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Amdocs Simplifies the Test Case-to-Test Script Process with Ginger


We recently chatted with Amdocs about how the company has been progressing with its automation framework, ‘Ginger by Amdocs’. Amdocs launched Ginger four years ago, initially as a test automation framework designed for use by non-automation engineers. Since then, Amdocs has aggregated some of its test IP around Ginger and has become its main test automation platform, with functionality ranging from test automation to mobile testing.

In the world of functional testing, automation remains centered around the creation of test cases in natural language, and then its transformation into automated test scripts that are run by a test execution engine. The test case-to-test script process is well-defined and has become an industry standard. A challenge is that it requires test automation specialists for both the creation of artefacts (e.g. test scripts) and their maintenance an ongoing basis.

In the past two years, Amdocs has been working on two initiatives to make the test case-to-script process easier.

Easing the Creation of Test Scripts

Amdocs has worked on making the creation of test scripts from test cases accessible to non-automation engineers. Its approach has relied on decomposing test scripts into smaller elements that Amdocs calls ‘automation nuggets’ (e.g. UI objects for handling APIs or database validation) and that are stored in a repository. Test case designers can then use these nuggets, via a drag-and-drop approach, to create scripts.

A key element of this approach is the creation of nuggets repositories specific to each client’s application landscape. Amdocs relies on its Ginger Auto-Pilot feature to automate its creation. Auto-Pilot goes through the pages of a website (or a java-based UI) and identifies objects and their properties and values, creating a model of each page and corresponding objects using a POM approach. Also, Auto-Pilot employs a similar approach in modelling REST API-based applications by creating a model of the APIs and their input and output parameters.

Helping to Maintain Test Scripts

Another benefit of Auto-Pilot is that it is also useful in the maintenance of test scripts. Amdocs will run Auto-Pilot on a regular basis and discover changes in applications from the model, and identify which test scripts may fail as a result of the application changes.

Once Auto-Pilot has identified the changes from the model, it has several options, including the ability to automatically fix scripts that were impacted by the identified changes; for example:

  • Before execution: correct the test script automatically or alert an automation engineer before execution of test scripts (Auto-Pilot Preventive)
  • During Execution: re-run the test script a few seconds later or at a later time (using Ginger Flow Control). With this functionality, Ginger aims to mimic the behavior of human beings in fixing issues.

Looking ahead, Amdocs continue to invest in the maintenance of tests scripts, focusing on issues faced during execution. With Auto-Pilot Self-Healing capability, the company is focusing on automatically fixing issues during the execution phase, along with sending alerts to automation engineers on what scripts were changed and how. Amdocs plans to introduce this new capability in early 2020.

Amdocs continues to invest in Auto-Pilot and plans to introduce some level of AI to the tool to help it recognize changes in objects or fields. The company is training the software using ML technology; for instance, in identifying field names that may have changed (e.g. a field being changed from ‘customer’ to ‘client’).

While Amdocs has positioned Auto-Pilot in the context of test script maintenance, its relevance for agile projects also comes to mind. With agile projects based on two-week incremental changes/sprints, Auto-Pilot provides a starting point for maintaining test scripts.

Amdocs Releases Ginger as Open Source

Most testing service vendors tend to consider IP such as Ginger as a differentiator to their service offering, whether provided as part of the service or sold under a license fee agreement. Amdocs has done the opposite to this and made a bold move in releasing Ginger as open source under an Apache 2.0 license.

Amdocs emphasizes that the release to open source will not stop it from making further investments in Ginger. An example of a recent investment is its end-to-end (E2E) testing capability, where Ginger provides an orchestration engine for test execution tools across most OS (e.g. Windows, Unix and Linux and z/OS), programming languages (Java and .NET, web-based applications, mainframe applications), and other tools (e.g., SoapUI, REST Assured and Cucumber). Ginger’s E2E capability is particularly relevant to industries that operate on standard business processes (such as telecom service providers that still represent Amdocs’ core market) and retail banks.

Looking ahead, Amdocs believes that by releasing Ginger as open source software, it will gain further visibility of its automation capabilities, attract new talent, and derive revenues from adapting Ginger to specific client requests, along with driving interest from open source community developers in complementing Ginger’s capabilities.

While testing services rely on an ecosystem of open source tools, from Selenium and Appium to DevOps tools such as Jenkins and Bamboo, we have not previously seen any significant firm such as Amdocs giving back to the community their central IP. We welcome this bold move.

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