generic testing suite for Access

hey guys,

does anyone have a generic testing suite for Access databases? e.g. generic suite of tests for network performance, load, security, compatibility, installation etc.

if yall do could yall share it if yall don't mind? i'm currently writing out these test suites of my own now too. testing is so so important. it's the feedback loop. and i've been working without a feedback loop for so long. just like putting code into a black box that i can't verify anything at all. it's so, so unnerving.
developingprogrammerAsked:
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Jeffrey CoachmanMIS LiasonCommented:
There is no one utility that will do all of that...

And also you need to clarify what each of those parameters means to you in the context of what you want.
"Load"?  Load what?, ...what exactly are you looking for here. as a measurement..?
"security"?  Access built in Security, network security?... again, what exactly are you looking for here as a measurement..?
"compatibility"? Compatibility with what exactly? Other Access versions?, The Operating system?, The User PC's?... again, what exactly are you looking for here as a measurement..?
"installation?...... again, what exactly are you looking for here as a measurement..?

This set of utilities will tell you almost all there is to know about an Access database.
http://www.fmsinc.com/microsoftaccess/bestpractices.html

JeffCoachman
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BitsqueezerCommented:
Hi,

the only testing environment I know of is this one (called "accessUnit"):

http://www.access-im-unternehmen.de/282.0.html

But you will need Google translate or any other translation service because the page is only available in German.

It was made by the top expert André Minhorst who also wrote several really good (but German) books.

The tool provides a method to create unit tests within your database and this can help to make the tests easier as you start one module which goes through all the tests and show if the result is OK or not.
The tests are written by you so you can do anything you want, the test procedure only need to come to a result if it was OK or not. So for example, if you write a procedure with three parameters your test procedure can try to call this with any parameter value and test if an error is thrown and which one. The result is "OK" because you wrote both at the same time. When you get back later to the procedure and decide to add one parameter at the first position it is most likely that now the test procedure will fail maybe because of another datatype of the new parameter or whatever.
So you have an easy way of quickly testing all the procedures if they work as originally designed.
It gets more difficult if you want to try user inputs, in this case you must write a test procedure which "simulates the user". There is of course the possibility of using SendKeys, but I'm not sure if you can handle such tests programmatically with Access, especially if you want to simulate anything with the mouse, then you would need Windows API functions - and so on. Can become difficult to write test procedures - but you can do that with such a tool.
In the end you would always also need a user which doesn't know your product (the less the better), often helps more than any self-made tests, believe me...:-)

Cheers,

Christian
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broro183Commented:
hi,

Here are links to two other tools. They are not as detailed as the one that Jeff has suggested but they are freeware & I have found them both useful when doing Access work.

http://allenbrowne.com/appissuechecker.html

For use in the VBE/IDE:
http://www.mztools.com/v3/features.aspx

hth
Rob
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Jim Dettman (Microsoft MVP/ EE MVE)President / OwnerCommented:
There is no automated unit testing for Access that I'm aware of.  Nor any specific network or performance related tools.

I have to say, once again your trying to approach this as if it were a professional software development tool (and there's nothing wrong with that per say), but Access is simply not that.

Developers over the years have done fantastic things with it, but it has always been designed and marketed by Microsoft as an end user tool and the market as a whole has treated it as such.

  Anything you find will pretty much be developed by a developer.  Only companies that have really brought anything to the table for Access is FMS, Inc and Peter's software.

Jim.
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Jim Dettman (Microsoft MVP/ EE MVE)President / OwnerCommented:
<<the only testing environment I know of is this one (called "accessUnit"):

http://www.access-im-unternehmen.de/282.0.html
>>

 Interesting....I wasn't aware this was out there.   Looking over the pages though, it looks like it only works with testing classes.   I not trying to downplay what it does; it certainly is better then having nothing, but it only covers part of what an Access app might do.

 And I guess that's the point of my last comment; there are utilities here and there, but no comprehensive testing suite.

 For example, I've seen some utilities utilizing JET Showplan and ISAMStats, but their few and far between and usually pretty simple.

 Even the performance analyzer built-in doesn't do a great job.

Jim.
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Jeffrey CoachmanMIS LiasonCommented:
I hate to bring this up again, but I read Jim's post.
...and I have said it also...

...All of your recent questions seem to indicate that you are trying to do things with Access that it was not designed to do.

You say that it is the only tool available, yet you always express frustration with it....

So just for all of education, can you explain why Access is the tool you "must" use.
...My concern is that with all the solution you have gotten, ....you will end up with a complicated set of Workarounds, Hacks and Kludges, ...to get Access to do what you need/want...

JeffCoachman
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BitsqueezerCommented:
Hi Jim,

it certainly is better then having nothing, but it only covers part of what an Access app might do.

Yes, that's true, it's far away of being a "testing suite"...:-)
It offers a solution which can be easily expanded, but as I wrote above - there are of course things which cannot be easily tested programmatically.

Cheers,

Christian
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developingprogrammerAuthor Commented:
hi guys, thanks so much for all your responses as always.

Jeff, Jim, i've definitely stop trying to control Access anymore rather working together with it. it's not perfect but there really is little point for me going against it.

i think the difference is that my paradigm of my role has changed from "programmer" to "software engineer".

"software engineer" in my definition refers to the whole process of getting the business requirements, user requirements, functional & non-functional requirements, technical requirements, having traceability of all, having test cases for all - test plan, test group, test cases, test cycles, test run, test results. i've not gone into SCM yet (software configuration management) cause at the moment not rolling things out on an enterprise level.

but basically, now i start with the big picture in mind - that of the requirements, link it all the way down to the last test case, and THEN the coding begins. so i write for testibility and everything is about moving something from one state to another. a lot more organised and much better software.

of course i can still go one step back and look at a bigger picture again (and again another step back etc) in terms of business-IT alignment and other things, but perhaps that's for another time. i gotta master and execute this first. anyway many things start of simply cause it's cool, not cause it will surely make a profit - twitter ha.

so in terms of asking about test suites, i'm just thinking aloud whether anyone has any templates that they use to run their programme through structural quality tests (non-functional) so that i can use it as well. anyway i've got it from compiling the various sources from wikipedia and i think i've got a reasonably robust test suite now (at least for my beginner level) - and so i can build and learn from there and learn from yall = )

Jeff the reason why i can only use Access is because that is the only application my organisation allows users to use - if we start using SQL Server they will immediately ban the project because that needs to be handled by the full blown IT department.

hi rob, thanks for your help! yup i've got MZTools already (Christian introduced it to me awhile back and it's really good) and i did come across the Allen Browne app issue check whilst going through his whole site but i have not used it yet. but thanks for reminding me of it! i will try it out later on = )

hi Jeff, yup yup i've got the FMS tool but i have not used it ha - silly me. just way too overwhelmed with my disorganisation and trying to get things back into an organised framework i can follow. i've finally got all my requirements to tests framework in place, so at least things are more sane now. i will run the FMS tool later! thanks!! = ))

hi Christian, thanks for the great software tool recommendation once again! it really seems like i have to learn German to tap into all the fantastic stuff and articles that are developed by German developers like yourself and the others ha = ) i will have a play around with it later on, but i think at the moment my tests will all be manual.

perhaps the generation of some test data can be automated, but can you believe i was waiting for the users to actually use my app and then test it using their real world data? i can't believe what a disarray i was in previously not even knowing how to or think of generating test data.

yes i am now a "semi-quasi-developed programmer", but i was a completely non-existent software engineer. in order to release applications, it's more than just programming. it's about SDLC, STLC, SRLC. and many many more. i'm learning, i'm learning, and even if everything falls over here, the good thing is that this failure has built a very strong start for the next personal project. now at least i know my mistakes and how to go about doing things.

i'm using Jama for business requirements, and i've learnt how to use their software very, very, very in depth - for a single person use (no one to collaborate at the moment ha). it is truly a life saver. i don't know how you do it Christian, but i can't live without Jama (or something like Jama) helping me organise all my requirements, relationships, traceability, tests. it's really amazing how you can use mindmaps and free tools like SEONote and just be so flexible and yet build such a huge large and complex ERP. perhaps some day i will understand how you do it but i doubt it will be anytime soon ha = )

thanks everyone for all your help in this question! i really really appreciate it!! = ))
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developingprogrammerAuthor Commented:
oh, and the reason why i was looking for test suites for Access is because i just wanted to know what was out there before i start reinventing the wheel. when i mentioned test suites i was thinking more of a guideline for the manual tests that i had to put my programme through instead of an automated one. i think the functional quality and the STRUCTURAL QUALITY is a very good place for me to focus on = ) thanks everyone once again! = )
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broro183Commented:
hi,

Thanks for the points, although I feel that my offerings were light weight in comparison to the comments you got from the more experienced guys.

perhaps the generation of some test data can be automated, but can you believe i was waiting for the users to actually use my app and then test it using their real world data? i can't believe what a disarray i was in previously not even knowing how to or think of generating test data.

Haha, actually I can believe it. Personally, I don't support waiting for "testing" by end users after release because I think that quality should be built in with testing should be done before release or, grudgingly, through the use of "pilots" or phased releases. However, I have seen this approach of waiting & relying on end users at different times in every company I have worked for. I have had a team mate in the past who actively promoted this approach with the justification that it shortened development time (Excel/Access apps). A shortened development time may have been the aim but I heard from various end users that the approach didn't work. Comments made were along the lines of they didn't like being treated as guinea pigs, perceived that any work from that person was unreliable & therefore avoided new app's from them for as long as possible!

Good luck with your project :-)
Rob
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Jeffrey CoachmanMIS LiasonCommented:
it is still not clear what you are looking for as a "result" for each of your criteria...

My felling is that if what you are asking for could be done in Access, (and there was a real need) someone would have done it already...

;-)

JeffCoachman
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