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Philips Significantly Reduces the Cost of Test Automation
Philips is a leading health technology company focused on improving people’s health and enabling better outcomes across the health continuum from healthy living and prevention, to diagnosis, treatment and home care. Philips leverages advanced technology and deep clinical and consumer insights to deliver integrated solutions. Headquartered in the Netherlands, the company is a leader in diagnostic imaging, image-guided therapy, patient monitoring and health informatics, as well as in consumer health and home care.
Client Contact: Vinay Krishnamurthy – Analytics Manager
Increase in Localized Languages
Reduction in Test Execution Time
0 %
Increase in test automated
0 %
Framework development time eliminated
0 mos

Executive Summary:

Philips selected AscentialTest for test automation of PACS, a software platform for accessing a patient’s radiological history, including diagnostic reports, exam notes, clinical history and images. The test team developed a set of cross-platform tests running on both thick and thin clients, saving a significant amount of time and effort as compared with previous testing tool solutions. With AscentialTest, Philips was able to:

  • Normalize thick and thin PACS clients using object recognition capability so that one set of tests can be executed across three platforms, localized in 6 different languages.
  • Eliminate the need for a testing framework, which in the past had taken 6 to 8 months to build and stabilize.
  • Increase the number of tests that could be automated by 15% because of image and text recognition features.
  • Reduce the average time to automate a test scenario from 6 days to 2 1/2 to 3 1/2 days. Reduce test execution time by 50%.
  • Achieve maintenance goal of 5% of test creation time.

Client Objective:

When Vinay Krishnamurthy of Philips was tasked with developing a testing solution for PACS, he faced a number of technical challenges. The target application is deployed in three different versions to meet the needs of various types of end users. The GUI is a mixture of MFC and web controls, deployed as both thick and thin clients. These versions are then translated into 6 different languages for localized markets. Test verification requires a lot of comparison of images, along with text that is drawn upon those images to report measurements and other attributes of the scans.

Developing a separate set of test for each of the deployed versions of PACS was cost prohibitive and the organization wanted to avoid building a testing framework, which in past projects had taken 6 to 8 months to build and stabilize with existing commercial and open source tools. They were also concerned about the huge maintenance costs that they had experienced.

Furthermore, with more than 8000 tests to automate Philips wanted a scriptless solution, but had learned from experience that a record-playback tool would not provide the robustness that was required.

Our Approach:

Philips selected AscentialTest because they recognized the potential for designing a solution that could be used across platforms. Using AscentialTest’s drag and drop interface, the team uses snapshots to create object definitions that are recognized across all three platforms. They benefit from an array of options for defining objects that were difficult to recognize with other testing tools that they evaluated. Philips heavily relies on the ‘RenderText’ and ‘RenderImage’ capabilities of AscentialTest. ‘RenderText’ allows them to validate text that is drawn on scanned images. In the past, tests that require verification of that text had to be completed by manual testers. Vinay estimates that the team can automate 15% more tests because of this text recognition feature. Likewise, ‘RenderImage’ has allowed for the recognition of images for both navigation and verification of tests.

Because of the image-centric domain of PACS, Philips requires very sophisticated image ‘capture and compare’ capability. Zeenyx worked closely with Philips to enhance the existing image verification capabilities of AscentialTest. Several features were added to provide the ability to more specifically focus on the ‘area of interest’, apply masks, and tolerate for pixel and color differences.

Philips also cites AscentialTest data options as a critical component to allow the tests to be shared across platforms. By making use of ‘Project Data’, ‘Plan Data’, and ‘Attributes’, Philips is able to easily change key pieces of test configuration data in a single location to launch tests against different versions of PACS in the various test environments.

Vinay explains that the team creates two files for each page in the target application, one with the object definitions and a second with a meta-layer of steps for driving and verifying the application. Test developers use those components to build the automated tests via drag and drop.

Vinay says that the pace of automation has increased because of the reusable nature of the test components. As the more objects and steps are created, the time required to build new tests continues to decrease.

The bulk of the tests that the team has created to date are used for their ‘Smoke’ and ‘Regression’ tests runs. Recently they created a ‘Sanity’ test comprised of a handful of tests that were ‘ported’ to test six localized versions of PACS, created for different language markets. The team was surprised that it took only two days to port a test to all six languages using AscentialTest’s ‘Translate’ feature.

Results Delivered:

Philips has been able to exceed their goal of reducing the time and cost of developing automated tests by 50%. Using AscentialTest, they have reduced the average time to build an automated test scenario from 6 to 2 ½ to 3 ½ days. They have also been able to cut execution time in half. The automation team has integrated AscentialTest with TFS to launch tests and have taken advantage of a recent AscentialTest feature where ‘failed’ tests can be easily selected and rerun without user intervention.

Philips credits the support that they received from both Zeenyx and MatryxSoft, their local distributor, for their success with AscentialTest. We are happy to have exceeded their expectations for response time for fixes and enhancement requests.

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What We Are Up To Next

TFS/Azure Integration

Check our new Azure extension for executing AscentialTest command lines in the Azure Marketplace.

We look forward to offering additional integration with Microsoft’s Team Foundation Server and Azure through defect tracking and version control soon.

Omnis Studio

Automated testing support for OMNIS Studio is coming soon. All OMNIS elements will be supported including complex grids, list boxes, tables and tree views.

Custom Objects

Add automated testing support easily for your custom application elements by responding to simple test API messages with json strings. This feature will open up the possibility of testing any GUI element and  will be offered free of charge.

Test Debugger

Set breakpoints in your automated tests, view global and local variables and execute statements to make it easier to debug tests running on any of our supported platforms.

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