|By Kyle Gabhart||
|April 9, 2007 03:30 PM EDT||
Few topics evoke more groans and eye rolling from software engineers and Web developers than the dreaded "TESTING." Testing falls into the same category as documentation, refactoring code, dusting, and visiting the dentist. Put it off until the last minute, do as little as possible, do it quickly, and move on to something else. I must confess that I have the same visceral reaction to the thought of 'testing' as others do. Consequently, I approached the prospect of reviewing a testing tool with the loathing of visiting the dentist. I was very relieved to discover that Parasoft's SOAtest 5.0 took a lot of the pain, frustration, and busy work out of the testing experience.
Parasoft's SOAtest 5.0 is a comprehensive testing and analysis tool suite tailored to the unique testing and validation needs of Service Oriented Architectures. It supports functional testing, scenario-based testing, stress testing, client testing with a mock service, and a whole range of validation capabilities (XML Schema, WSDL, WS-Security, BPEL, etc.). SOAtest 5.0 then further supports the creation and automated execution of regression test suites. It supports a broad range of SOA specifications and standards, and is designed from the ground up to support the dynamic and evolving nature of service-oriented systems.
Getting Started with SOAtest 5.0
Installing SOAtest was a breeze. The process is as follows:
- Run the setup executable from media or by downloading it from www.parasoft.com,
- Follow the on-screen prompts.
- Decide if you want to set up SOAtest as a Windows service.
Once the software is installed, you're ready to begin using SOAtest. The first time that you launch the software, you'll be prompted either to input your individual license information or point to an available license server.
After providing licensing information, you will be confronted with an option to create a New Project, Open an Existing Project, or access the SOAtest Tutorial. The tutorial is well-written and provides a nice tour of the tool's major features.
Creating Test Cases
Tests can either be created individually or as a part of a larger test suite. The tool seems to drive you toward creating test suites rather than individual tests, which is nice for reuse, organization, and best of all - regression testing a collection of tests. SOAtest supports the creation of test suites from a wide range of sources including:
- Web Services Description Language (WSDL) files
- Business Process Execution Language (BPEL) files
- Universal Description, Discovery & Integration (UDDI) registry end-points
- Web Services Inspection Language (WSIL) files
- BEA Aqualogic Enterprise Repository end-points
The test suite creation wizard will ask you to designate a file, URL, or end-point to query and also ask you to designate what tests you want to create. Upon completing the wizard, you'll have a whole set of tests automatically generated and ready-to-run as is or customized prior to execution.
I was very impressed with the functional verification testing capabilities. SOAtest supports the following functional verification features:
- Check schema validity against a WSDL
- XML-aware diff engine that flags only true XML structure changes
- Surgical inclusion/exclusion of XML message elements in the verification process via XPATH (see Figure 1)
- A graphical rules engine for managing assertions
Every one of these features is enabled through simple intuitive menu options, dropdown lists, check boxes, and XML tree structures. The interface is simple to navigate and although there's a wealth of options, they're organized to avoid the feeling of being overwhelmed.
Executing one or more functional tests multiple times based on an external data set (database or spreadsheet) was another feature that I sought out. SOAtest came through in this area as well supporting the ability to point at a data source (CSV, Excel, relational databases, etc.) and run through a battery of tests that pull values out of the data source and send service requests containing the extracted data values. This lets you define a single test case or suite of tests and then automatically test the full range of data values that the test case needs to support without creating additional tests for each value.
Testing with Mock Services
In a truly test-driven environment, I'd create service interfaces and corresponding suites of test cases before any implementation code is developed. Although this is good in theory, without a supporting toolset, it's not very realistic. SOAtest provides all the capabilities needed to support this kind of development model. When creating a new project/test suite, simply point the tool at a WSDL file and check the "Generate Server Stubs" radio button. The server stubs will run on SOAtest's embedded Tomcat server and let you create and run testing scenarios before you've written a single line of implementation code. This way, when you're ready to implement the service interfaces, you have a defined a suite of tests for verification. This helps to control the scope (when you meet all the tests, stop working) and provides one or more test suites that can be incorporated into automatic regression testing (see below) to ensure that functionality isn't compromised as the project progresses.
Of all the features that I've worked with, I found the service mock-up process the most cumbersome. The other aspects of SOAtest were intuitive and easy-to-work with, whereas I had to wrestle a while to get the mock service capability working on anything other than the tutorial walk-through. In the end, the functionality of this capability was excellent, albeit a bit difficult to initially configure.
Running your tests once is nice. Running your tests regressively is better. Running your tests regressively and automatically at night is divine. SOAtest supports all three scenarios. Any of the test suites that you define in a SOAtest project can be converted to regression test suites. Furthermore, using XPATH you can selectively indicate which portions of the test cases may change from test to test and which values should never change. Once you have a set of regression tests that you're happy with, SOAtest provides a command-line mechanism to kick off your test suites automatically. Thus in an agile, continuous integration environment you can run regression testing at night, at lunch, or every hour on the hour to ensure that you find bugs early and often.
SOAtest provides several reporting features (auto-generated reports for nightly regression tests, on-demand, detailed summary reports for test suites, and WS-I interoperability reports). I found the quality and readability of the reports developed by SOAtest to be quite good. Figure 2 provides a snapshot of part of the SOAtest detailed report. The WS-I interoperability reports were pretty low quality, difficult to navigate, and provided information overload. In fairness to SOAtest, those reports are copyrighted by WS-I and seem to be auto-generated by one or more WS-I tools. Consequently, I'm not sure that Parasoft has any control over the quality of these reports. Nonetheless, I would have liked a WS-I conformance report of the same quality and user-friendliness as the native SOAtest reports.
Advanced Testing Features
The palette of testing and analysis features in SOAtest is extensive. In the interest of not filling up this entire magazine with feature descriptions, I'll list several of the compelling features that I've not covered already:
- Scenario-based testing where subsequent test cases depend on data returned from previous test cases
- Stress/load testing your SOA and specifying Quality of Service parameters
- Testing non-XML services (JMS, MQ, TIBCO, EJB, REST, Binary, Text, etc.)
- Validate SOAP security using WS-Security (encryption, digital signatures, and authentication)
- Asynchronous service testing
As I mentioned earlier, the mock service feature is a bit awkward to work with initially. Also, the WS-I conformance report was not up to the same quality standards as the native SOAtest reports. With SOA's strong integration and interoperability play, there are a lot of enterprises that have Java and other services that all need to be involved in the same business process and testing scenario.
In spite of my general dislike for software analysis and testing, I found Parasoft's SOAtest 5.0 to be a well-designed tool that took a lot of the pain and work out of testing and validating a SOA. The tool isn't perfect, but it is easily one of the best SOA testing tools that I've ever worked with.
Target Audience: SOA architects, developers, QA/testers, and analysts
Level: Beginner to Advanced
Pros: Powerful, intuitive UI, robust testing and analysis tools
Cons: The mock service feature is a bit awkward, only supports Java clients for now
Testing environment: Dell Inspiron 640m, 1.6GHz Intel Core-Duo, 2GB RAM, Windows XP Pro with SP2
Platforms: Windows 2000/XP, Linux, Solaris
|SOA News 04/04/07 04:11:45 PM EDT|
Few topics evoke more groans and eye rolling from software engineers and Web developers than the dreaded 'TESTING.' Testing falls into the same category as documentation, refactoring code, dusting, and visiting the dentist. Put it off until the last minute, do as little as possible, do it quickly, and move on to something else. I must confess that I have the same visceral reaction to the thought of 'testing' as others do. Consequently, I approached the prospect of reviewing a testing tool with the loathing of visiting the dentist. I was very relieved to discover that Parasoft's SOAtest 5.0 took a lot of the pain, frustration, and busy work out of the testing experience.
After more than five years of DevOps, definitions are evolving, boundaries are expanding, ‘unicorns’ are no longer rare, enterprises are on board, and pundits are moving on. Can we now look at an evolution of DevOps? Should we? Is the foundation of DevOps ‘done’, or is there still too much left to do? What is mature, and what is still missing? What does the next 5 years of DevOps look like? In this Power Panel at DevOps Summit, moderated by DevOps Summit Conference Chair Andi Mann, panelists l...
Mar. 28, 2017 05:00 AM EDT Reads: 9,878
The rise of containers and microservices has skyrocketed the rate at which new applications are moved into production environments today. While developers have been deploying containers to speed up the development processes for some time, there still remain challenges with running microservices efficiently. Most existing IT monitoring tools don’t actually maintain visibility into the containers that make up microservices. As those container applications move into production, some IT operations t...
Mar. 28, 2017 01:15 AM EDT Reads: 3,047
DevOps is often described as a combination of technology and culture. Without both, DevOps isn't complete. However, applying the culture to outdated technology is a recipe for disaster; as response times grow and connections between teams are delayed by technology, the culture will die. A Nutanix Enterprise Cloud has many benefits that provide the needed base for a true DevOps paradigm.
Mar. 28, 2017 01:00 AM EDT Reads: 2,340
The IT industry is undergoing a significant evolution to keep up with cloud application demand. We see this happening as a mindset shift, from traditional IT teams to more well-rounded, cloud-focused job roles. The IT industry has become so cloud-minded that Gartner predicts that by 2020, this cloud shift will impact more than $1 trillion of global IT spending. This shift, however, has left some IT professionals feeling a little anxious about what lies ahead. The good news is that cloud computin...
Mar. 27, 2017 04:30 PM EDT Reads: 1,418
By now, every company in the world is on the lookout for the digital disruption that will threaten their existence. In study after study, executives believe that technology has either already disrupted their industry, is in the process of disrupting it or will disrupt it in the near future. As a result, every organization is taking steps to prepare for or mitigate unforeseen disruptions. Yet in almost every industry, the disruption trend continues unabated.
Mar. 27, 2017 04:15 PM EDT Reads: 507
DevOps is often described as a combination of technology and culture. Without both, DevOps isn't complete. However, applying the culture to outdated technology is a recipe for disaster; as response times grow and connections between teams are delayed by technology, the culture will die. A Nutanix Enterprise Cloud has many benefits that provide the needed base for a true DevOps paradigm. In his Day 3 Keynote at 20th Cloud Expo, Chris Brown, a Solutions Marketing Manager at Nutanix, will explore t...
Mar. 27, 2017 03:30 PM EDT Reads: 2,974
Lots of cloud technology predictions and analysis are still dealing with future spending and planning, but there are plenty of real-world cloud use cases and implementations happening now. One approach, taken by stalwart GE, is to use SaaS applications for non-differentiated uses. For them, that means moving functions like HR, finance, taxes and scheduling to SaaS, while spending their software development time and resources on the core apps that make GE better, such as inventory, planning and s...
Mar. 27, 2017 03:00 PM EDT Reads: 464
As Enterprise business moves from Monoliths to Microservices, adoption and successful implementations of Microservices become more evident. The goal of Microservices is to improve software delivery speed and increase system safety as scale increases. Documenting hurdles and problems for the use of Microservices will help consultants, architects and specialists to avoid repeating the same mistakes and learn how and when to use (or not use) Microservices at the enterprise level. The circumstance w...
Mar. 27, 2017 03:00 PM EDT Reads: 4,316
Everyone wants to use containers, but monitoring containers is hard. New ephemeral architecture introduces new challenges in how monitoring tools need to monitor and visualize containers, so your team can make sense of everything. In his session at @DevOpsSummit, David Gildeh, co-founder and CEO of Outlyer, will go through the challenges and show there is light at the end of the tunnel if you use the right tools and understand what you need to be monitoring to successfully use containers in your...
Mar. 27, 2017 01:15 PM EDT Reads: 1,750
What if you could build a web application that could support true web-scale traffic without having to ever provision or manage a single server? Sounds magical, and it is! In his session at 20th Cloud Expo, Chris Munns, Senior Developer Advocate for Serverless Applications at Amazon Web Services, will show how to build a serverless website that scales automatically using services like AWS Lambda, Amazon API Gateway, and Amazon S3. We will review several frameworks that can help you build serverle...
Mar. 27, 2017 01:00 PM EDT Reads: 2,111
The Software Defined Data Center (SDDC), which enables organizations to seamlessly run in a hybrid cloud model (public + private cloud), is here to stay. IDC estimates that the software-defined networking market will be valued at $3.7 billion by 2016. Security is a key component and benefit of the SDDC, and offers an opportunity to build security 'from the ground up' and weave it into the environment from day one. In his session at 16th Cloud Expo, Reuven Harrison, CTO and Co-Founder of Tufin, ...
Mar. 27, 2017 11:30 AM EDT Reads: 6,805
SYS-CON Events announced today that HTBase will exhibit at SYS-CON's 20th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. HTBase (Gartner 2016 Cool Vendor) delivers a Composable IT infrastructure solution architected for agility and increased efficiency. It turns compute, storage, and fabric into fluid pools of resources that are easily composed and re-composed to meet each application’s needs. With HTBase, companies can quickly prov...
Mar. 27, 2017 10:30 AM EDT Reads: 3,036
Building custom add-ons does not need to be limited to the ideas you see on a marketplace. In his session at 20th Cloud Expo, Sukhbir Dhillon, CEO and founder of Addteq, will go over some adventures they faced in developing integrations using Atlassian SDK and other technologies/platforms and how it has enabled development teams to experiment with newer paradigms like Serverless and newer features of Atlassian SDKs. In this presentation, you will be taken on a journey of Add-On and Integration ...
Mar. 27, 2017 08:15 AM EDT Reads: 3,198
Culture is the most important ingredient of DevOps. The challenge for most organizations is defining and communicating a vision of beneficial DevOps culture for their organizations, and then facilitating the changes needed to achieve that. Often this comes down to an ability to provide true leadership. As a CIO, are your direct reports IT managers or are they IT leaders? The hard truth is that many IT managers have risen through the ranks based on their technical skills, not their leadership abi...
Mar. 27, 2017 05:00 AM EDT Reads: 11,180
The essence of cloud computing is that all consumable IT resources are delivered as services. In his session at 15th Cloud Expo, Yung Chou, Technology Evangelist at Microsoft, demonstrated the concepts and implementations of two important cloud computing deliveries: Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) and Platform as a Service (PaaS). He discussed from business and technical viewpoints what exactly they are, why we care, how they are different and in what ways, and the strategies for IT to transi...
Mar. 27, 2017 05:00 AM EDT Reads: 6,304
Without a clear strategy for cost control and an architecture designed with cloud services in mind, costs and operational performance can quickly get out of control. To avoid multiple architectural redesigns requires extensive thought and planning. Boundary (now part of BMC) launched a new public-facing multi-tenant high resolution monitoring service on Amazon AWS two years ago, facing challenges and learning best practices in the early days of the new service.
Mar. 27, 2017 03:45 AM EDT Reads: 3,099
All organizations that did not originate this moment have a pre-existing culture as well as legacy technology and processes that can be more or less amenable to DevOps implementation. That organizational culture is influenced by the personalities and management styles of Executive Management, the wider culture in which the organization is situated, and the personalities of key team members at all levels of the organization. This culture and entrenched interests usually throw a wrench in the work...
Mar. 27, 2017 03:00 AM EDT Reads: 3,116
As software becomes more and more complex, we, as software developers, have been splitting up our code into smaller and smaller components. This is also true for the environment in which we run our code: going from bare metal, to VMs to the modern-day Cloud Native world of containers, schedulers and micro services. While we have figured out how to run containerized applications in the cloud using schedulers, we've yet to come up with a good solution to bridge the gap between getting your contain...
Mar. 26, 2017 09:45 PM EDT Reads: 7,782
As organizations realize the scope of the Internet of Things, gaining key insights from Big Data, through the use of advanced analytics, becomes crucial. However, IoT also creates the need for petabyte scale storage of data from millions of devices. A new type of Storage is required which seamlessly integrates robust data analytics with massive scale. These storage systems will act as “smart systems” provide in-place analytics that speed discovery and enable businesses to quickly derive meaningf...
Mar. 26, 2017 07:45 PM EDT Reads: 9,732
DevOps has often been described in terms of CAMS: Culture, Automation, Measuring, Sharing. While we’ve seen a lot of focus on the “A” and even on the “M”, there are very few examples of why the “C" is equally important in the DevOps equation. In her session at @DevOps Summit, Lori MacVittie, of F5 Networks, explored HTTP/1 and HTTP/2 along with Microservices to illustrate why a collaborative culture between Dev, Ops, and the Network is critical to ensuring success.
Mar. 26, 2017 03:00 PM EDT Reads: 10,722