they want it to work," said Morgan.

The software works by providing the users of the software an interface to see all the screens of the application and allows them to enter data in order to ensure the process is doing what it is supposed to be doing.

Rather than requiring knowledge of scripting to test an application, the solution comes with pre-packaged building blocks that can be exposed in terms of drag-and-drop elements to create screens.

"It has a natural language abstraction layer, so users can declare pretty much what they want," said Morgan.

Analyst Theresa Lanowitz, research director at Gartner Inc., said the fact that Mercury is one of the first to have this idea is good but the important news of the day is that business users no longer have to wait for a solid GUI to be put in before they can do thorough testing.

"That was always a problem because the GUI was the last thing to be done," said Lanowitz.

Lanowitz also said the Business Processing Testing component will allow users to create reusable assets to give off to other people who are involved in the life cycle testing.

The Web-based environment also allows users anywhere to share assets and build test cases through a browser.

With Sarbanes-Oxley compliance looming, Morgan also said the sleeper hit of the product is a tool that automatically generates a Word document that documents every step of the business process that was tested. This can eliminate the need to manually write out hundreds of pages of documentation to track and validate the business flow as required by the SEC regulations.

Mercury also is partnering with TurnKey Solutions, best practice methodology consultants, for subject matter expertise. An Oracle 11i solution is available now, and within six to 12 months PeopleSoft, SAP, and Siebel Systems solutions will be available, according to Morgan.

Mercury Business Process Testing is shipping now.

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