The recently released World Quality Report 2017–2018 by Capgemini, Sogeti, and Micro Focus points out several interesting trends in software quality and testing. Two of three key trends are increasing test automation and widespread adoption of agile and DevOps methodologies. As the report shows, organizations need intelligent automation and smart analytics to speed up decision making and validation and to better address the challenges of testing smarter devices and products that are highly integrated and continuously changing. The report also suggests the need of smart test platforms that are self-aware and self-adaptive to support the complete application lifecycle.
Xero is an accounting software that is largely known for having revolutionized accounting. Developed to provide the best user experience possible, the solution is easy to use, making tough accounting tasks like double bookkeeping simple even for first time users. For those who require a bookkeeper, the vendor offers certified advisors who are more than willing to assist them. The platform has gained traction in countries like the UK, US, Australia and Europe. It comes with integrations with known third-party applications and accounting tools and the software’s Express Setup feature makes set up a breeze. You can maximize the product’s potential with the assistance of its help center.
TestComplete by SmartBear is a powerful commercial testing tool for web, mobile, and desktop testing. TestComplete supports various scripting languages such as JavaScript, VBScript, Python, and C++Script. Like Katalon Studio, testers can perform keyword-driven and data-driven testing with TestComplete. The tool also offers an easy-to-use record and playback feature.
The software automatically syncs business profiles to a single dashboards, where multiple users can view reports and corporate accounts. It is capable of generating profit and loss and trade sheets, invoices and billing, all which are accessible via mobile devices. Custom reports and feeds can likewise be created from the dashboard. Popular integrations include Quickbooks Online Payroll and Intuit GoPayment.
Collaborate around tasks with your team, with projects, comments, and assignments. MeisterTask is visually similar to Trello, but supports a native integration to MindMeister for fast and easy mind mapping. Its integrations with Dropbox, GitHub, Zendesk, Box, Bitbucket, and Google Drive allow you to map tasks to one another and keep you from entering data in the same place twice.
WatiN is inspired from Watir and is a C#-developed web application testing tool. This open source tool supports web application testing for.Net programming languages. It is licensed under Apache 2.0. HTML and AJAX website testing are supported by it. It has integration with unit testing tools and helps in generating web page screenshots. On IE and Firefox, it has automated browser testing and is a local support for Page and Control model.
If the latter is the type of business management software you’re interested in, inquire about the integration capabilities with the vendor. It’s important that any stand-alone applications or other software currently in use at your company will integrate with your business management platform. This way, you can ensure seamless data transfer between systems, offering you greater oversight and control over operations.
This web-based human resource management software automates virtually all HR processes, including employee benefits, holidays and payroll management, all from a single dashboard. It likewise can generate reports which can be used in coming up with valuable business insights. The app assists staff in managing and coordinating HR functions by providing them with additional user permissions.

With Ranorex Studio, every member of the team can build automated tests for desktop, web or mobile software with graphical user interfaces, regardless of programming ability. The Ranorex Recorder provides reliable capture-and-replay functionality for codeless creation of tests. Easily edit recorded actions, add text and image validations, set parameter values, and build data-driven tests without writing a single line of code. For users who prefer to build tests entirely in code, Ranorex Studio supports industry-standard programming languages C# and VB.NET with a comprehensive IDE that includes features such as intelligent code completion, debugging functionalities, refactoring mechanisms and more. For web application testing, Selenium WebDriver is built into the Ranorex core API, making it possible to create Selenium tests entirely within Ranorex Studio, without writing Selenium-specific code. Read more about our Selenium WebDriver integration.
While programmers are waiting for feedback, they start the next thing, which leads to multitasking. Eventually, someone re-skins the user interface, and, unless there is some sort of business logic layer in the tool, all checks will fail and you will be left with no easy way to revise the system. In an attempt to just get done, teams revert to human exploration, the automation becomes even more out of date, and, eventually, it will be thrown away.

Frankly, I’d think twice before entrusting financial data to a free-to-use service, probably even the freemium ones you mentioned. To make my point clear, I have nothing against cloud-based technology, in fact I could not imagine doing business without my smartphone, but when it comes to financials I still vote for local hosting. No bad experience with these solutions though, the choice’s up on you!
Automated testing expanded with Agile principles because testing in a repeatable manner that is secure, reliable, and keeps pace with the rapid deployment of software is required for this environment. In their book Agile Testing: A Practical Guide for Testers and Agile Teams, authors Lisa Crispin and Janet Gregory claim Agile development depends on test automation to succeed. They emphasize the team effort required for test automation and recommend automating tests early in the development process. Also, the development of automation code is as important as the development of the actual production code for software. The “test-first" approach to development is known as Test-Driven Development.
Test automation interface are platforms that provide a single workspace for incorporating multiple testing tools and frameworks for System/Integration testing of application under test. The goal of Test Automation Interface is to simplify the process of mapping tests to business criteria without coding coming in the way of the process. Test automation interface are expected to improve the efficiency and flexibility of maintaining test scripts.[18]
Every software project takes time before its requirements and design stabilize. A classic comparison is between the UI that can change at any time in an application's lifecycle and back-end services that may live untouched for generations. Agile projects behave differently from waterfall in this respect. If you're developing a SaaS product, you must use automation to support frequent deliveries, but you'll have to carefully consider the effort you invest in developing tests because your requirements may also change frequently. This a fine balance you'll have to learn to work with. For an on-premise solution, it may be easier to identify the stage in which automation tests can be safely developed and maintained. For all these cases, you have to carefully consider when it's cost-effective to develop automated tests. If you start from day one, you'll expend a lot of resources shooting at a moving target.
Ranorex GUI automation projects are easy to integrate with other automation tools that your team may already be using, such as continuous integration solutions like Bamboo, issue tracking solutions like JIRA and Bugzilla, source code management tools such as Git, SVN and Microsoft Team Foundation Server, test management solutions like Jira, and load testing tools such as NeoLoad.
Every software project takes time before its requirements and design stabilize. A classic comparison is between the UI that can change at any time in an application's lifecycle and back-end services that may live untouched for generations. Agile projects behave differently from waterfall in this respect. If you're developing a SaaS product, you must use automation to support frequent deliveries, but you'll have to carefully consider the effort you invest in developing tests because your requirements may also change frequently. This a fine balance you'll have to learn to work with. For an on-premise solution, it may be easier to identify the stage in which automation tests can be safely developed and maintained. For all these cases, you have to carefully consider when it's cost-effective to develop automated tests. If you start from day one, you'll expend a lot of resources shooting at a moving target.
Environment issues aside, automated checks that need to be run by hand create a drain on the team. Most teams we work with tend to want to just get started by running automated checks by hand. I suggest a different approach: Start with one check that runs end-to-end, through the continuous integration server, running on every build. Add additional scripts to that slowly, carefully, and with intention. Instead of trying to automate 100%, recognize that tooling creates drag and maintenance cost. Strive instead to automate the most powerful examples.
There’s no clean way to pigeonhole Airtable. It is technically a database, but can be used for data visualization, project management, task management, calendars, and planning. All of these tasks work better in Airtable if you store your data (customers, email subscribers, financial metrics) there, because any tasks, projects or events can be linked to assets.
Quicken lets you manage both your personal and business finances in one place, making it a convenient solution for really small businesses and home-based entrepreneurs who don't need accounting software designed for larger or more established businesses. The downside, however, is that the software isn't cloud-based and is only available for Windows, though it has iOS and Android apps that allow you to view your data. quicken.com

This article uses the term “tester” to refer to the person involved in testing software with automation tools. It is not meant to distinguish by job title or technical proficiency. Jim Hazen describes himself as a hybrid, or “technical tester,” because he can write test scripts and develop what he refers to as “testware.” The trend is to hire for multiple skillsets, but that does not mean the non-technical stakeholders involved in software development don’t benefit from automation testing.
Trello is often cited as a great project management tool for small businesses and teams because it’s so easy to use. The tool was sold to Atlassian in early 2017, but it has retained its core functions and even added a couple of cool add-ons since then. Trello is a fully Kanban-style project management tool that allows teams and individuals to add lots of pertinent information to tasks on their board and get notified when team members make changes.

With EasyForm Expense Management, employees will no longer have to physically submit expense reports. Users can take a snapshot of their receipts and easily upload them alongside their expense claims. Thereafter, managers can quickly approve or reject expense claims based on acquired data and audits. The software also utilizes GPS technology for reconciling travel-related expenses by tracking distance traveled during a business trip. Its travel intelligence capability also provides useful insights on how to better optimize one’s cost and spend.
Frankly, I’d think twice before entrusting financial data to a free-to-use service, probably even the freemium ones you mentioned. To make my point clear, I have nothing against cloud-based technology, in fact I could not imagine doing business without my smartphone, but when it comes to financials I still vote for local hosting. No bad experience with these solutions though, the choice’s up on you!

Katalon Studio is a powerful test automation solution for mobile, Web, and API testing. And it is completely FREE! It provides a comprehensive set of features for test automation, including recording actions, creating test cases, generating test scripts, executing tests, reporting results, and integrating with many other tools in the software development lifecycle.
If the latter is the type of business management software you’re interested in, inquire about the integration capabilities with the vendor. It’s important that any stand-alone applications or other software currently in use at your company will integrate with your business management platform. This way, you can ensure seamless data transfer between systems, offering you greater oversight and control over operations.
The principles of software development are just as valid when writing tests. Just like you don't want monolithic code with many interconnected parts, you don't want monolithic tests in which each step depends on many others. Break your flows down into small, manageable, and independent test cases. That way, if one test fails, it won't make the whole test suite grind to a halt, and you can effectively increase your test coverage at each execution of your automation suite.
Although this a complete list of the best software for small businesses in each of these categories, there might be other options that work better for your company. Click on the category headers below for a full list of available products. For personalized recommendations based on your business needs call one of our Technology Advisors at 877-822-9526 for a free, 5-minute consultation.

Jim Hazen is an Automation Consultant and “veteran of the software testing trenches” who helps companies with test automation and performance test implementations. He has presented at multiple professional conferences, including STARWest and STPCon, and published articles in ST&QA Magazine on test automation and communication techniques for testers. You can learn more about Jim on LinkedIn. 

GitHub’s major competitor is Bitbucket, an Atlassian product that has deep integrations with JIRA, Confluence, and Trello. For up to 10 users, Bitbucket is cheaper. When you hit 10+, it’s more expensive but may work out as cheaper for large enterprises. Also, if your company is looking to spark interest in the open source community, there’s no bigger audience than GitHub’s.
The platform offers unlimited payroll runs for W-2 workers and 1099 contract workers. You can pay workers using check or via direct deposit, for which you must pass a risk assessment. OnPay handles all your payroll tax needs. It can compute state and federal payroll taxes, manage filing of tax forms, withholding and tax payments. What makes it even better is that the vendor guarantees accuracy by taking responsibility for any tax filing errors committed by the product.
We then created an extensive list of accounting software. It included software from our research as well as applications we were already familiar with and vendors who have previously pitched their software to us. We narrowed down this list based on different use-case scenarios and a wide range of criteria, which we've listed in detail below. As part of our research, we studied user reviews, watched tutorial videos and checked out customer resources offered by each vendor, such as knowledgebases, blogs and guides.
Building a successful automated testing strategy is tough and the approach will vary on a team-by-team basis. No team is completely identical to another. Some may consist of more manual testers than automation engineers, while some may have shifted left and depend on developers to do the heavy lifting. Budget, deadlines, application type, and development model are all factors that impact how an automated testing strategy should outlined be implemented.
Timecamp is a one-solution-fits-all business management solution that comes with a time tracker with computer activities, productivity monitoring, attendance tracking, integrations and more. The software tracks time automatically so you don’t have to worry about spending hours on figuring out how to do it. TimeCamp offers you an intuitive interface to get your team on board effortlessly.
Social media marketing is essential to small business success. Social media enables you to reach your leads and customers for a fraction of the price of a traditional ad campaign, making it extremely effective. When you consider that so many people use social media, it is also where your customers are—and that means your brand should be there, too. Here are the best marketing tools for social media.

Interactive home pages. Some small businesspeople love working with numbers, but many just want to sign on to their accounting application, do what's needed, and move on. Interactive home pages, or dashboards on these websites play two primary roles. First, they flag tasks that need attention and provide a bird's-eye view of your finances, with graphs, charts, and tables that quickly summarize real-time income, expenses, and cash flow. Second, most of these sites' dashboards contain links to working screens, so you can pay a bill or send an invoice or transfer funds between accounts—whatever needs to be done that day.

What is more important is that testing is not only about finding bugs. As the Testing Manifesto from Growing Agile summarises very illustratively and to the point, testing is about getting to understand the product and the problem(s) it tries to solve and finding areas where the product or the underlying process can be improved. It is about preventing bugs, rather than finding bugs and building the best system by iteratively questioning each and every aspect and underlying assumption, rather than breaking the system. A good tester is a highly skilled professional, constantly communicating with customers, stakeholders and developers. So talking about automated testing is abstruse to the point of being comical.
You may have noticed that many of these solutions are either built on top of or compatible with Selenium testing. Selenium is undoubtedly the most popular automated security testing framework for web applications. However, it has been extended quite often to add functionality to its core. Selenium is used in everything from Katalon Studio to Robot Framework, but alone, it is primarily a browser automation product.
Test automation is a fundamental part of Agile. Various core practices of Agile, such as Continuous Integration (CI), Continuous Delivery, Test-Driven Development (TDD), and Behavior-Driven Development (BDD) rely on the efficiency and reliability of test automation. For teams using Agile methods, test automation impacts more than just the software being developed: successful test automation practices also highlight the culture change and importance of teamwork associated with Agile.
It’s always a good idea to verify integration capabilities with vendors prior to purchasing a new software. However, as your business management software will be the central system used to house all your company data, and you likely won’t replace this system nearly as often as you would other tools, it is imperative that you carefully evaluate your integration requirements during the software selection process and review these requirements with vendors.
One of the best automation testing tools for application and GUI testing is eggPlant. TestPlant developed eggPlant for testers to perform different types of testing. While most of the automation tool follows an object-based approach, eggPlant works on an image-based approach.  The tool allows testers to interact with the application the same way the end users will do. In eggPlant, you can use a single script to perform testing on many platforms such as Windows, Mac, Linux, and Solaris, etc.
This web-based human resource management software automates virtually all HR processes, including employee benefits, holidays and payroll management, all from a single dashboard. It likewise can generate reports which can be used in coming up with valuable business insights. The app assists staff in managing and coordinating HR functions by providing them with additional user permissions.
SmartBear’s TestComplete is an easy to use automated UI testing tool. TestComplete supports cross platform testing and multiple scripting languages. It also instruments both iOS and Android native apps. In addition, TestComplete offers a record and playback feature and uses the Google Chrome browser to emulate all other browsers. Test Complete does not test on native iOS Safari or Android Chrome.
But if the company had one shared test environment where changes needed to be negotiated through change control, that might not actually save any time. We'd have a big, fat bottleneck in front of testing. As Tanya Kravtsov pointed out recently in her presentation at TestBash New York, automating the thing that is not the bottleneck creates the illusion of speed but does not actually improve speed.
There is no one-size-fits-all tool for automated testing. It is highly recommended that testers evaluate various tools in order to select what would best meet their automated testing needs. Programming languages and technologies used to develop software continue to evolve, as do the automated testing tools, making cost a significant factor in tool selection. Commercial vendors often charge for tool upgrades, which can be substantial if your software uses emerging and frequently changing technologies. Open source and non-commercial tools, on the other hand, do not incur additional charges but require effort and expertise for integrating new upgrades. It is difficult to find the support and expertise needed for integrating various tools and frameworks into open-source solutions. Emerging tools that integrate with open-source frameworks, like Katalon, offer a viable alternative to both commercial and open-source automated testing solutions.
Ranorex GUI automation projects are easy to integrate with other automation tools that your team may already be using, such as continuous integration solutions like Bamboo, issue tracking solutions like JIRA and Bugzilla, source code management tools such as Git, SVN and Microsoft Team Foundation Server, test management solutions like Jira, and load testing tools such as NeoLoad.
Test automation is a fundamental part of Agile. Various core practices of Agile, such as Continuous Integration (CI), Continuous Delivery, Test-Driven Development (TDD), and Behavior-Driven Development (BDD) rely on the efficiency and reliability of test automation. For teams using Agile methods, test automation impacts more than just the software being developed: successful test automation practices also highlight the culture change and importance of teamwork associated with Agile.
Another common misconception about automated testing is that it undermines human interaction. In all honesty, automated testing is more clear-cut and faster than what humans could do without suffering extensive human errors, so this misconception is understandable. That said, products like TestComplete are designed to facilitate a collaborative approach by including features that allow co-workers to go through a piece of test coding and comment on the script.
If any similar business application errors occurred in the past then the issue resolution steps are retrieved from the support knowledge base and the error is resolved using those steps. If it is a new support error, then new issue resolution steps are created and the error is resolved. The new support error resolution steps are recorded in the knowledge base for future use. For major business application errors (critical infrastructure or application failures), a phone conference call is initiated and all required support persons/teams join the call and they all work together to resolve the error.
A report cited in the book found that software developers in the 1990s routinely missed ship dates and deadlines. The pressure to reduce costs and keep up with the demands of a rapidly changing market is now dependent on faster software development. With growth and competition in commercial software development came new technology that changed software forever. The new graphical user interface (GUI), networked personal computers, and the client-server architecture demanded new development and testing tools.
Watir is made to automate web application testing and this is done using Ruby libraries. Watir is also called as water by the people and is an open source testing tool.  This tool can be used to tests any language-based web application. Watir works well with RSpec, Cucumber, and Test/Unit and is a business-driven development tool. It basically tests web page’s buttons, forms, links, and their responses. It can be used on a number of browsers as it is compatible with them.
Its architecture is centered around plugins with the help of which JMeter provides a lot of out of box features. It supports many types of applications, servers and protocols like Web, SOAP, FTP, TCP, LDAP, SOAP, MOM, Mail Protocols, shell scripts, Java objects, database. Other features include powerful Test IDE, dynamic reporting, command line mode, portability, multithreading, caching of test results and highly extensible core.

Unlike many accounting software products that limit transactions unless you purchase a more expensive package, FreeAgent is a cloud-based program that supports unlimited users, clients and invoices for one monthly price. It also has a project management feature to help you keep track of billable hours and expenses. FreeAgent is best for freelancers, consultants and other project-based businesses. freeagent.com
Amazon is testing delivery drones that pick up warehouse orders sorted by robots, Google is testing self-driving cars, Starbucks is testing cashier-free stores dedicated to mobile ordering and payment, and Facebook is testing a brain-computer interface that may one day translate thoughts into digital text. There are mundane versions of automation technology behind all of this testing — software automation testing. Companies use automation technology to create the software responsible for the products and services causing all the hype.

Every software project takes time before its requirements and design stabilize. A classic comparison is between the UI that can change at any time in an application's lifecycle and back-end services that may live untouched for generations. Agile projects behave differently from waterfall in this respect. If you're developing a SaaS product, you must use automation to support frequent deliveries, but you'll have to carefully consider the effort you invest in developing tests because your requirements may also change frequently. This a fine balance you'll have to learn to work with. For an on-premise solution, it may be easier to identify the stage in which automation tests can be safely developed and maintained. For all these cases, you have to carefully consider when it's cost-effective to develop automated tests. If you start from day one, you'll expend a lot of resources shooting at a moving target.


Welcome to our free online programming courses. We’ve created these courses to facilitate the training we offer in the Automation in Testing namespace, but also to provide free high quality resources to the testing and software development community. Our current courses can be broken down into three categories, Programming Basics, Language Basics and Selenium WebDriver. We hope to get some video versions of these courses made this year and those will be available on the Ministry of Testing Dojo.
In our automated testing starter kit, we provide a variety of resources and tools for you to use to get the ball rolling. You will learn how to efficiently roadmap your efforts, build scalable and easily-maintainable automation frameworks, and how to compare and choose the right tool based on your needs. Don’t worry, we’ve also included tips regarding what testing types should remain manual. Not all tests can or should be automated, and to reiterate our previous statement, it’s essential for your success that some testing types, like exploratory testing, are performed manually.
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