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Tips and Tricks with Microsoft Test Manager

Written by Craig Butler on December 6, 2012

Microsoft Test Manager is a powerful test management application that integrates with Visual Studio to allow for manual and automated testing. For those interested in learning more about this application, Microsoft has a Virtual Machine and set of labs available for download here.

I’ve had the opportunity to work with this application over the past few weeks as I assisted with a test case migration from Quality Center to TFS. As with any application, there are several things to be aware of.

    • When adding parameter values, you need to hit enter or get the focus out of the current iteration of values for the * denoting changes to appear in the window header. Hitting ‘Save and Close’ or just the ‘Save’ button should also suffice. I was moving over large volumes of test cases and relying on the * to tell me when I needed to save a test case. I had to go back and fill in values for parameters a few times before I started always closing the test case with the ‘Save and Close’ option.
    • Everything you click on when making an ‘Action Recording’ is counted. Even if it’s just a stray click on an empty part of the page, it is still recorded. This can be especially troublesome when recording ‘Shared Steps’ that may not always start from the same page. For instance, if your shared step started with clicking a link on the main menu, but you accidently clicked a blank pane before clicking the menu, the blank pane must be present anytime that ‘Shared Step’ is played back or it will fail (you can, however, skip just that part of the ‘Shared Step’ by clicking the ‘Skip and continue’ button and continue along and everything will be fine, but you do have the hassle of clicking inside the error box anytime that step is called).
    • I’ve run into several cases where the ‘Action Recording’ tried to play back faster than the pages loaded. In these cases, it failed to find the control it was looking for and reported an error. Generally, you can just click the ‘Replay this action’ button on the error box and move things right along. The only time this hasn’t worked for me was the instance described in the bullet point above, where an errant click on a blank pane caused the ‘Shared Step’ to fail unless it was on the main page of the website.
    • It is currently impossible to manually add line breaks into the steps of the test cases using Test Manager. In fact, if you copy a step from somewhere and it has actual line breaks in it, only the first line will be pasted into Test Manager. A simple solution to this can be found on CodePlex: TFS Test Steps Editor. The Test Steps Editor is a simple interface for easily modifying the test steps for a test case, and allows the user to manually add line breaks (using Shift+Enter) and paste in steps that already contain line breaks.

I highly recommend you check out Test Manager and go through the labs Microsoft has provided. They highlight just how powerful this testing tool is.