With capability and frugality firmly in mind, we rounded up 25 of our favorite software tools and Web services that we deem the best for powering small and medium-size businesses. Of course, not every business needs every type of program or service, but if your small business could use some help in any of the categories below, our list will give you a pretty good shot at picking a winner.
Some business applications are built in-house and some are bought from vendors (off the shelf software products). These business applications are installed on either desktops or big servers. Prior to the introduction of COBOL (a universal compiler) in 1965, businesses developed their own unique machine language. RCA's language consisted of a 12-position instruction. For example, to read a record into memory, the first two digits would be the instruction (action) code. The next four positions of the instruction (an 'A' address) would be the exact leftmost memory location where you want the readable character to be placed. Four positions (a 'B' address) of the instruction would note the very rightmost memory location where you want the last character of the record to be located. A two digit 'B' address also allows a modification of any instruction. Instruction codes and memory designations excluded the use of 8's or 9's. The first RCA business application was implemented in 1962 on a 4k RCA 301. The RCA 301, mid frame 501, and large frame 601 began their marketing in early 1960.
Test automation on the other hand is the automated execution of predefined tests. A test in that context is a sequence of predefined actions interspersed with evaluations, that James Bach calls checks. These checks are manually defined algorithmic decision rules that are evaluated on specific and predefined observation points of a software product. And herein lies the problem. If, for instance, you define an automated test of a website, you might define a check that ascertains a specific text (e.g. the headline) is shown on that website. When executing that test, this is exactly what is checked—and only this. So if your website looks like shown in the picture, your test still passes, making you think everything is ok.
Here’s a disarming stat: only 2.5% of companies finish every project they start. A Gartner report reveals that only 5% of companies use just one project management tool. This indicates a need for an “all-in-one” solution that helps employees reduce the amount of time they spend switching between apps. Here are three great solutions to get you started.
Sage Business Cloud Accounting has two plans for small business owners. The Accounting Start plan is for a single user primarily interested in invoicing, expense management and reporting. In addition to these features, the other plan, The Accounting plan, has support for multiple users, can create quotes and estimates, allows you to record and track the bills you owe, and has simple inventory-management capabilities. Integrations that link the software to other business programs like POS systems and payroll are available. sage.com
Gauge is produced by the same company that developed Selenium. With Gauge, developers can use C#, Ruby, or Java to create automated tests Gauge itself is an extensible program that has plug-in support, but it is still in beta; use this only if you want to adopt cutting-edge technology now. Gauge is a promising product and when it is complete will likely become a standard, both for developers and testers, as it has quite a lot of technology behind it.
In my organization, we've taken automation to the extreme, and we automate every test we believe will yield a good ROI. Usually, this means we run automation tests on all delivered features at both sanity and end-to-end levels. This way, we achieve 90 percent coverage while also maintaining and growing our test automation suite at all stages of the application lifecycle.
Designed for developers, Cypress is an end-to-end solution “for anything that runs inside the browser.” By running inside of the browser itself, Cypress can provide for more consistent results when compared to other products such as Selenium. As Cypress runs, it can alert developers of the actions that are being taken within the browser, giving them more information regarding the behaviors of their applications.
Selenium is used for the web application testing. Various browsers and platforms like Windows, Mac, and Linux can be tested using Selenium. To write tests in a number of programming languages like Java, PHP, C#, Python, Groovy, Ruby, and Perl, selenium is a great aid. To write tests, even record and playback features without learning Selenium IDE are offered by this. For the other software testing tool, Selenium is undoubtedly a base for them. There is a number of companies at present using Selenium to offer their automation testing services.
HPE Unified Functional Testing was earlier known as HP QuickTest Professional. For the software applications practical and deterioration, testing is required. This testing automation is offered by this tool. For the registration of the test processes and operates the various objects and controls in testing the applications, Visual Basic Scripting Edition language is used by this tool. HPE Unified Testing helps to go for Mercury Quality Center and Mercury Business Process Testing. Even it has a Unique Smart Object Recognition, Automated documentation, Error handling mechanism, and creating of parameters for objects, checkpoints, and data-driven tables which make this tool a unique one from the other tools.
If the business application error occurred due to programming errors, then a request is created for the application development team to correct programming errors. If the business user needs new features or functions in the business application, then the required analysis/design/programming/testing/release is planned and a new version of the business software is deployed.
A favorite among small business owners, FreshBooks offers one of the most user-friendly, cloud-based accounting applications for nonaccountants. It's also our top pick for the best accounting app for iOS and Android devices because of the wide range of accounting tasks you can perform on the go, such as invoicing, time tracking and managing expenses. Read our full review here. freshbooks.com
With tools like TestComplete, the evolution from manual to automated testing does not have to be difficult. By allowing you to see every action you make, either while generating test code or in administering tests, manual testers can see exactly where to make adjustments while they’re learning. After using automated testing tools and techniques, manual testing has proven to be an effective way of double-checking the software to make sure there is no stone left unturned. In that sense, manual and automated testing go hand-in-hand and, when used properly, can ensure that the final product is as good as it can be.
Simple, familiar language. The principles of double-entry accounting are several centuries old. You can't get away from some of the terms and phrases that wouldn't normally come up in casual conversation, like debits and credits, general ledger, and chart of accounts. But the developers who have produced today's best-of-breed accounting sites only subject you to arcane language when it's absolutely necessary. You can't get around the fact that double-entry accounting is a complex process that must follow the rules, but these wizard-based services hide as much of the complexity as they can.
With Apptivo, small businesses can connect sales, marketing, financials, procurement, and supply chain technology all in a single app. Apptivo even offers a free tier, although it’s restricted to three users and doesn’t come with all of the helpful integrations like Google Suite, Quickbooks, and Slack. Apptivo does provide invoicing and expense reporting features, but you’ll still need to purchase a separate accounting software.
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.
With the growing number of web-based applications this is changing, however, as verifying and testing web-based interfaces is easier and there are various tools that help with this, including free open source projects. Please see below for a list of popular and useful tools, projects, books and resources to get started with automated software testing.
Though it is expensive, Unified Functional Testing is one of the most popular tools for large enterprises. UFT offers everything that developers need for the process of load testing and test automation, which includes API, web services, and GUI testing for mobile apps, web, and desktop applications. A multi-platform test suite, UFT can perform advanced tasks such as producing documentation and providing image-based object recognition. UFT can also be integrated with tools such as Jenkins.
Core product functionalities such as accounting, cash management, purchasing, subscription billing and financial consolidation are present. Easier information entry and error minimization are possible with the platform’s general ledger. The system can cut down income losses and is able to effectively control margins and costs. Computing for currency difference is much easier using the solution as it offers multi-currency support. In addition, it can streamline compliance by automating sales tax management.
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.
The reality is, there is no “better” or “worse” in the automated vs. manual debate, there’s just “different.” Each approach has its own advantages and disadvantages. Manual testing is performed by a human sitting in front of a computer carefully going through application via SQL and log analysis, trying various usage and input combinations, comparing the results to the expected behavior and recording the results. Automated testing is often used after the initial software has been developed. Lengthy tests that are often avoided during manual testing can be run unattended. They can even be run on multiple computers with different configurations.
LiveAgent is a little more expensive for the most basic plan, but there are a lot of features packed in that you wouldn’t get from similarly priced options. Customer satisfaction and self-service tools, service level agreement rules and reporting, and even canned answers for common questions are all included at the lowest subscription cost. LiveAgent also has an optional VOIP tool as an extra add-on for companies who want to integrate their customer phone calls directly with their help desk.
Robot Framework is an open-source automation framework that implements the keyword-driven approach for acceptance testing and acceptance test-driven development (ATDD). Robot Framework provides frameworks for different test automation needs. But its test capability can be further extended by implementing additional test libraries using Python and Java. Selenium WebDriver is a popular external library used in Robot Framework.
Of all the automated testing tools on our list, none of them is more simple or adaptable than this one. If you’re not from a programming background or you’ve never done automated software testing before, Ranorex lets you run your test without a script. It easily integrates with other testing tools such as TeamCity and nCover, and it comes with robust debugging capabilities.
Over a decade of domain experience has taught us that there are some of the best automation testing tools available in the market, some of which are open and some available as commercial versions. We have the expertise to help you choose the most effective software testing tool(s) based on your specific requirements and effectively use these tools to meet your exact requirements.