Automatic testing without a test tool
I work for a company whose main product is a web application written in Java which makes extensive use of applets and servlets.
We have found that none of the testing products supplied by the major vendors is really compatible with our product. We are, therefore, about to try and write some test scripts of our own.
At the moment we are thinking along the line of using two main techniques:
1) Java programmers will attempt to provide something that pretends that a certain event has just occurred ( an item on a sub-menu has just been chosen, for instance) and
2) Using a scripting language to create forms that can change the database on a server.
If anyone would like to give us advice on our techniques, other techniques, languages and environments etc we would be grateful.
Re: Automatic testing without a test tool
if you have access to the Java code itself, and can call the actual API's that will be used in the end product, I like to create wrapper functions for these API's.
This way if they CHANGE the API, you will only have to change it in one place - the wrapper code used by your team.
If you are looking to do more GUI testing rather than API testing, things get a little hairy, unless you know how to really interact with the Java GUI classes (Swing? I think it's called? - I'm a C++ guy myself)
NO matter what you do, you are in for a not so easy road. Not exactly hard hard, but it's going to take some work and commitment to get it up and done. But people have done it! Before I got here, we had some rudimentary test tools to do some web testing on our pages. Did the job, but not really expandable. Now we use a COTS tool, and I am the master of my domain.
Good luck! Just be sure to plan out EXACTLY what you plan on having your tool accomplish