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.
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 Vyew, anyone can host an Internet session that lets scattered colleagues work together on a project in real time. This Web conferencing platform gives you a very simple whiteboard where you can upload documents for discussion, share your desktop, or create designs from scratch. You don't even have to register to use Vyew, but if you do, you get access to VoIP and other audio services. (free for up to 20 live participants; additional services extra)
Tipalti is a cloud-based payment automation and management software that is known for helping businesses accurately meet deadlines. The solution helps solve problems that include non-compliance, late payments, administrative overload and complications arising from human error. Time spent on financial management is significantly decreased, solving one of the biggest problems facing accounting teams.
Tools are specifically designed to target some particular test environment, such as Windows and web automation tools, etc. Tools serve as a driving agent for an automation process. However, an automation framework is not a tool to perform a specific task, but rather infrastructure that provides the solution where different tools can do their job in a unified manner. This provides a common platform for the automation engineer.
Once the software passes automated tests, it may be released into production (depending on the preferred rate of deployment). This process is called Continuous Delivery. The preferred frequency is the difference between Continuous Delivery and Continuous Deployment. You achieve Continuous Delivery with the steps required for CI. The emphasis on automated testing (and automated builds) for quality assurance capitalizes on the efficiency of successful test automation and is essential to this practice.
A variation on this type of tool is for testing of web sites. Here, the "interface" is the web page. However, such a framework utilizes entirely different techniques because it is rendering HTML and listening to DOM Events instead of operating system events. Headless browsers or solutions based on Selenium Web Driver are normally used for this purpose.
Although all accounting software products have invoicing tools, FreshBooks' are incredibly easy to use. The WYSIWYG format is intuitive, and with just a few clicks you can add billable time and expenses, customize the look of the invoice and set up recurring invoices, automatic payment reminders and late fees. This accounting software connects to your bank, generates several reports, tracks time and helps you manage projects. [Go here for a full review of FreshBooks.]
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.
The ROI on automation tests varies depending on several factors. Some tests are difficult to develop because of technology constraints. For example, testing frameworks may not support test cases that run across several browser sessions or across different devices. Other tests may not need to be run frequently. For example, it might be more cost-effective to occasionally and manually test a use case for a rarely used feature, rather than invest the time to develop and maintain an automated test that runs after each nightly build. Each organization will make its considerations according to its own priorities, but it's always important to consider the ROI you'll get by automating your tests.
This article features the most useful, best small business software tools that are integral to your success and easy to learn and install. We provide a curated selection of the best online small business software, from accounting, to project and email management, document storage, security software and more. This way you can get your small business running smoothly.
“The most important thing to consider is the problem you are trying to solve. Many test automation initiatives fail because teams are trying to jump in head first and automate every test possible instead of the most valuable tests according to the goals of development. They find themselves in a maintenance nightmare. Pick the most valuable test you were already performing manually and automate those first.”
During my three years at Socialtext, I helped maintain a test tooling system through a user interface that was advanced for its time. O'Reilly took it as a case study in the book Beautiful Testing. The team at Socialtext uses the same framework today, although it now has several tests running at one time on Amazon's Electric Compute Cloud. Although we had a great deal of GUI-driving tests, we also had developer-facing (unit) and web services (integration) tests, a visual slideshow that testers could watch for every browser, and a strategy to explore by hand for each release. This combination of methods to reduce risk meant we found problems early.
InfoFlo Pay is invoicing management and payment software that you can use to create estimates and invoices, and receive payments. It has client portals that allow your customers to accept estimates, view statements and pay invoices online. Mobile apps are available, and the software integrates with QuickBooks, MailChimp and Google Drive for an extra fee. infoflopay.com
Take the time to research and learn more about the online business software you're considering using. Discover how useful these apps are and which one can help your business the most. Review a small selection that have the features you need at the right price point. Test them out with a trial run before investing. Find just the one that fits your business best and gives you a great ROI in its specific area.
Additionally, we looked for cloud-based software that syncs with bank accounts and point of sale (POS) systems, making it simple to perform advanced tasks, such as running financial reports and accepting payments. Our staff researched and reviewed an extensive collection of programs and selected what we believe to be the best accounting software for different types of small businesses in 2018.
Spendesk equips businesses and organizations with a set of tools for efficient company expense management and monitoring. Controlling company budget is easily done by allocating a fix amount of money to an employee’s virtual card and accordingly records all transaction details in real-time, allowing for easy spend monitoring and preventing unwanted overspending.
Chandra Kandukuri is a Technical Test Lead at Microsoft with more than 16 years of software development experience in multiple environments, developing automation frameworks and tools. He advocates the use of TDD and dedicating the time and resources to do it well. Although it is relatively uncommon to see teams utilize TDD in his experience, Kandukuri recommends the method with automated software testing because of the positive teamwork habits it can promote.
Choosing the framework for your project comes down to deciding what guidelines will produce the desired results of the automated tests. Often, developers end up designing a custom framework. This requires experienced testers and dedication to planning for the changes that may arise while implementing the automated testing. In some cases, an existing automation tool already has the functionality necessary to achieve the desired result of automated tests.
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.
The larger group contains web-based solutions that would be suitable for more complex small businesses, companies that want an application compliant with double-entry accounting rules. Each offers a core set of features that includes a chart of accounts; customer, vendor, and item records; income and expense tracking; forms like quotes and invoices; and reports.
First, you need the right tools. Second, you need qualified testers who need to be trained. Third, you need to invest time and effort in automation infrastructure and to develop tests on top of it. Developing automated tests is a software development effort itself. Tests need to be designed, coded, and validated before you can really put them to use. But the biggest effort comes just when you think you're done.
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
A cloud-based solution provided over Appium’s open-source system, Kobiton allows you to use real phones using its awesome feature. You can perform both mobile app testing and mobile web test runs, and flit between manual and automated options – so you can always go back to the old-fashioned hands-on method if you feel the urge. You can also build your own customised test cloud using Kobiton’s Device Lab Management feature.
You can buy the QuickBooks disc for a “one-time” cost or download the super-duper version for some more dough, but you’ll probably end up footing the bill for upgrades in future years (and the upgrades cost almost as much as the original software). And some of the software’s features and reports just aren’t necessary for small businesses, so you might end up with a lot you can’t use. QuickBooks Pro accommodates up to three users, but the second two will cost you extra, too. It’s only compatible with Windows.
Come to Infusionsoft for the CRM, stay for the marketing automation. Infusionsoft offers a low monthly fee for a single-user account, which includes CRM, marketing automation, and unlimited email sends. Need more user accounts to get more done? Infusionsoft charges a low monthly price per extra user. Growing teams can also add sales pipeline and ecommerce modules.
AccountEdge Pro does more than accounting. It features DIY or outsourced payroll services so you can link accounting to payroll, pay your employees (including direct deposit), track time and prepare payroll taxes. Retailers will also enjoy its inventory-management suite, which integrates with the popular ecommerce platform Shopify. AccountEdge Pro is available on Mac and Windows. Mobile and cloud companion apps are also available. accountedge.com/pro
Paying bills isn't as much fun as sending out invoices, but it has to be done. You may already be managing this task through your bank's website, which may or may not excel at this service. There are few other options online for standalone bill-pay, and the ones that exist have restrictions. Bill.com rules when it comes to supporting both invoices and bills; you'll be charged $29 per user per month for payables automation only. If that's more than you want to pay, you could subscribe to Wave, which is free, and just use its bill-paying tools.