Automating a Platform Handling Massive Oil & Gas Data: Squish Success at Weatherford

We sat down with Weatherford International’s automation team to discuss how they’re using the Squish GUI Tester as a test automation tool for the CygNet platform, a SCADA tool built for handling massive oil & gas operational data. Read about how Weatherford is achieving success in automation with Squish below:

Weatherford International, one of the world’s largest, multinational oil and gas companies, is a leading provider of technology and services for formation evaluation, drilling, completions, production and intervention of oil and natural gas wells. 

Weatherford supports oil and gas operations through an industry-leading Supervisory Control And Data Acquisition (SCADA) platform – CygNet – for the management and analysis of real-time well operational data. The CygNet SCADA platform is a production optimization tool which gathers data across diverse sources, treats it, and distributes the data to the relevant personnel within the enterprise. It is a unified information ecosystem — drawing on production, pipeline and business data — for the entire information stream of an oil and gas operation. 

We interviewed Mr. Timothy Crooks of Weatherford’s automation team, who has brought Squish into his team’s UI testing workflow to upgrade existing automation utilities in use, design new tests for enhanced regression test coverage, and maintain the CygNet platform as a leading oil and gas operations tool with premium quality. Mr. Crooks, an engineer with three decades of automation experience, holds a dual role in the company: one being an automation developer for UI workflow, and a second role as QA manager, overseeing a team of five engineers. His work concerns test automation for the desktop client components of the CygNet SCADA platform. 

“Tree traversal for all the controls took forever in our old utility; this is actually where I saw the biggest performance gain in using Squish.”

Upon adopting Squish, Mr. Crooks’ first automation project was for the measurement client (gas nomination, customer billing, etc.) of the platform, more specifically, to conduct a re-write in Squish from their old automation utility. He reported significant performance enhancements when using Squish, owing to the ease of tree traversal and improved grid cell data retrieval, plus Squish’s capabilities for Data-Driven Testing (DDT).

“One 12-hour test with a re-write [in Squish] now runs in four hours.”

Re-design of tests using from the older, Visual Test utility showed major enhancements. Mr. Crooks mentioned the automation team runs multi-layer tests to cover the CygNet platform. These tests include unit and integration tests, with Squish GUI tests at the desktop client level. Targets for the test coverage include multiple clients run in parallel, across three Windows platforms. In total, the suites — which cover everything from install verification to multiple device dialogs and data configurations — run for approximately three days. Squish helped knock down test run times from, with one example test we were told, half a day to just a few hours. 

“That’s [Squish’s] selling point: regressive coverage. Once you’ve added a string of tests from a release cycle, you don’t have to go back and manually cover that again.”

Mr. Crooks work concerns the “big picture” of automation, namely the need for lasting test coverage. As he put it, with every JIRA story — every feature — requiring automation attached to it, the payoff with using Squish as a regression detector is huge for the team. In looking at that big picture, Mr. Crooks discussed with us how he envisions using Squish for future automation endeavors at Weatherford.

Canvas, Weatherford’s newest HMI development application used for configuring custom operational screens, will receive more automation attention from the team in 2020, using Squish to create that needed regression test coverage. Mr. Crooks also plans to add additional script developers to the team, in an effort to continue the Visual Test to Squish re-writes. There is also some new (and legacy) technology the company provides, for which the team will focus on automating. By the end of 2020, Mr. Crooks mentioned there will likely be 40+ hours of coverage running against three platforms, for which Squish will play a major role in creating that coverage.

“I need robust — it works now — rock-solid piece of UI workflow automation, and that’s what Squish offers.”

We at froglogic are excited to be a part of new developments in Weatherford’s UI automation efforts, especially as Mr. Crooks and his team venture into new technology and reach new milestones in UI test automation with Squish. 

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