A rather niche product named Microsoft Test was released back in the early 1990s, with Version 3.0a being the last of it in 1994.
Finding information about this piece of software is not easy these days, and you are more likely to find Microsoft Certification tests instead searching on Google. Basically it’s a development tool using TestBasic, a scripting language with similarities to Visual Basic. Offered mainly to software publishers, I actually hadn’t been aware of this product until the last year or so.
The point of the software was to automate keystrokes and mouse clicks to validate the results as part of regression testing. Regression testing was a method so that when additional development was made, existing software functionality was working as it should without causing potentially new unexpected bugs. This becomes more important when developing more complex software to ensure a certain level of quality control.
A developer would have this installed along side Visual Basic, Visual C++, or whatever their desired language had been.
According to an article from InfoWorld back in September of 1994 Test 3.0 introduced support for Windows NT 3.5 and 95, allowed scripts to be pre-compiled to perform quicker, and gave access to double-byte character sets (i.e. Asian characters). It sold for $599 US, though users of previous versions could upgrade for $199 US. Sounds a lot when someone could purchase Visual Basic Professional or Office Professional for that sort of money. I’m not sure of the system requirements, though I suspect it just needed a 386 to run.
Below is a snapshot of Test 3.0 running on Windows 3.1. The Setup program is no different to other Microsoft software at the time, and installation was done using five floppy disks.
During Setup there’s three options to choose from (All, Minimal, and Custom), though this is the list of what’s available.
Once installation completes, a new program group with the below icons are created.
Test itself is relatively straight-forward where most of the work taking place is with the code, akin to a Windows version of QBasic if it had been made available. Basic debugging is provided and many of the tools are simply referring to the same programs as available via Program Manager such as the Interface Editor. Sample code is provided and here I was having a look at the game Gorilla, which to my surprise was included. I had only seen the game with QBasic in the past.
Via the Tools menu you can record your own events taking place. If you’re someone who records macros and/or uses VBA with Excel, this works more or less in the same way.
When it starts recording, a small icon appears on the desktop looking like a cassette tape while you record your interactions. Use this to also end the recording. I did a practice run by recording myself opening up a Readme file in Write from the Accessories program group in Program Manager.
The script is broken down by date/time stamp first, declaring variables, screen resolution, and finally the events that took place.
Other tools at your disposal are the Interface Editor, that lets your incorporate a dialog box and/or program window to work with your scripts.
The Dialog Utility is to capture dialog box and menu structure information from other applications, while the Screen Utility works as a screen capture and comparison tool.
Test Driver appears to be where it’s possible to run multiple scripts in batches and repeat if desired resulting in the outcomes to be recorded into a log file.
The Window Information utility is a simple program where a user drags the pointed hand icon over to any window on the screen to pick up details in relation to it. In the screenshot below I selected the Microsoft Test 3.0 program group from inside Program Manager.
When all that gets tiresome, go straight to playing some Gorilla!