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News and events


Welcome to our news archive for 2009.

Our news pages list stories chronologically, the most recent appearing at the top of the list below. Expand each story to read it in full by click the "More information" button below each headline.

nFocus Nominated for IT Blog
Awards 2009


Quick read

The nFocus software testing blog has been shortlisted in this year's IT Blog Awards in the Company/Corporate SME's category.

The nFocus software testing blog has been running since May, and has already gained over a 1000 visits, and is fast approaching the 1500 mark. Further credit to the blog can be observed by its loyal readership of over 200 software testing professionals, with this figure increasing on a daily basis.

The original idea for the blog came from both nFocus Technical Director Danny Crone and Marketing Manager Ryan James. Both believed that passing on information, tips and general advice to the testing community would be well received, and thus the story begins.

The blog covers a range of topics including; automation, tool reviews, tutorials, innovative technology, non functional test advice, manual testing, and industry news.

Contributors include Technical Director Danny Crone, Senior Test Automation Analyst Marc Maurhofer, Principal Consultant Sam Clarke and many more.

If you would like to vote in this year's awards, then please visits: computerweekly

You will find the nFocus software testing blog here.

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Sam Clarke to facilitate Free Intellect Taster Session October 2009


Quick read

Sam Clarke, an nFocus principal consultant, and popular software testing speaker will be facilitating a free to attend session at Intellect on 7 October 2009. The session titled, 'Software Testing - a necessary activity' is outlined in more detail below.

Software Testing – a necessary activity?

  • Why do we need to test software?
  • What are the objectives of testing?
  • How can we spend our test budget to gain maximum return?
  • How do we prevent over runs perceived to be due to testing?

In the current business climate there is increasing pressure to reduce the costs and development cycle time of development of software products. Too often testing is seen as an overhead that can be reduced. However to satisfy an increasingly critical client it is necessary to demonstrate that testing has been performed that not only reduces the risk of defects being uncovered, but also confirms that the product complies with claimed features.

In addition cost of rework due to defects being shipped to clients impacts future development and time to market, potential resulting in a loss of market share.

So cutting back testing can be a false economy, it is important to understand what testing offers and how it can be conducted in a repeatable, pragmatic, efficient and effective manner. This enables the process of testing to be seen as a valuable risk reduction and confidence building exercise.

Testing can also highlight where improvements can be made not only in the product, but in the whole development process. Intellect would like to invite you to an afternoon briefing where nFocus will lead a discussion, about the importance of understanding the need for a pragmatic, efficient and effective testing process and how it is appropriate for your business.

The session will cover

  • objectives of testing from a business and technical view
  • the basic test process
  • the need for a test strategy
  • constraints benefits

nFocus are recognised for their innovative solutions to testing challenges and were a key participant in implementing a novel approach to automating the testing of the Government Gateway. They also have experienced consultants who have delivered valuable advice to leading blue chip and financial services companies.

This interactive afternoon briefing will form the basis of a new, one-day workshop that nFocus will deliver via Intellect titled: Software Testing Strategy.

Delegates attending the workshop will take away knowledge and information which can immediately be used to commence development of a pragmatic test policy and strategy.

Course Details

Date: 07/10/2009
Time: 16:00 - 17:30
Course Leader: Sam Clarke, Principal Consultant, nFocus Ltd
In association with: Intellect
Venue: Intellect Conference Suite, Russell Square House, 10-12 Russell Square, London WC1B 5EE

For further information and booking contact

Sam Baglioni
Training & Services Manager

T: 020 7331 2006

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nFocus Axe's Selenium - an integration guide


Quick read

Support Files

I've been working on getting Selenium to work with Axe for a couple of weeks now and I am pretty happy with the results so far, so I thought that I would share with you this practical walkthrough of how to get the two to talk together. Firstly, it is fair to note the versions that I have been running with, Axe: version, Selenium RC: version 1.0.1, Java: version 6 update 14

To start with, you are going to have to download and install all these tools. In order to get Selenium RC up and running, you are going to need to download and install Java, like I said, I'm using version 6 update 14, typing "java -version" in a command prompt reveals.

The files to support this entry can be downloaded below.

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Download file

nFocus reach number one in Google's natural search listings amongst success of it's VTS service


Quick read

nFocus Limited, an independent software testing consultancy based in Telford, Shropshire is proud to announce that they have reached page one of Google’s natural search listings for a number of its keywords.

The keywords include “Software Testing Consultancy” and most notably the “Virtual Test Service” where nFocus are listed number one, on page one.

nFocus specialise in reducing costs for their clients through quality improvements, time savings, and efficiencies in their software testing. The exciting news that nFocus have reached page one of Google’s natural search listings comes at a time of great interest in its innovative and award winning Virtual Test Service.

The Virtual Test Service aims to reduce clients regression costs by up to fifty percent when compared to in-house approaches. The service is delivered as a managed service where the nFocus team automates manual test scripts, and then executes these as a “regression set”, remotely in the clients environment, to the clients schedule, whenever the client needs them.

The VTS service helps organisations to deliver high quality, reliable and predictable software by combining a pragmatic approach (which utilises best of breed technologies and practice developed across many clients and over many engagements) with pure testing consultancy.

nFocus’s investment in automated testing means that its clients can benefit from automated testing without experiencing any of the drawbacks inherent with performing automation themselves. The Virtual Test Service is offered on a 'firm-price' basis and is governed by a flexible Service Level Agreement which is agreed with the client.

Further information about this service is available at the nFocus VTS homepage .

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nFocus’s Technical Director starts exciting new Testing Blog


Quick read

nFocus Limited is a specialist software and systems testing consultancy. It helps clients of all sizes to quality assure their business critical systems and assist them to consistently deliver high quality software and applications.

Today the team are thrilled to announce that they have started blogging, to great success. The nFocus blog is updated on a weekly basis and has already started driving new traffic to the nFocus website and in turn informing new prospects of nFocus services.

The blog was designed as a way of sharing expertise, discussing articles, and making sense of the many perplexing issues that the nFocus team solve every day.

A few examples of recent blog articles written by nFocus’s Technical Director Danny Crone include

  • Testing applications on Windows 7 RC1
  • TestComplete 7 - complete!
  • AutomatedQA Introduces TestComplete 7
  • iPhone apps - iTest...uTest, can anyone Test?

The blog can be located here and nFocus have encouraged people to follow the nFocus twitter page to keep up to date with new blog articles and general nFocus news. nFocus’s Marketing Manager, Ryan James, was happy to report that the nFocus twitter page has already attracted a reasonable following and he hopes it will continue to do so.

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nFocus’s Sam Clarke to present at the BCS SIGIST conference; ‘Surviving the Testing Squeeze’ March 2009


Quick read

‘Surviving the Testing Squeeze’ March 2009.

The popularity of Sam’s session at this year’s Test Management Summit has led to him being invited to present at this year’s BCS SIGIST conference themed ‘Surviving the Testing Squeeze.’ Sam’s session titled 'Agile cracked unit testing, but what about the rest?' has been developed and expanded to include his findings from the TMS 2009.

The event is taking place at the Royal College of Obstetricians & Gynaecologists, London, NW1 4RG.

"The theme of the March event is - 'Surviving the Testing Squeeze' and covers survival during an economic downturn and also has a secondary interpretation familiar to all testers: there's never enough time to test everything. With increasing pressure on development and test teams to deliver more high quality defect free software with fewer resources in less time it's not surprising that some are turning increasingly to Agile methods; hence the focus on some of the talks and workshops on this important topic..."

To find out more about the BCS SIGIST conference 'Surviving the Testing Squeeze' please click here.

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nFocus - first UK company to partner with Inflectra to deliver highly cost effective test case management software


Quick read

16 February 2008, Telford, UK, nFocus, a leading UK software testing company, today announced that it has signed the first UK partnership agreement with Inflectra, a US provider of products and services to manage the software development lifecycle.

nFocus will be offering Inflectra products to all its existing customers for test management purposes. The company will also offer Inflectra’s products to other organisations that are currently undertaking software development and testing.

Through the agreement nFocus will sell and support Inflectra’s products including SpiraTest, a highly cost effective Quality Assurance and Test Management system with integrated release scheduling and defect tracking. In addition to SpiraTest, nFocus will offer SpiraPlan to provide a complete Agile Project Management System and SpiraTeam Application Lifecycle Management (ALM) system that manages project requirements.

By partnering with Inflectra, nfocus is adding to its existing portfolio of software testing services, from test consultancy, test automation, regression testing to the use of best-of-breed technologies and innovative test management processes to improve the reliability and performance of software systems.

Danny Crone, Technical Director of nFocus commented on the partnership: “Our search for a tool set to manage test cases effectively, while offering traceability and coverage of test execution, led us to Inflectra’s spiraTest. spiraTest also integrates well with test automation tools and is a highly cost effective alternative to other test case management tools. We are looking forward to a long-term business partnership with Inflectra and are delighted to be representing them in the UK.”

He continued: “spiraTest in particular will be a perfect addition to our new regression testing Virtual Test Service which aims to reduce the cost of regression testing. The regression test service assures that the changes made to our clients’ applications do not adversely affect existing functionality. Manually checking is a costly and time consuming process and we believe that that our approach can reduce our client’s current regression costs by up to 50%.”

Adam Sandman, Director at Inflectra Corporation added: “Inflectra welcomes the chance to develop a closer working partnership with nFocus. This is a perfect match for us as we are now able to introduce our services to more UK organisations, while gaining a competitive advantage through a working partnership with nFocus’s test consultants and their in-depth knowledge of software testing.”

SpiraTest® overview

SpiraTest is a complete Quality Assurance and Test Management system with integrated release scheduling and defect tracking. It manages your project's Requirements, Test Cases and Defects/Bugs with Requirements Traceability and comprehensive coverage analysis. For the project manager, it provides the ability to create, edit and delete a project's requirements in a hierarchical organization that resembles a typical scope matrix. Each requirement is mapped to one or more test cases that can be used to validate that your functionality works as expected.

For the tester, SpiraTest provides the ability to execute groups of test cases - along with their test steps – so that the testers can follow the instructions and determine if the system being tested behaves as expected. Any deviations from expected behaviour can then be recorded as defects and managed in the defect tracking module.

SpiraPlan™ overview

As described in the Agile Manifesto, traditional waterfall software methodologies and lifecycles have failed to delivery projects on-time and on-budget. In addition, many systems built this way will fail to provide the expected business value as there is no ability to quickly refine the requirements as the project progresses.

Consequently software development has been transformed with these new ideas and concepts, with new methodologies such as Extreme Programming (XP), Scrum, DSDM and AUP becoming common. However the traditional tools of project management - requirements specifications, high level project plans, GANTT charts, white-board schedules and top-down task management - are too cumbersome and not well suited.

SpiraPlan provides a complete Agile Project Management System in one package, that can manages your project's requirements, releases, iterations, tasks and issues in one environment, fully synchronized.

SpiraTeam overview

SpiraTeam is an integrated Application Lifecycle Management (ALM) system that manages your project's requirements, releases, test cases, issues and tasks in one unified environment. SpiraTeam contains all of the features provided by SpiraTest - our highly acclaimed quality assurance system and SpiraPlan - Inflectra's agile-enabled project management solution. With integrated customizable dashboards of key project information, SpiraTeam allows a user to take control of an entire project lifecycle and synchronize the hitherto separate worlds of development and testing.

nFocus Virtual Test Service

The latest addition to nFocus’s managed service portfolio, Virtual Test Service; meets the needs of their clients by assuring that the changes made to their applications do not adversely affect existing functionality. Manually checking this is a costly and time consuming process and nFocus have developed an approach that they believe will reduce their client’s current regression costs by up to 50%.

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Sam Clarke facilitates session at the Test Managers Summit 2009


Quick read

"Agile seems to have cracked the unit test issue but what about the rest of testing?"

Sam will draw on experience gained whilst developing and implementing automated testing for the Government Gateway (a large complex authentication and routing system) to demonstrate how the approach could be applied to the perceived testing challenges of the Agile methodology.

The challenges faced by the test team had many similarities with Agile projects. These included

  • Provide continuous and robust testing on each build of the system
  • Perform regression testing to ensure changes were fully backwards compatible
  • Ensure user applications were not compromised by changes

The solution was to incrementally construct an automated set of functional tests. The approach, which is more resilient to change than traditional automation, involved the abstraction of the test definitions away from the underlying automation toolset. This approach and the use of test automation tools is well placed to be help solve the challenges of continuous functional and acceptance testing in an Agile continuous build environment.

After a short presentation a facilitated discussion will take place covering

  • Participant experience with testing practices in an Agile environment
  • Discussion on testing experience, particularly automated Functional Testing with "Continual integration"
  • Discussion on raw automation or decoupled with frameworks? Positives, negatives and interesting facts
  • Discussion on whether we agree that Agile and Scrum have cracked the unit test issue?
  • Wrap up and summary

To find out more about the Test Management Summit, please click here.

Following Sam's successful and well attended session; please find the sessions output

Test Management Summit Workshop Feedback

Test Management Summit Slide Deck

Sam Clarke Bio

Sam has 40 years experience in IT. He specialises in IT related testing and has a proven record of defining, implementing and managing testing strategies for proprietary software development, banking, insurance, utilities, manufacturing, retail, and telecommunications. He uses his consulting experience to review and report on an organisation’s testing processes giving options for improvement where necessary. Sam is skilled in facilitation of workshops covering project definition, project risks, test strategy, problem solving and quality improvement. Now a Principal Consultant at nFocus, his background includes consultancy and test management at IBM Global Services and IBM Product Development. He’s a popular and well known speaker having presented at several UK, European and international testing and quality conferences.

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