These Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) address basic questions about eValid, what it is, how it is used, what it does, and how and when it should be applied.
What is eValid?
eValid is a patented test-enabled web browser to test a variety of web applications, supporting Windows 2000/XP/Vista and Windows 7. eValid V9 license bundles are available for Functional Testing/Validation, Application Monitoring, Regression Testing, Server Loading, and Site Analysis.
Why do I need eValid?
Any Company involved in E-commerce wants to have the assurance of the quality of their online business operations. You need the confidence that your customers get the information reliably, and you don't want a slow, buggy website. Your bottom line depends on it. Therefore you will need to test your website very carefully.
What is unique about a Test Enabled Web Browser?
eValid put the test engine for testing web applications inside the browser itself. It was a simple idea, but the only way to test the inner workings of browser-based applications is from the inside out. eValid was created because it is the only way to provide Pure Object Mode operation for testing WebSites. Testing from the browser itself provides the pure object mode interaction required for efficient and valid testing of WebSites. The end results are simpler scripts, more reliable playbacks, and easy modification of scripts.
Who are the most common eValid users?
eValid is used by webmasters, WebSite development teams, WebSite QA/Test teams, WebSite content providers, and IT managers. It is used to perform functional tests, to determine server load capacity, to check detailed timings, to verify WebSite integrity, to monitor Quality of Service (QoS) and to verify Quality of Experience (QoE).
How serious are the errors that eValid can catch? Do I have to worry about them?
WebSite defects can be very serious indeed. Consider a FORM that you are using to handle a financial transaction; if there is a non-working button or an inoperative field, you could be losing a lot of revenue. We tend to think these kinds of defects are serious, and eValid offers a tremendous advantage by making detection of these serious problems in real time and nearly 100% automatic.
What is the current version of eValid?
The current release of eValid, V9, is detailed in the Current Build Information.
What platforms are supported by eValid?
eValid V9 is currently supported on Windows 2000/XP/Vista/7.
Does eValid have to run off the Web or can it run locally?
The eValid EVAL requires a Web connection. Revenue keys permit eValid to run locally -- on your Intranet or even on a local copy of your WebSite -- or it can run over the Internet. Licensing is on a per-machine level.
Can eValid handle any size WebSite?
Besides disk space needed for the scripts and log files, there is no size limitation on any part of eValid test activity.
How much execution space does eValid take?
eValid's download footprint is ~8.0 MBytes. During execution memory usage at launch is ~18 MBytes (by comparison IE at launch takes ~18 MBytes). Memory usage by eValid grows with each execution depending on how many pages are visited; the RAM growth rate is similar to IE.
eValid seems to have a lot of different features and functions? How is it licensed?
eValid is licensed on a machine by machine basis, and with a set of Feature Keys that each activate a separate group of functions.
Can eValid handle a WebSite with frames?
Yes. eValid has no problem handling WebSites with frames.
Can eValid handle cookies?
Yes. One of eValid's key features is the ability to maintaining state with cookies and session ID's.
Can eValid handle testing WebSites with proxy servers?
Yes. Because eValid tests WebSites entirely from the user's perspective (i.e. via the client), proxy servers present no special barrier to correct eValid operation.
What about handling DHTML and HTML 4.0? And XML?
Yes. In fact, the ability to correctly parse HTML 4.0 is one of the strong points of eValid. And, yes, eValid handles XML.
Can eValid handle 2-byte character set WebSites?
Yes, eValid is capable of handling 2-byte character set WebSites if the proper settings are used.
What kind of technical support is available for eValid?
SR's standard telephone, Email and Web-based (Blog and Forum) technical support is available. SR also offers consulting as well as standard and customized training courses.
How do I obtain a copy of eValid?
You can download a limited function EVAUTO or EVDEMO copy of eValid at any time from our WebSite license key robot and evaluate eValid for 7 days at no cost (some limits and restrictions apply). Or you can request an EVAL copy of eValid and will receive a 7-days EVAL license by Email. You can begin this process on the eValid Download Page.
How does eValid map WebSites?
eValid has a powerful site search spider function built in. The eValid spider starts at your current page and starts visiting every page that can be reached from that page as it descends through your WebSite.
Can eValid map any WebSite?
Yes, any site that the eValid browser can read can be mapped. Including your competition.
Can I control how eValid maps a WebSite?
Yes, You can control where a search starts, how long it runs and what kinds of pages it visits. You can even tell the spider not to go to certain pages.
What kind of reports are there?
Every site analysis run produces a complete SiteMap of the pages it has visited. There are several variations of this report in varying amounts of detail, for example: Broken Links, Slow Pages, Old Pages, Unique List, Unique Map, and more. All reports are produced in real time.
Can I find broken links?
Yes, during the search process eValid makes special note of URLs that it tries to go to but can't. They're called "Unavailable Links".
What about widow files?
No, eValid views things from the browser's (the user's) view. It can't know about files that can be delivered to it. On the other hand, few user-reported errors occur from files that they can't see!
As it spiders a WebSite can eValid analyze the pages it sees?
Yes. There are page filters built in to find old pages, too-large pages, pages that contain a special character string match, etc. The reports are generated in real time!
Can I look for patterns in pages?
Yes. There is a capability to do regular expression match.
How does eValid handle WebSite testing?
eValid is a record/play and validation regression test engine. Tests are recorded live from your WebSite, using the capabilities built into the eValid browser. The tests can be played back to determine if the WebSite has changed, or for lots of other purposes.
How does eValid know about "objects" on my WebSite?
Because eValid is a true fully-featured Web browser it knows "internally" how each page of your WebSite is organized and structured. This deep internal knowledge is what is used to provide eValid with its unique Object Mode capability. This same deep knowledge gives eValid the ability to easily and quickly generate complex test sequences for pages that include FORMs and many links.
What does the script language look like?
The script language uses a simple, pure-ASCII, command-plus-modifier format. You can edit scripts easily or use a command to create scripts by hand. Most users record scripts and then hand-modify them to "fine tune" them to have the desired properties.
Why don't your client/server test products, like CAPBAK/MSW and CAPBAK/X work on my WebSite?
Actually, those products work OK with browsers as the application under test, but they don't have the pure web-centric, 100% user perspective and so they can't do as good a job on object-mode and browser-based content validation and timing as eValid can. One of the main reasons we built eValid was because we understood the difficulty of applying client/server test technology to WebSites.
Why do you use a separate Web Browser? Why not just use IE or FireFox, and a regular test system?
That would be OK except it is quite difficult to get true object-oriented operation from an OS-based capture/playback system. And, certain data and capabilities are impossible to achieve working from the desktop. Here are some of eValid's advantages:
- Real object oriented recordings that refer to the "objects" in your web pages regardless of how they are rendered on your screen.
- The ability to do very-precise timing analysis.
- The ability to do content validation, a critical feature for E-commerce validation and verification functions.
- The ability to keep context with a secure session.
- The ability to run multiple play-back sessions with 100% reality.
- The ability to run load and performance testing, reusing your own generated Functional Test Scripts.
- The ability to "spider" a site in Site Analysis mode.
Will I see what I recorded during playback?
Yes. But, because eValid is 100% object oriented you will only see the effect of what you recorded when you play back a session. This is because we record only the results of what you do, not the causes. For example, if you are on a FORM and you click a two position radio button back and forth 100 times and then click SUBMIT, eValid records only the last button you clicked -- it doesn't care how you arrived at the result, just what the result is.
What can I record with eValid?
As long as the page you want to record can be rendered in an IE browser then eValid can record it.
Is the script editable?
Yes. The eValid script is fully editable since it is an ASCII text file, and there is also a Programmable Interface.
Do I need to configure anything prior to recording?
What will happen to my script if my WebSite changes? How re-usable are my test scripts?
There are many types of errors that eValid can tell you about, and many unimportant changes that eValid ignores. Because eValid is a true object oriented system, changes to a web page that don't affect the structure and layout of a page usually PASS. But there are many different ways to use eValid. eValid is easily configurable to meet all of your WebSite test and validation requirements.
What Does the Validate Selected Text Feature Do?
The powerful Validate Selected Text feature lets you spot-check any page to make sure a required element of text on it is in exactly the place it is supposed to be. An eValid playback using this feature will PASS only if the specified text is in the same relative position on the page as it was when you made the recording. Only the user-selected text is checked during the playback process; changes to other, non-critical (and non-selected) parts of the page will not make the test FAIL. Note that there is a limit to how many characters there can be in each check, but there is no limit to the number of checks that you make of the same page.
What kind of documentation is supplied with eValid?
All of the documentation for eValid is delivered as HTML material that is included in the product or is available from our WebSite. This FAQ section is part of the HTML documentation. Also, the most recent version of eValid will automatically use the most recent version of the corresponding user documentation from our WebSite.
What happens if my HTML coding is "not up to standard"? Will eValid still work?
Yes, eValid will work just fine. eValid follows the generally accepted page rendering rules supported by Microsoft and Internet Explorer.
How quickly can I use eValid to find errors?
We're confident that you will likely find things wrong with your WebSite that you really want to fix in the first hour of operation!
What Does the Link Test Wizard Do?
For the WebSite page that you are looking at, the Link Test Wizard creates a complete test script for that page that visits every linked area and records the name of each link and the text that underlies it. When you play this back on the current page, the script the wizard has generated will visit every link, wait for it to show up, and then go BACK to the current page. Errors of various types -- too many different kinds to list here -- are reported in the message area. There are also some special commands to check for dynamic links.
What Does the Form Test Wizard Do?
For a page that contains a FORM that you are looking at, the Form Test Wizard creates a complete test script for that page that visits every input area, clicks on every button, tries every option, and types a pre-determined text into every text region. It then SUBMIT's the FORM for processing by the WebSite. When you play this back on the current page, the script the wizard has generated will type in the same information as when the script was created. If your form has changed the differences between the original and the changed form will be noted in the messages area.
What Does the Validate All Text Wizard Do?
This very powerful wizard creates a set of validation checks for the current page. If you play back this script at a later time, any differences between the content recorded by the wizard and the current contents of the page will be an error. Note that these are differences in text content only. The layout and rendering of the page don't make any difference here. It is important to understand that this feature is much more powerful that simply differencing the two HTML pages. With eValid you have the chance to validate the content of a page independent of the layout.
Do I Have to Use the Built-In Test Wizards?
No, you don't have to use the wizards. If you manually record a test on a page or set of pages that includes any combination of links and/or FORM's entries your test will play back exactly as you recorded it. You can save this test and re-use it later on as you like. The wizards produce tests based on a single web page, but a manual test is not limited in any way to one web page or even to a group of web pages -- not even to a single WebSite. Remember, each wizard always produces a test based on exactly one WebSite page that is known to play back reliably.
How does eValid handle loading?
The main mechanism is to run multiple, independent copies of eValid. Each copy simulates one actual user. These complete eValid sessions maintain context -- they keep cookies, login data, etc. An eValid generated load is very realistic.
What about "virtual users"?
eValid playback sessions are 100% real. Nothing is left out; there are no approximations. So, eValid doesn't have "virtual users" -- it has simulated real users. In addition, there is a utility -- eVlite -- that can simulate users' navigations using HTTP actions only (see question below).
What about the browser cache?
eValid provides its own cache control so that multiple-user playbacks produce accurate timing results. Simulated users really do run from the server -- not from the local cache.
What is eVlite good for?
eVLite is a stripped down version (thin client) of eValid's LoadTest engine which basically performs navigation commands only. It reads a regular eValid script file and can run up to 1000 playbacks (threads) at a time, and there can be multiple copies of eVlite running. Ideally you mix eVlite server activity generation in with the true eValid LoadTest to simulate high WebSite traffic hitting on the servers.
Can I substitute data in a LoadTest scenario?
Yes, eValid is able to handle name value pairs in LoadTest mode.
What kind of reports are generated from the LoadTest?
eValid generates a log file which contains the time each test took to complete each run. The LoadTest log can be viewed as a graphical chart, with details about each element on the page, or exported to an excel worksheet.
How many playbacks can I get on one machine?
Simulating users imposes a heavy burden on a machine running 2000/XP/Vista/7. Actual field results vary from machine type to the type of script used to create the LoadTest. Based on our in-house test PC, using a 2.5 GMhz P-IV processor with 3 GBytes RAM, and 64 MB video card, we are able to successfully complete a LoadTest of 100-150 simulated users. "Your mileage will vary", but a practical guess is ~100+ simulated users per machine.
How does eValid handle timing/tuning issues?
The built-in timer capability has a 1.0 millisecond resolution; all eValid times are counted in milliseconds. There are alarm functions you can set so you're warned if something happens slower than you plan.
How does eValid help me tune up a Page?
You can time individual playback commands, sequences of commands, or entire playbacks. Also, with the detailed timing turned on, you can measure the actual download times from the Web for every part of a page. You can use this data to find out -- from the browser perspective -- which parts of a particular page are fast and slow, and make adjustments to the page size and/or image sizes accordingly.
Can eValid be used to measure performance?
Yes. eValid scripts can be edited to report the start time, the end time, and the elapsed time of each playback or any parts of a playback. Time resolution is measured in 1 msec (0.001 sec) intervals. Timing data is reported in an ASCII Log File that can be used for direct analysis of the raw timing data. Scripts that you have recorded and/or edited can be run multiple times serially in the foreground or, with multiple copies of eValid launched from the batch-mode command-line interface, in the background.
How does eValid compare with products that are based on use of the HTTP protocol?
Because eValid is a true browser, when it downloads a page it downloads all parts of the page in addition to the base URL -- everything that's needed to completely render the page. This means that timings you make with eValid always reflect the total client-side time it takes to download a page, all of its referenced components, and to completely render the page. Other systems that use HTTP protocol require you to list every page element separately to obtain this kind of detail, and even then do not include the page rendering time.
What about synchronization? Can eValid wait until a page download is complete?
Yes. eValid has automatic output synchronization built in to make test suite executions extremely reliable. The normal mode of replay waits until each page is fully downloaded before the playback continues. This feature assures synchronization during playback, and also assures that the timings you get are accurate and realistic.
How do I retrieve the timing data?
Timing information, calculated to the nearest 1 msec, is shown directly on the screen in the Timing Log, and also is written to the underlying timer output file. Performance timing data is only generated if you have edited the script to include it. Recordings that you make to generate scripts do not have timer data included. You can edit the script to reset the timer whenever you want, and you can edit the script to output partial times whenever you want them to appear in the playback session.
Can I see data graphically?
Yes. There are several built-in charts that show the results of the current test or of a series of tests.
What about the cache? Doesn't it get in the way of reliable timing data?
eValid is implemented so that the caching functions can be turned off entirely, or so that you can start each playback with an empty cache (to simulate the way the browser avoids reloading when it can). To assure accuracy in the data -- and to assure that you really do simulate how a real user works -- LoadTest executions always run with no cache.
Are there any limits or restrictions on eValid?
Some minor technical limitations exist in current versions of eValid. Please see the current Current Build Details for complete details on the current released version. See also Technical Details and Limitations.
eValid runs on 2000/XP/Vista/7 and requires IE 7.0+ to be installed on the machine. eValid is a free-standing application that does not require IE to be running. The download file is ~8.0 MB. At launch eValid uses a footprint of about the same RAM as IE, e.g. 18-20 MB. As a test playback continues eValid RAM usage grows about the same amount as IE.
In LoadTest mode, where RAM may become limited, there are is a special THIN version that minimizes runtime footprint, and there is an option to automatically re-spawn eValid to prevent unlimited RAM consumption and maximize the number of simultaneous playbacks.