Book Review: Software Test Engineering with IBM Rational Functional Tester
Posted by Matt Archer on January 27, 2010
Like many others testers, I regularly incorporate IBM Rational Functional Tester (once known as XDE Tester) into my test automation repertoire. For those of you that aren’t familiar with the tool, Rational Functional Tester (often abbreviated to RFT) is a GUI-level test automation tool that can be used to automate the functional testing of both Windows and Web based applications. If you’re interested, more information can be found on the official IBM Rational website here.
To accompany the tool, IBM Press have recently published a book entitled “Software Test Engineering with IBM Rational Functional Tester”. The authors have left no stone unturned in their feature by feature discussion of the tool’s abilities, which undoubtedly makes it worthy of its tagline – “The Definitive Resource”.
As an experienced user I found myself skipping pages in the early chapters, but it’s not long before the book arrives at the juicer topics, including handling unsupported objects, testing specialised applications (SAP, Siebel, Flex, etc) and using RFT within a Linux environment.
For those new to RFT I would follow the authors’ advice and not attempt a cover to cover read. The first few chapters will provide a new user with everything they need to know to get started and be productive. The remainder of the 600+ pages can then be dipped into as necessary.
My favourite part of the book is the script samples that are scattered throughout every chapter. Like any automated testing tool, sometimes the best solution is to hand-craft all or part of your script. It is at this point that the average tester (myself included) typically turns to Google with the hope of finding a similar example. I can remember spending hours looking for information on how best to query a database, connect to excel and extract data from a PDF. All of these topics are covered in the book with examples, along with many others.
Your local bookshop / website should have no problem getting you a copy if you’re interested. For those members of the BCS Special Interest Group in Software Testing (SiGIST), you can also borrow a copy for free from the SiGIST Library.