Three Тools Еvery SharePoint Тester Needs to Кnow Аbout

Mobile Man / Tuesday, April 14, 2015

QA Testing Tools for SharePoint

Drawing analogies between running a SharePoint solution and a city, a football team or a business underlines how important the roles of testers, administrators and designers are day to day. Without rules, a city will descend into chaos; the law of the jungle will rule. Without a referee, football teams commit fouls with impunity, and without managers and structured departments, businesses lose sight of goals and purpose. In the same way, without SharePoint professionals managing sites, imposing rules and guidelines and discouraging bad practice, your Intranet will turn into a flabby and confusing mess. Good testing of SharePoint, by knowledgeable testers, is often the first step to this smooth running.

Fortunately, SharePoint testers are not alone when it comes to finding weaknesses and errors in solutions. Just as police departments are helped by CCTV cameras, and NFL referees can use the skills of line judges, SharePoint testers have access to an army of tools which help them find problems and weaknesses in their company’s SharePoint solution. These tools not only mean your Intranet will be the best it can be, but will also be best positioned to configure updates and migrate data to new versions of SharePoint as needed.

There are a fair few development tools out there, but today we’ll be looking at three more testing focused tools that we think are absolutely essential.

Can’t SharePoint just manage itself?

Let’s not detract from SharePoint - it’s a unique and powerful platform that massively improves workplace productivity. Nonetheless, with even the most disciplined and well-meaning users, SharePoint can gradually become filled with dead links, poorly applied metadata and oversized files which slow the whole solution down. Typical problems include:

  • Individuals upload large files which slow down access and usability
  • No one will have an overview of where things are - only the people who uploaded data to particular libraries. This is fine as long as an organization doesn’t grow and staff move on.
  • It becomes unclear who is responsible for what
  • Eventually, permission structures beak, libraries become cluttered and documents hard to find.

At the same time customizations, integrations, apps, and bespoke features can put a bottleneck on the platform. So we need to test these features to ensure they won’t cause problems after go live.

On its own, SharePoint’s admin features allow users to manage, maintain and modify the platform in its entirety. However the more technical user, deploying their own code to an On Premises or Cloud SharePoint system needs a little bit more power and detail. The following tools give much greater control and oversight of your SharePoint code solution, making it much easier to find problems and resolve them.

SPCAF (SharePoint Code Analysis Framework)

Swedish firm Rencore developed SPCAF as a way for SharePoint professionals to test SharePoint builds for errors. Their solution scrutinizes developments from every angle to find errors, bottlenecks and broken dependencies. SPCAF gives a deep insight into projects to save you hours hunting through hundreds of lines of code manually. The solution analyzes SharePoint from four angles:

  • SP-Cop. This tool analyzes code and checks for violations against 600 predefined rules
  • SP-Metrics. The more complex your SharePoint solution, the harder it is to maintain and migrate it. SP-Metrics explores your system and quantifies how complex your build is
  • SP-Depend. Checks on dependencies between components to help you find issues
  • SP-Inventory. Documents your build and counts features, content types, list templates etc., so you can have an overview of your platform.

SharePoint Manager

SharePoint Manager is an object model explorer, which lets you browse every object in a local farm and view its properties. SharePoint Manager lets you get an overview of the whole structure of your SharePoint solution. The tool has an easy-to-use interface, which allows you to navigate through the platform and visualize the total hierarchy from top to bottom. It makes seeing which sites have most libraries very easy, and within sites it can help you see which lists and libraries contain most files, letting you drill down as far as you wish.

The point to all this? To be able to navigate throughout SharePoint quickly and investigate settings, properties, schema and XML with ease. Everything in your SharePoint environment can be investigated and this makes finding problems and issues within your solution much easier than otherwise.

CKS (Community Kit for SharePoint)

For those developing plugins for a SharePoint environment, CKS is a solution you just can’t do without. Providing developers with a collection of Visual Studio templates, extensions and tools, it makes writing customized SharePoint applications much quicker and simpler. Allowing you to draw in relevant information from your SharePoint environment makes Sandboxing a breeze and it incorporates handy extensions for:

  • Environment
  • Exploration
  • Content
  • Deployment

SharePlus - Your Mobile SharePoint Solution