Questions about Segue
One of my good friends and I have been discussing the broader merits/detractors of using Segue's testing tools. Now, before we go moving this to another forum, my concern is less the functionality of the products, and more about where they are going.
Much like the comments that Jeff N. makes in another thread, he argues that they have a large library of code samples and a large community of users who support the product by offering advice, assistance, and provide additional benefits (like code samples). However, I'd argue that this is the kind of strategy that a company uses if they don't have the ability to truly support their customers.
I see this in stark contrast to the relative lack of activity on in this forum regarding the Rational and Compuware tools. While some might argue that this represents a small user base, the truth (at least as I understand it) is that both Rational and Compuware are extremely competitive at the enterprise level, and that a maintenance contract is part of purchasing their tools. In short, they provide enterprise support for an enterprise sale and rely far less on the substantially less informed (at least compared to people sitting next to the development team) assistance of outside consultants and/or a user community.
Then there is the question of stability and the likelihood that I would be selecting a company that is going to be around over the long haul. Their stock is in the tank and unlike some of the other companies in the software industry, they aren't necessarily large enough to deal with that and compete as Mercury, Rational, and Compuware beat on them from the high end (enterprise) and beat off the RSW's and Cyrano's creeping up from the low end.
Plus, I understand that Gartner recently dropped Segue out of their "magic quadrant" of Automated Software Quality companies that both have a vision and the ability to execute that vision. While analysts certainly aren't the last word in knowing where a tool is going, or which ones are the best to purchase, they do tend to keep their fingers on the industry's pulse, and that doesn't bode well for Segue IMO.
My thought is that Segue makes good tools, but are a poor solution provider. Moreover, on a tactical level their management is good at reacting to where the market might be going in a technical sense and creating a product that can handle that chore... but they seem quite inept at strategically positioning Segue for bigger and better things.
To be honest, they kind of remind me of Apple. Nifty ideas, poor management, they offer "things" (e.g. - testing tools) rather than solutions, etc. Ultimately, my company ruled them out despite the fact that they have good technology, because we think that they aren't going to be in this game for the long haul (personally, I'm betting that Mercury gobbles them).
Am I alone in my concerns about Segue???
Re: Questions about Segue
<BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial, Helvetica">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by Garbage_Man:
Much like the comments that Jeff N. makes in another thread, he argues that they have a large library of code samples and a large community of users who support the product by offering advice, assistance, and provide additional benefits (like code samples). However, I'd argue that this is the kind of strategy that a company uses if they don't have the ability to truly support their customers.<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>
While I do find this a benefit of the Segue tools I agree with your later points. I, too, have concerns about Segue in some regards. I will say that I am person that never relies on customer support. Maybe that is just my obstinance or stupidity but customer support is never something I use much and so I tend to downplay it. I do know that Segue's support is a little lacking, however.
This lack of support may partially explain the widespread use of the Segue code from your average Joe out there plugging away at it. But I think a great deal of it has to do with the object-oriented nature of the code and the relative popularity that the tool has when compared with Mercury. (Anytime I go somewhere it seems that Mercury and Segue are the two tool vendors that roll right off the tongue and this is not necessarily good becuase the other tools are very valuable.) I have found that I can post code that is reusable with Segue's language much more often than I can with Mercury's WinRunner, as just one example. I do not see this as a strategy of Segue, per se, because they rarely tout it but I am sure they do not mind the benefit of it.
Some things about the Segue direction that worry me for future support of the tool: the reliance on the DOM for Web testing. I agree with the approach they are taking (i.e., go with the DOM as a standard) but, on the other hand, browser support for the DOM has currently been less than stellar. And Microsoft has recently said that following these standards to the letter is not of prime concern for them right now or in the forseeable future. Netscape is supposed to support it but can Segue (or any tool vendor) keep up with what has been a drastically changing standard?
Mercury and Rational are working with Microsoft on their new .NET platform and some of the Microsoft technology is going to be available to those products, suggesting that there is a high-level of testing that will be possible that might have been previously unavailable or, at least, problematic. Obviously this will matter not at all to someone who is not testing in the Microsoft Windows world, but it does suggest that Segue should get on the ball with this and not get left out in the cold.
Bottom line, for me, is: I wish I could take Segue's script language and marry that to features I find in other tools. But I agree with you about vendor stability and, in fact, I have voiced that concern at the last two organizations I was at. Unfortunately, like anything, it is sometimes hard to tell what is going to be around in a year. Mercury is very much a popular choice now and all indications are they will be for the future - but is it guaranteed? Not necessarily. The best thing I can ever do is recommend that organizations do a needs analysis for the tools, do on-site evaluations working with the actual environment, and make the best decision based on the needs of their infrastructure (technology and personnel) and testing methodology. Obviously looking at the company and where it is in the market is worth doing but many times stock prices or support from an outside group is not always indicative of the true value of a company or the direction it might be heading.
You bring up an excellent point and it would be interesting to hear other opinion's on this and how much research they do on vendor stability.
Re: Questions about Segue
I think Segue may be gobbled up but I hope it's by Rational I think if Rational (with there leading object technology) can marry this tool with things like Rational Rose, Clearquest, etc (I know they paritially do with TeamTest) then I think this would be the best tool out there. Segue are poor in supplying solutions. If you look at Compuware they have the biggest professional service team out of all the test tool vendors combined and support of tools from code development to mainframe but when every I have done comparisons with QARun, WinRunner, TeamTest, etc Segue always wins (in my evals) and the evals have always been non-biased in fact I used to work for Compuware and still have friends there but Segue for just regression, functional, automation testing always won.
I do hope that they don't just go bust and we lose the technology but another vendor like Rational or Compuware buy them up that would make it a lot better for the industry.
There's my penny's worth.