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Jolt Awards 2014: The Best Testing Tools

, June 03, 2014 The best testing tools of the past 12 months
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Due to the changes sweeping development, testing tools have become considerably more complicated during the last few years. Whereas until recently, testing involved validating PC and server software, it now must address the quality needs of mobile devices in their nearly infinite variety, Web platforms of all kinds, and the cloud, of course. To these must still be added the PC and the traditional server. Each of these platforms presents unique challenges to testing and requires unique tools. On the cloud and on mobile devices, the needs are still actively evolving, putting additional pressure on tools vendors to come up with useful and usable solutions.

With so many different factors to consider, testers are obliged to sift through a profusion of point tools to get the coverage they want. This year's Jolt Awards for testing tools helps identify some of the best products in the category. As we do every year, we encourage vendors and readers to nominate tools they've found to be particularly meritorious. The judges then go through the descriptions and hash out the top six tools — the finalists. These are then reviewed in detail both individually and collectively, and the judges then post their comments to an internal discussion board before taking a final vote.

If there are questions or concerns, these are addressed collectively, frequently with the assistance of tech support at the vendor, which provides us with an additional view of the company's product. Ultimately, the six finalists are ranked. The top product wins the Jolt Award, the two runners up are accorded Jolt Productivity Awards, and the remaining three products retain their original title of finalists.

All six products this year were stellar. This high level of quality is testimony to how well vendors have responded to the testing challenge, even though all, I believe, would agree there is much work left to be done catering to new platforms.

As occasionally happens, votes were very close among the top three products — had any one judge voted differently, the order of the prize winners would have been different. This is another way of saying that the prize winners in this category are all truly excellent products, worthy of your thoughtful consideration. The judges in this category were Gastón Hillar, David Mulcihy, Roland Racko, Mike Riley, Rick Wayne, and me, Andrew Binstock.

We thank our sponsors, Rackspace (who let us use their cloud for testing and administrative functions) and Safari Books Online (who kindly provide free subscriptions to the judges so as to facilitate access to the latest technical writing on development topics.)

 And now, on to the results…

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