Today, I also attended the PeopleSoft Test Framework: Simplifying Upgrade and Maintenance session by Scott Schafer. Again, I was very impressed with the tool. I think this is going to revolution implementation projects in PeopleSoft and routine maintenance for systems.
Scott listed many of the advantages of PTF as the test framework is frequently called. The PTF has a record and playback feature that allows a power user to easily generate a test by recording his actions in the system. One of the key features is that PTF understands PeopleTools metadata. It does not just record clicks on the screen at a specific coordinate but clicks on a particular record, field on a particular row. Also, because they are managed as PeopleTools objects, the tests are comparable between environments and migrate-able to another environment.
First, Scott discussed the Usage Monitor. He said it was an extension of the Performance Monitor. I need experiment some more with this because I didn’t quit understand whether or not a full implementation of Performance Monitor is required. Basically, this tool tells you which of the delivered objects you actually use. You turn the monitor on in production, and it records which objects get touched by your every day use.
One of the questions I would have is how accurate is this list of objects? I mean what about periodic events such as year-end processing? Unless you keep your monitor on for a full year or you happen to build your list during the year-end time frame, you are not going to get objects specific to that process.
Next, Scott mentioned a new feature of App Designer. Now, it stores the compare report data in the database. So, you can build your own tools to automate processing the compare results.
Then, Scott demoed the product. He showed how you can click a record button. The browser would open and you could perform a basic activity in PeopleSoft. The client tool would list the steps that you went through to make the activity happen. Then, he clicked the play button, and he showed how it would step through those actions rather quickly to reproduce the activity. Finally, he showed how an error would stop the test and show the problem.
The cool part is the object tracking. Each test represents a business process. PeopleTools tracks the objects related to the test. Therefore, you can tie an object to a business process. Also, your usage data shows you which objects you use, and you can make sure that you have a test for each one of those objects. Finally, you can compare the objects included in a bundle or maintenance pack with your usage data to see which part of it affects you. Again, you can then tie that back to the tests and see which business processes gets affected by the new code/objects.
All in all, I think this is the first iteration of a cool tool that will revolutionize PeopleTools.