Test Automation Framework For Accurate And Precise Student Platform Operation
Follet Corporation, a well-known and respectable education management company, has been figuring in history since 1873. Starting from the used books store, Follett turned into a powerful and innovative provider of multiple education products for schools, colleges, public libraries. The Company greatly assists educators in learning their students and preparing them for personal growth, developing their own career path.
Follett Corporation applied to Forte Group to conduct quality assurance and testing for one of the products – Follett Aspen Student Information System.
This is a centralized platform for hosting and managing students data, like class schedules, student performance, health records, events, and much more. Follett Aspen SIS is all-in-one system that allows to manage information about teachers, grades, students, demographics, attendance, conduct, schedule.
Provide flawless Aspen SIS operation
Improve end-user workflow
Create new and optimize existing automated test frame
Receive comprehensive report on executed tests
Follett Aspen Student Information System consists of multiple features for educators, students, parents. Forte Group quality assurance and testing team has figured out the following product fields that require various tasks accomplishment:
Student registration wizard
Teacher’s grade book
All these product features require deep quality assurance and test automation in order to achieve flawless product operation. Also, one of the challenges was the fact that Follett Aspen already had a few hundreds of automated tests that turned to be unstable and clear only for tech savvy experts. All these require deep investigation and comprehensive test automation framework development.
Developed Core Application Program Interface for Test Automation Framework
Initially, Forte Group redesigned the existing automation framework in accordance to the user interface of Follett Aspen SIS. We substituted generic code with separate layer in accordance to the user interface of the platform. Apart from this, Forte Group QA and testing team created sophisticated use-cases that operated under conditions when the same product entity was modified or used in multiple places within the same flow.
Accomplished Logging And Reporting
At the outset, test results were available only from development environment and provided very poor information on test execution. In order to revise and optimize this, QA automation engineers added a custom NonEmptyNavigator extension that allowed us to log every interaction with each control via Slf4j. As a result, after test execution we had an appropriate log file (per-test) with all valuable events. While considering the reporting part, the default xUnit xml report generated with Spock was not quite clear. So, Forte Group team wrote a custom Spock extension in order to generate an informative HTML report that was insightful for every team member.
Automatic Tests Pre-Setup
The original tests were very unstable and made some tests elements broken because of the fact, the tests were hardcoded with particular test data. That is why, we considered to move the test setup to the database level. It means that every test object, like student registration wizard, class schedule, seating chart, was loaded into a database before any particular test execution. It made building SQL queries simple and transparent that actually allowed us to benefit from the introduction of the business objects layer at an early phase. Also, we accelerated the product performance because most of the steps that created the test data via User Interface were replaced with the quick data-loads.
Implemented Continuous Integration
When the tests and their results became stable and relevant, there was another task - to make this information accessible to all team members. For this purpose, we have configured a few Jenkins jobs for environment deployment and test execution. In this way, everybody can access test results in the form of a user friendly HTML page.
After a while, the test automation framework has been grown from a few hundreds of tests to a few thousands. We need to make tests run against multiple browsers (Chrome, FireFox, Internet Explorer) and cover the same tests with other user interface wrap. At the same time, Forte Group Quality Assurance and Testing team should figure out how to parametrize test execution for testing the Follett Aspen in multiple browsers, user interface environment combinations, and how to speed up the tests. In order to solve out all the tasks and issues, first of all we substituted Maven build automation tool with Gradle. It allows custom scripting using Groovy with built files directly. Additionally, our QA automation test engineers configured multiple threads test execution - up to 6 parallel threads. As a result, we were able to get a snapshot of a product status on any required environment or browser combination in less than an hour.
Ultimately, having met all client’s requirements, Follett Corporation contributed to success. Accomplished and deeply improved education management platform provides its end-users with robust solution that connects educators, students, parents, as well as makes the education process holistic and comprehensive at the same time.
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