T-Plan Robot User Guide

Is T-Plan Robot a Good Choice for Me? 

The most important factor to realize is that since the tool is able to automate anything on the graphical desktop (or mobile), it should therefore be the first choice for any Black Box GUI Automation. Whether you are automating a GUI application, web application, mobile application, or a system component etc. the tool will out perform expectations across all major platforms and environments with ease. Our tool automates as a user would control or operate the system, application or device; in a non-intrusive way.

Object Orientated Automation Tools are focused towards one particular technology... Robot on the other hand is a true cross-device and cross-platform software automation tool, utilising human like automation to drastically reduce the automation effort. In an age where cost reduction and ROI is paramount, investment in a tool that can do it all is very attractive.

Please see below our Top 10 reasons why you would purchase from T-Plan:

1) Automate ANYTHING, ANYWHERE…

  • Platform independence via Java. Robot runs on, and automates all major systems, such Windows, Mac, Linux, Unix, Solaris, Mobile etc.
  • Mobile platform support for Android, iPhone, Windows CE, Blackberry and Symbian.
    • Robot is the only mobile automation solution that allows full control of iOS and Android devices for mobile application automation; without the need for jail-breaking (rooting).
    • Non-Jailbroken (non-rooted) Apple iOS devices can be automated using our T-Plan Server tool with the iOS Mirror connection.
  • Automate ANY system. As automation runs at the GUI level, via the use of VNC, the tool can automate most applications. E.g. Java, C++/C#, .NET, HTML (web/browser), mobile, command line interfaces; also, applications usually considered impossible to automate like Flash/Flex, HTML5 etc.
  • Robot is environment agnostic - i.e. it can run on any platform... the same version... the same scripts... everything the same (licenses / look and feel etc.)! It can be used to automate almost any application or device... mobile / legacy / point of sale (cash machines etc.) / radar / GIS mapping etc.
  • As we only have one version of the tool supporting Windows, Mac, Linux etc. we do not charge different prices (like our competitors) for the tool running in the different environments.

2) Non-Intrusive.

  • Robot does not require any modification to the system or application under automation.
  • Automate as a user would control or operate the system, application or device. Utilise human like automation to drastically reduce the effort of cross-device and cross-platform software automation.
  • No application authoring to include automation tool hooks etc. I.e. NO Source Instrumentation (compile-time) code required. Allows your ‘vanilla’ application to be received (from the developers or third party) / downloaded (from the market or portal etc.) / installed (like it would be in a production environment) and automated.
    • I.e. True production environment readiness can be achieved, as no foreign code has been included into the application for automation.

3)  Ease of Use, Resourcing & Skill Transfer.

  • Incredibly easy to use, as you are essentially automating how a user would work, by looking at the screen, using visual image recognition. This technology coupled with Record & Replay capabilities make the product very intuitive and very quick to learn.
  • As Robot fully supports Java as a programming language, I guarantee that you will find more people skilled in Java, than any proprietary scripting language supported by other vendors.
    • Makes resourcing easier and more expandable across multiple locations, and off shoring of resource also, should this be a consideration.

4) Full support of Java.

  • Use the worlds most used programming language to write and execute scripts. Support of Java scripts as well as a proprietary scripting language.
  • Java code can be compiled and executed on the fly.
  • Use of Java IDE e.g. Netbeans or Eclipse is supported.
  • Java Script Converter allows conversion of Robot scripts into Java.

5) Open architecture.

  • Extension plugin interface allows easy customization and integration with other tools. E.g. with a relational DB via JDBC.
  • XML / xslt stylesheet reporting that can be utilised into other tools.
  • Full Java API allows integration and interaction with many different toolsets.
  • Provided integrations include MS Excel, Tesseract (Google) OCR or ABBY OCR, and Sikuli etc.
  • Automate using many languages including Chinese, Japanese and Russian with OCR (Optical Character Recognition).
  • Integration with T-Plan's own Test Management (Reporting etc.) and Defect Management products, namely T-Plan Professional and T-Plan Incident Manager.

6) Extensible image comparison and search options.

  • Powerful multiple image search allows changing of window layout, button position etc. E.g. Radar object detection, GIS map automation etc.
  • Object search & background detection to detect objects by color, by color range, and on different backgrounds.
  • Uniquely supplement with java add-ins for e.g. colour matching with image comparison.
  • Static Image Automation – create automation scripts offline from image repositories..
  • Supports automation on Single Desktop, ADB (Android), and over the RFB protocol (better known as VNC).

7) Unattended Batch Execution - CLI (Command Line Execution).

  • Automatic execution of scripts are supported using the incredibly powerful CLI.
  • Allows Robot to become part of an automation framework alongside e.g. HP Quality Center, and other out-of-house / in-house tools.

8) License flexibility.

  • T-Plan charges for each simultaneous connection to the system under automation. Effectively this is a per user license.
  • NO differences based on node locking or floating.
  • NO different prices for different installations per environment (Windows version or Mac/Linux version).
  • Online Update & Upgrade functionality.

9) Competitive Pricing.

  • We operate a purchase (perpetual) and yearly (annual subscription membership). If you want… You buy you keep!
  • Our support charge covers for all major and minor upgrades.
  • Our competitors charge for major upgrades.

10) Excellent support.

  • Customer focused company with development focus to provide customers with functionality they desire.
  • UK based for flexible time zone support etc.
  • Honest and open staff with no intensive sales force and pressure selling techniques.

Making the Difference!

1) Why RPA & Test with the same tool?

Our products are the GUI Automation software solutions of choice, across many market verticals. For RPA projects, automation of manual and often repetitive work activities 24/7 is a cost saving and quality improving exercise, which has benefits for the whole organisation.

For quality assurance activities in industries such as gaming and mobile app development, speed of delivery is of the utmost importance. One of the biggest challenges to any auditable verification process is time. When squeezed for time due to delivery timescales, the quality of the software is normally the first to suffer. Test Automation in this instance can really help in reducing the business risks of releasing a product, that has not had time to go through the proper battery of tests. How... by getting computers to do the job of 'regression testing' whilst the workers are asleep, or by freeing up your workers so that they can concentrate on critical areas of the system that have just been produced.

Organisations are beginning to see the benefit of using the same tool for both RPA and test projects as sharing of intelligence across the two areas can greatly enhance the success of the automation solutions.

The justifications for automation are well documented on the web...so... what are you waiting for?

2) How does our tool work?

By creating a series of scripts or actions, T-Plan Robot can exercise or drive applications in the same way as would an end user. In essence, imagine yourself sitting at your PC and running through a list of 'pre-flight' checks on the software, and recording these. Now imagine the PC, using our Robot software, playing this list back to you over and over again, perhaps under different circumstances etc. and then telling you the results when it was finished. For example... you want to conduct the same list of checks simultaneously on a Windows PC / Windows Tablet / Mac / iPad / Linux PC (Ubuntu etc.) etc. to check that the software works in all of these environments. Welcome to the world of automation...

3) How are we different?

"The same way as would an end user". Robot is an "image based" automation tool and approaches validation from the end-user perspective, providing critical validation that what you want the customer to see, they will actually get. We do this by capturing images and checking these images have remain unchanged during the execution etc. I.e. just like a human would do by comparing 2 photos... or 2 pictures from memory... but doing it programmatically, and therefore eliminating human error and saving time and therefore money!

For test projects, the fact is that if you are not using Robot, you may be automating your code and qualifying that it does not have any bugs that a computer can detect, but a computer isn't a person. A person doesn't read code when they are using an application they work with, or a game. Therefore, without testing your software's interface (GUI) by "seeing it" or "reading it", can you really confidently say that you know your application will deliver the desired experience to the end user. Robot is also platform independent (Java) [environment agnostic] and runs on and automates all major systems such as Windows, Linux and Unix plus certain mobile platforms. The product has the same functionality, look and feel regardless of Operating System (OS). There is no need to relearn the product on various platforms, and your test scripts are completely transferable between platforms. This is a huge point for the gaming industry as many games now have to sit with no alteration of functionality in many different environments, mobile included. Our solution is a one size fits all approach!

4) Time for a change!

Other vendors have an approach that is very developer centric. The 'big boys' all approach automation with very complicated "object oriented" tools. These tools require a development knowledge of the system, and a technical checking of the code behind the displayed result.

5) Resourcing and skill transfer.

As Robot fully supports Java as a programming language, I guarantee that you will find more people skilled in Java, than any proprietary scripting language supported by other vendors. This makes your resourcing easier and more expandable across multiple locations, and off shoring of resource also should this be a consideration.

Do you need to answer these Questions?

  • Automation of a mixture of technologies. Do you need to automate CLI, GUI and/or a web interfaces using one solution? Does your application contain a technology or a feature which is not supported by other tools? T-Plan Robot Enterprise will help! 
  • Automating on less common platforms. Is your system running Solaris, Linux, HP-UX or any other less frequent desktop OS? We support it as long as there's a VNC server for that platform.
  • Cross-platform automation. Do you need to connect to and automate on different platforms inside a single script? Would you like to design scripts which would run across different systems? T-Plan Robot can do it all! An individual component can be represented by an image collection rather than one single image and platform-dependent pieces of code (routines) may be implemented through libraries separately from the main script.
  • Automating with images involved. Does your application display images or objects which are not recognized by the GUI component hierarchy in object oriented tools? Remember it's not a problem for T-Plan Robot.
  • Non-invasive automation is required. There are projects which require no installation of third party components on the system to eliminate any environment risks. As remote desktop technologies are in many cases supported natively by the OS, T-Plan Robot Enterprise is a very good candidate. For example, on Linux you may enable VNC access to your default OS desktop. Mac OS on the other hand provides connection through ARD (Apple Remote Desktop) which is compatible with VNC.  

T-Plan Robot Enterprise is also suitable where: 

  • Fast automation is needed (shorter cycles of work). As you don't have to deal with the underlying technology and the application GUI structure, creation of automated scripts is generally simpler and faster than with object oriented tools.
  • There's a lack of skilled QA staff. As the tool is easy lo learn and understand, it may be operated by a person with very limited programming background.