Parasoft of course isn’t the first tool around to functionally test Ajax apps, but most of the others are low-cost, open source, or otherwise pretty obscure tools that offer only modest levels of test automation.
The challenge is that Ajax-style web apps are difficult to test. Data is highly dynamic, and with the ability to casually mash up multiple pieces of different web pages in much the same way that DJs sample previously recorded music makes rich web apps difficult to test. In a sense, it’s like the Heisenberg principle: the act of observing (and using) an Ajax page may change it.
WebKing 6 does so with an approach that avoids the scripting that is used with most test tools. It starts with visual methods, where the tester points and clicks on objects on a visual grid that are to be exercised. That lets you pick just the portions of an Ajax page (or mashup) that you want to test. And then, if you want to infuse some business logic in the test, you can use Junit. And it freezes data so you can compare apples to apples when running regression tests.
According to Wayne Ariola, vice president of strategy for Parasoft, scripting creates too much noise, in that it’s too brittle for highly dynamic environments like Ajax web clients. Scripts would have to get rewritten each time a page or data source changed. Of course the drawback of not using test scripts is that you lose some flexibility, but with targets as dynamic as Ajax, Ariola claims you don’t have a lot of choice.