This hands-on review of the ACCELQ test automation and test management tool includes the installation process, functionalities, etc:
ACCELQ is a refreshing offering in the test automation space, with an approach uniquely focusing on the design and maintenance aspects of the automation life cycle.
It is a cloud-based offering with test automation and test management capabilities for both functional and API testing requirements.
This tool offers a codeless approach to test automation, and its intuitiveness and comprehensiveness can pleasantly surprise you. From experience, it is said that most tools in this segment (codeless) cater to be simple, vanilla use cases. ACCELQ seemed to bring a lot more innovation and freshness to this concept.
What You Will Learn:
=> Website: ACCELQ Website
ACCELQ’s approach is similar to Behavior Driven test automation, with the development mirroring the business processes within the application. The design-first approach which the tool enables during test development is interesting and there are subtle ways in which it promotes modularity and reusability of test cases.
It also supports a diverse technology stack covering all web technologies as well as legacy platforms. It also offers the same comprehensiveness in testing ERP platforms such as Salesforce, Pega, and SAP. It also extends the codeless approach to full-blown API testing, which makes it one of the most exciting products in the test automation tool space.
Although the primary focus during the evaluation was on the Web/UI automation, it was found that ACCELQ offers a similar, simplified approach to backend test automation tool, with robust support for Databases, Messaging Queues, and even Mainframes!
Having created test cases spanning UI and API calls, it determines how this tool could achieve seamless automation across a complex enterprise technology stack. Various workflows in the tool reflect enterprise-grade maturity and it is Agile & DevOps ready straight out of the box.
ACCELQ offers native integration with all the leading tools in the DevOps space and in the time spent on the evaluation, we can integrate with an instance of Jira and Bamboo without any complexity.
The integration process itself was simple and the information flow between the tools was inarguable, thorough.
Getting Started With ACCELQ
ACCELQ is a SAAS offering delivered both on cloud and on-premise models. Once the accounts are set up on the cloud, all it took is the click of a link in an email to get started. Out-of-the-box support is also available for SSO against leading IDPs, but here, we chose to set up our trial with ACCELQ’s native authentication.
Being a completely web-based application, not having to install an IDE makes things a lot simpler. In fact, the tool’s sleek and modern UX driven design is one of its clear differentiators. Very few tools in the testing space can claim a UX/finish that comes close to this offering.
Before jumping into the functionalities of the tool, let’s see a couple of simple initial set up steps:
Step 1: View Recorder
This is a Chrome plugin for analyzing the UI layout of the application for test development.
Step 2: ACCELQ Local Agent
The Local Agent is a REST-based Java client and will run on a machine where the actual test executions take place. This allows you to test your application behind the firewall, while you are still subscribed to ACCELQ’s cloud service. There is no need to expose the application-under-test to ACCELQ services.
In our evaluation, we were able to test applications in our internal network without any hassles.
Note: ACCELQ provides a couple of cloud-based agents to utilize for test execution during trial/evaluation. Therefore, setting them up was not a mandatory step for our trial.
The setup of the local agent is straightforward and involves downloading the agent, unzipping it, and updating the properties for the agent to register with the ACCELQ server. The properties, too, are generated through a guided approach and the details of each of these fields are clearly laid-out, making it an uncomplicated process.
We were able to set these up in a few minutes and the process is well-documented on ACCELQ’s support site, as well as contextually, in the product.
ACCELQ sports a clean and uncluttered look that speaks to our minimalist sensibilities. The design and layout were visually appealing and efficient.
The application is divided into four logical sections, and the navigation between pages and sections was very intuitive. Even as a beginner on the tool, you will feel that the navigation is fluidic. The UI is truly refreshing and slick! Kudos to the team for raising the bar!
The “Global Tool Bar” enables easy creation of all the entities in the tool, to search and navigate to various assets, and kick off tests.
The Help Center located at the bottom-right of the screen is a nifty addition that lists documentation and instructional videos. And by the virtue of it being context-aware, we can quickly grasp and understand the various concepts in ACCELQ.
For the purposes of review, we chose a scenario consisting of a UI flow to understand the automation approach in ACCELQ. The remainder of the section documents our experience of exploring the tool and developing our first script in ACCELQ.
Application: ACCELQ’s Training Playground
- Login to Qbank
- Capture the Balance from the Account Summary
- Verify the account balance
- Perform Logout
Recognized as a new user on the system, it prompted with a greeting and a brief introduction to the three most important keywords on the application. It is recommended that you focus on these three simple concepts which are central to deriving the best out of the tool.
The 3 Sacred Words by The Wise Wizard!
- Context: The context represents a page in a web application. An application can have multiple contexts. In our flow, the login page would be a context, similarly, the Account summary page would be represented by another context. Every context could, again, have several “views” associated with it. A view represents a visual state of a context, like the things that you see when you click on the “Flights” tab vs. the “Hotels” tab on a travel site.
- Action: Action defines the operations that are performed on a context/page. (For example: Login to Qbank)
- Scenario: Scenario is the test case (all the steps involved in it) and is created by stitching several actions together. Example: Validate Funds transfer on QBank.
Let’s build our scenario:
Here, we have given the title of our Scenario as “Validate Account Balance ”.
Since the project didn’t have any assets (empty sandbox), ACCELQ prompted to record application page Views.
Provide the application https://qbank.accelq.com/ and click on “Record Views”.
ACCELQ opens a tab with the URL and the View Recorder plugin is displayed.
View analyzer captures the page and analyzes the DOM structure of the page to aid in element identification/script development. The view analyzer has several options that prove handy in capturing the views of a page.
Capturing the view is a simple process. Choose the settings needed for the capture, hit “Capture View”, Allow a few seconds for the page to be analyzed and a prompt suggests that the View has been captured. The user is then prompted to provide a name for the context (page) to complete the process of capturing the view.
You can continue this process and capture multiple views in one session. This can be done as you are manually navigating through the workflow on the application-under-test. We captured the two pages that were needed for our test cases.
After the contexts had been created, we were navigated back to ACCELQ where we were prompted to add the steps to the Scenario. We picked the context to start with (QBank Login Page), and ACCELQ prompted to “name” the Action which will be performed on that page. Natural naming with spaces etc. was allowed, and we typed “Login to QBank”.
Following the simple instructions, we listed the Action names for the rest of the steps as well.
It looks somewhat like the below image after all the steps are inserted.
Completion of the Scenario wizard resulted in the scenario’s creation, which listed all the “actions” in the desired order of execution. The only thing remaining in the Road to Mordor is the action logic development.
And while we’re doing all this, ACCELQ was building a repository of reusable building blocks as evident from the “Navigator” view in the image below. All these assets become part of every future test case that we will write.
Action Logic Development
“Perform Login” was an Action created as part of the Scenario. We now need to insert logic (instructions/statements) to accomplish this. In traditional record/playback tools, these steps would have been recorded, but as we noticed in ACCELQ, you explicitly put instructions in the logic editor. This helps to manage the asset more elegantly and includes parameterization etc. for reusability.
Action screen consists of two parts:
- Action Logic Editor: This is the area where the statements are inserted.
- View Canvas: This section contains all the views captured for the context to which this action belongs. (“Perform Login” action is performed on the Login Context and the Views that we captured for the page are displayed here).
You can right-click on the username field in the View and insert the statement for entering the username. Similarly, we have put statements for the password and Sign In button.
The same can be accomplished by simply typing in the Logic Editor, in plain English.
In the above example, ACCELQ accurately recommended the “enter encrypted text in the input field” command for the password field.
At this stage, we were also prompted to review the attributes for the element which led us to the Element Explorer.
ACCELQ picked the set of attributes required to identify the element and it was spot-on, even warning us against manually overriding the suggested selectors with unstable attributes!
We have not looked beyond the efficient, native element identification in the tool in our process, but for those who need it, the tool also supports conventional element identification based on XPath or CSS selectors.
The tool used “Natural Language Programming” and allowed us to type the desired operation in plain English. We were initially apprehensive about this claim, but ACCELQ has put to rest our concerns on this being a “gimmick”. The list of available commands appeared to be exhaustive and we found that it was neat of the tool to pick up on synonyms!
I continue with the same process for the other two Actions and done!
Thus we can summarize this section as, through simple guided flows, the tool created modular assets (pages/contexts) and re-usable actions.
Test Execution And Reporting
ACCELQ allowed us to trigger the test from the top toolbar “Run” button. We picked the scenario that we had created and set necessary configuration flags (OS/Browser combinations, parallel executions, scheduled runs, notification settings, self-healing settings, etc.).
During the evaluation, the results were easily interpretable and displayed at a granular level of every operation. The tool also captured a comprehensive set of screenshots to complement the execution. Defects in Jira could be created with a mere click of a button!
Self-healing seems to be the buzz of the day. Pretty much every vendor in the segment has some version of self-healing as part of their offering. To know how ACCELQ differentiates its version is something new to experience. Most tools toy around with a set of XPath variations and keep adding to the repository as the application undergoes change.
On ACCELQ, we have deliberately modified few elements, each to a different level of complexity such as an attribute change, position updates, DOM structure changes, text changes, etc. Some use cases were particularly interesting, such as synonym-based detection.
Opportunities For Improvements
The platform provided a unified view of the testing cycle with UI, API, and other testing requirements nicely wrapped under the same hood. However, at least some basic implementation of performance metrics or integration with an existing solution would round it off even better.
Mobile automation support is also something not available currently. The team is working to get a similar level of seamlessness into Mobile testing.
My past evaluations of several products in this space had rendered me quite skeptical
with ACCELQ’s claim of being completely codeless, because a lot of low-code/no-code automation tools traditionally had a rather narrow view of automation.
After having extensively used the tool, I now consider myself to be a convert who has not faced the conventional pitfalls that arise as a result of the compromise on functionality in pursuit of simplicity. The onboarding was a breeze and made me appreciate the efforts behind it.
A quick walkthrough of the application with the view recorder resulted in a seamless creation of the structure for the scenario and all its assets. ACCELQ takes a unique approach (what they officially call a “design-first” approach) to produce test assets easy to reuse and manage.
Having spent enough time in test automation space, I know how painful the maintenance of test scripts becomes after the initially recorded flow. ACCELQ seems to have focused on this pain point, and they succeeded to a great extent. Element Identification is visual, and the tool is adept at picking up the right attributes.
I’ve found the scripting to be very expressive and the command library extensive. And like I had mentioned, reporting was top notch!
In my opinion, ACCELQ is a bold attempt which really sets the tone for the future of
Quality Automation Tools. Bravo to the team for keeping it simple and efficient!