Creating and managing channels

Channels are collections of test environment properties that describe delivery platforms in your test effort. They simplify testing that involves various configurations and devices.

Channels are disabled by default. For information about enabling channels, see the related help topics that this topic links to.

Channels can be broad or specific. For example, if a team wants to test a project that targets mobile devices, they can define Channel X as “Android operating system” and Channel Y as “Android 4.0.1 on a Samsung handset with Firefox as the default web browser.”

Essentially, channels enable branching behavior within test scripts that are associated with keywords. For example, imagine a test case that simulates customers who are checking their account balances on a banking website. The procedure differs depending on whether a customer uses a PC or a mobile device to access the site. To log in, PC users enter a full password, while mobile users enter a PIN.

Without channels, testing for both devices requires two discrete scripts. With channels, the same script can be used for both platforms by replacing the login step with a keyword that was created for the test. The keyword contains two single-step test scripts: one for logging in on a PC and another for logging in on a mobile device. Those scripts are associated with channels: one for the PC and the other for mobile devices.

Multiple scripts can be associated with a keyword on a single channel. Each channel, including the None channel, must have a default script. When a keyword includes multiple test scripts on a common channel, only the default script is used during test execution.

Channels, test environments, and synchronization

Channels and test environments are interrelated: channels are subsets of test environments. You can run a test case execution record only on a channel that matches the selected test environment. For example, a channel for “iOS devices with Firefox installed” is available when the test environment is an iPhone with Firefox. However, if one or both of those attributes are changed, the channel is unavailable. A test environment can match more than one channel at a time, but only one channel can be selected per test case execution record.

Channels and test environments are not synchronized automatically. If you create, edit, or delete channels or test environments, you are prompted to synchronize them. You can also request to synchronize them from the test environment or channels editors. During synchronization, relationships are recalculated; if you skip synchronization, relationships are ignored. You might skip synchronization if you are creating a channel for use in a future test effort while your team is working on another test effort. Delaying synchronization means that changes to channels do not affect a testing team until the right time.

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