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Software testing is an integral, costly, and time-consuming activity in the software development life cycle. As is true for software development in general, reuse of common artifacts can provide a significant gain in productivity. In addition, because testing involves running the system being tested under a variety of configurations and circumstances, automation of execution-related activities offers another potential source of savings in the testing process. This paper explores the opportunities for reuse and automation in one test organization, describes the shortcomings of potential solutions that are available “off the shelf,” and introduces a new solution for addressing the questions of reuse and automation: the Software Testing Automation Framework (STAF), a multiplatform, multilanguage approach to reuse. It is based on the concept of reusable services that can be used to automate major activities in the testing process. The design of STAF is described. Also discussed is how it was employe d to automate a resource-intensive test suite used by an actual testing organization within IBM.
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