Windows 2000 Cheat Sheet Available

When it comes time for products to take the Windows 2000 applications compatibility test from VeriTest Inc. (www.veritest.com), it would be nice to have the questions ahead of time. Instead of making you rummage through the dumpster, Microsoft Corp. (www.microsoft.com) and Rational Software Corp. (www.rational.com) are handing out the crib notes for free.

After some delay, the companies released the Rational TestFoundation for Microsoft Windows 2000, an automated solution that is expected to help reduce the time and cost of achieving compliance with Microsoft's Applications Specification for Windows 2000, Desktop Application Edition.

TestFoundation is designed to be used throughout the development lifecycle to ensure applications comply with W2K's "app spec" and gain the Certified for Windows 2000 logo. Microsoft recommends complying with the specification so applications can take advantage of the improved reliability and manageability features in Windows 2000.

"I would expect anyone who has a serious investment in Windows and is planning a serious adoption of Windows 2000 will pick up the TestFoundation," says Sam Guckenheimer, senior director of Rational's automated testing business unit. "The app spec is targeted for anyone developing an application for Windows 2000, not just those wanting to put a logo on the box."

Since the software is free, Rational Software and VeriTest are encouraging developers to use it even if they don't intend to submit an application for certification.

TestFoundation has three components. The first is the Test Plan, which is provided by Microsoft and defines all of the manual tests necessary for a product to comply with the Windows 2000 Application Specification. It defines the steps and the underlying tools required to execute the test. There is a methodology guide that gives a bird's-eye view of the testing environment, process, and tools used. The pack also includes a collection of tools in the form of executables, automation scripts, manual tests, and databases to help implement the test plan.

Tools are available free of cost, but Rational is able to pull developers into its profit center by integrating TestFoundation with Rational's TeamTest, which is sold as part of the larger Rational Suite TestStudio. One such integration is the use of executables. While the programs can be run manually, in each case developer would have to record the results of the run in a test log. Instead, developers could use Rational Robot, through which scripts are run and automatically logged in the Rational TestFoundation for Windows 2000 repository/reporting system. Rational Robot is built into Rational TeamTest, but not TestFoundation.

Guckenheimer says TestFoundation's greatest benefit to developers giving them the ability to start early and use the tests repeatedly. "The best value is you can start at the beginning of development and create a reusable set of tests that ensure compliance with the application spec, and then keep using them," he says. "That's different from the waterfall approach, where you don't worry about any of that stuff until the end. The problem with that is you incur a larger level of rework."