Informing the IBM Community

German i developer improves cross-platform testing


Cross platform

A German IBM i-based developer has cut errors and test times with Rational Quality Manager.

Boppard-based Ehrhardt + Partner specialises in warehouse management and transport logistics solutions. But while it does all its original coding on the Power i, it needs to test its software in different environments.

In a new report from IBM, Jens Heinrich, CTO at Ehrhardt + Partner, says: “One of the competitive differentiators of LFS, our flagship warehouse management solution, is that we maintain just one central code base while the solution runs on all major IT platforms and integrates seamlessly with a huge range of ERP systems and databases.”

This, however, makes testing complicated.

“In the past, we recorded all of these tests in a large set of Microsoft Word documents, which was extremely time-consuming,” says Heinrich. “With growing pressure to shorten our release cycles, we had to prevent testing from becoming a bottleneck that would choke our growth.”

IBM Rational Quality Manager lets developers and testers share project information and status updates. To further streamline processes, Ehrhardt + Partner built a custom tool within Rational that automatically performs some tests.

Heinrich says: “Automation plays a key role in helping our development and testing teams to work together efficiently to manage and perform a huge range of tests to ensure our products run perfectly on all the platforms that we support.”

The Ehrhardt + Partner team credit the Rational software for a big improvement in product quality. It now takes just two people to manage the more than 4,000 tests required for each product release.

Heinrich says: “The number of errors found after product launches plummeted, even though we shortened our release cycles – a truly remarkable achievement. We have empowered our developers, enabling them to work more productively. This not only allows us to shorten release cycles – it will also help keep overheads down by reducing the need to hire additional staff as our company grows.”

Ehrhardt + Partner is planning to expand its use of the Rational tool in the future.

Heinrich says: “At the moment, staff who work with our larger customers often need to customise our solutions to meet their unique needs. This can entail more than 100 days of manual work. We are planning to start using Rational Quality Manager to run automated tests that will enable a much faster turnaround for these client-specific modifications. This will enable us to deliver even better customer service.”

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