Years ago I was a SilkTest user, but since then I've used mostly open source tools. I am now automating a complex Windows application and have started with the Windows Automation API. I am happy with it, but curious if anyone here can comment on the Silk4Net Open Agent compared to the Windows Automation API. I cannot seem to get in contact with Borland regarding pricing for one license of the Silk4Net Open Agent, so if you have an idea of the cost please email me at email@example.com. I know that 'prices may vary', but I am trying to ballpark it.
SilkTest is like most other automation tools around in that it provides its own mechanisms for gathering information from the application under test and presenting that to the user through some programming language (or another form).
The Windows Automation API only works with applications that fully support Windows accessibility. While this is getting more common these days there are many application types that do not support it well enough to make it a viable solution for many test developers.
Another thing that SilkTest offers is a consistent view of an application and the way that it recognises controls. What I mean is that it has a mechanism that creates a string that represents the control which is used at runtime to find the control and act upon it (in SilkTest this is called a locator). You may ask what is the difference between the automation Id and the locator that SilkTest creates, well sometimes they are the same thing, other times (for some techologies) there are no automation id's as such so other strategies are used to create a locator that is robust enough to handle changes in the application (to an extent).
Another tenant of SilkTest is that there are tools that assist the user in creating the automation in the first place, for example, recording a series of action and converting them to a script (or a Visual test). The recorded script is a good starting point to create a robust test script.
Another big feature of SilkTest is the cross browser testing support, that is, a script that runs on Internet Explorer will also run on Firefox and Chrome (Chrome support is coming in SilkTest 13).
There are many other features you get with SilkTest which are too numerous to mention here but the one that jumps out to me is the reporting (results, logging). This is built into the product to report what happened with your application (it also includes screen shots) making it very easy to see what your application did.
Remember that Borland is a Micro Focus company, I'd start there and call one of the numbers on the Contact Us page.
Thanks for the very helpful reply. I was quite fond of SilkTest back when I used it and remember locators well. I definitely would benefit from the features you've mentioned, especially the recorder to accelerate the process of getting a proof of concept in place. I'll give Micro Focus a call today.