TestPlant has received a United States patent for its testing software, eggPlant, which can test from one computer to another utilizing virtual networking and visual recognition, according to the company. The patent was granted on Monday.

CEO George Mackintosh said the U.S. Departments of Defense and Justice have been using eggPlant since 2003, when the software was created.

eggPlant can test from any operating system to any platform or device, and companies can purchase a floating license so that a variety of testers can access the software across the company and even the world.

“Testing is tedious and repetitive,” said Mackintosh. “Every single time the developer makes a change, the code must be tested, and with eggPlant you only have to manually test a code once, then you can train eggPlant to do the remaining tests.”

Philip Carnelley, research director at PAC UK (a European research company), said that the most unique aspect of eggPlant was its ability to take an “outside-in” approach.

“eggPlant tests software on a separate computer than the system with the new software being tested,” he said. “It remotely tests the user experience; it runs the program as an end user would.”

The visual recognition ability along with the automation, Carnelley said, is what makes eggPlant unique and patentable.

“eggPlant works with different images, icons, colors, not just alphanumeric data during testing. I haven’t come across a system that works that way,” he said.

The other problem solved by eggPlant, Carnelley said, is determining the “starting point” from a software developer point of view.

“The modern, multi-window software has all sorts of entry points—mobile devices, different browsers—and this program allows you to test each of those automatically as any user would,” he said.

Carnelley added that automated testing, like the kind done by eggPlant, plays into agile development methodologies because “You’re always putting out a new iteration of the product, and that goes hand in hand with automated testing. eggPlant relies on continuous output and continuous testing.”