Tools Knowledge Base

About The Tools Knowledge Base

Purpose

"... a trusted directory of tools that support Devops, SDET and Test activity."

Searchable Tools Directory

The Knowledge Base hosts a database of (currently 2442) tools that support DevOps, SDET and Testing activities. Each tool record has a limited amount of data. Our intention is not to replicate or improve on the web pages that the tool author or vendor has created. Rather, we collect the minimal amount of information that allows us to index the tools information for searching.

The critical item of information we collect is the URL of the web page that summarises the tool features. This page is visited every evening by our automated crawler and indexed for searching. Every word and phrase on the page is indexed, and therefore searchable.

The search facility can be used to find tools matching your search criteria. Boolean AND OR NOT can be used to create more complex searches. Use the HELP link near the search button to learn more.

Tools that cannot be found in the directory can be added by registered, logged-in users.

Integrations

We would like to add a feature to the website to allow integrations between tools to be identified. Not available yet, but it is high on our 'to do' list.

Resources

Resources represent useful content associated with a tool. This content might be an uploaded document, image, script or help text. You don't have to upload the content - if the content already exists on the web, you can just provide a title and URL to that content.

Only registered, logged-in users can add resources.

We Index the Blogs of 327 Bloggers

We have compiled a list of 327 bloggers and we visit their blog sites every evening. All these posts are indexed and searchable and there are currently 39226 blog posts in the index. We do not store the blog posts, we just provide the searchable index and link to the source. All bloggers have been categorised and you can see the most recent blogs in any category, or for any blogger or for any tag (that was assigned by the author).

Questions & Answers

Every tool and every resource can be discussed. Registered users can post questions and the notification system will send a message to all users of that tool. Registered users can post answers to the question, or comment on the question or suggested answers. Questions and answers can be scored positively or negatively.

Only registered, logged-in users can post questions or answers or score them.

Embeddable Content

One of the key benefits of registering on the site if you can access our free to use webservices. Our intention is to provide some benefits to contributors.

Registered users can identify and flag tools they use and embed a report of the tools they use in their website. If you want to download the html code unique to you, you can download it from here.

The Need for a Tools Directory

For as long as the web has existed, there have been websites that provide lists of references to tools that support, for example, test automation. These web pages and sites have been set up by individuals, wishing to share their knowledge of software tools for their own communities.

It's a burdensome task to create and maintain these lists. The vendors move webpages around, they rename tools, they merge and split tool functionality, they add new tools and new vendors and tools are popping up all the time. It's really hard to maintain the accuracy of lists like these. When I look around the various websites that provide such lists, this is what I tend to find:

  • Listings usually do not provide any detail beyond a simple categorisation, e.g. 'Web Testing Tools.'
  • Invariably, the lists are incomplete. The common tools are listed, but less well-known tools are often missing.
  • Most tools listings are dominated by proprietary tools. Open source tools are less well-represented, although some 'free tools' listings do exist, they are still incomplete.
  • Many tools have functionality that spans multiple tool categories. Some are available in proprietary, or open source versions, workstation, server or SaaS platforms. Sometimes they are listed in multiple categories, often they are not.
  • Tools listings often only provide a link to a vendor web page for the tool. There is little additional data available. Licensing mechanisms, features, available platforms, target host operating systems, protocols or databases and integrations are not provided.
  • Tools listings cannot be searched in any meaningful way.
  • Tools cannot be compared in terms of their functionality, licensing, host or target platforms or integrations.

Some History

In 1991, Dorothy Graham compiled a handbook for software testing tools called "The CAST Report". In 1998/9, Paul Gerrard worked with Dot as a co-author on the Fourth edition of the report. Over the four editions, the number of tools grew from about 70, peaking at 150 then reducing to 62. This reduction reflected some consolidation of the testing tools industry and also a trend of packaging of tools into integrated suites. The report was priced to reflect the cost of a couple of days consultancy - in principle, the report saved you the expense of hiring a tools expert.

Nearly 25 years since that first edition, the number of tools that people need to be aware of has grown dramatically. There are several reasons for this.

  • The market has matured of course. In 1991, there were few test management, performance testing and data management products - now there are dozens of these and other tool types.
  • The range of technologies we test has expanded from green screens and Windows applications to web sites, web services and mobile apps on a range of platforms. The Internet of Things is introducing new interfaces and protocols as exciting products and standards emerge.
  • The emergence of Agile approaches forced the members of diverse teams to collaborate. Practitioners need to understand their own and other people's disciplines tools. The number of tools we use has grown from a few to fifteen or twenty across the whole teams.
  • The increasing popularity of DevOps approaches requires (what might be called) extreme automation of build, test and deployment processes.
  • The use of virtualised and cloud infrastructure services mean environments can be created, used and discarded with ease so the pain of environment management is much reduced.