|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.
The notion of customer journeys, of course, are central to the digital marketer’s playbook. Clearly, enterprises should focus their digital efforts on such journeys, as they represent customer interactions over time. But making customer journeys the centerpiece of the enterprise architecture, however, leaves more questions than answers. The challenge arises when EAs consider the context of the customer journey in the overall architecture as well as the architectural elements that make up each...
May. 5, 2016 04:00 AM EDT Reads: 2,057
Much of the discussion around cloud DevOps focuses on the speed with which companies need to get new code into production. This focus is important – because in an increasingly digital marketplace, new code enables new value propositions. New code is also often essential for maintaining competitive parity with market innovators. But new code doesn’t just have to deliver the functionality the business requires. It also has to behave well because the behavior of code in the cloud affects performan...
May. 5, 2016 03:15 AM EDT Reads: 1,480
Admittedly, two years ago I was a bulk contributor to the DevOps noise with conversations rooted in the movement around culture, principles, and goals. And while all of these elements of DevOps environments are important, I’ve found that the biggest challenge now is a lack of understanding as to why DevOps is beneficial. It’s getting the wheels going, or just taking the next step. The best way to start on the road to change is to take a look at the companies that have already made great headway ...
May. 5, 2016 01:30 AM EDT Reads: 443
In 2006, Martin Fowler posted his now famous essay on Continuous Integration. Looking back, what seemed revolutionary, radical or just plain crazy is now common, pedestrian and "just what you do." I love it. Back then, building and releasing software was a real pain. Integration was something you did at the end, after code complete, and we didn't know how long it would take. Some people may recall how we, as an industry, spent a massive amount of time integrating code from one team with another...
May. 5, 2016 01:15 AM EDT Reads: 1,133
Many private cloud projects were built to deliver self-service access to development and test resources. While those clouds delivered faster access to resources, they lacked visibility, control and security needed for production deployments. In their session at 18th Cloud Expo, Steve Anderson, Product Manager at BMC Software, and Rick Lefort, Principal Technical Marketing Consultant at BMC Software, will discuss how a cloud designed for production operations not only helps accelerate developer...
May. 5, 2016 01:00 AM EDT Reads: 1,313
I have an article in the recently released “DZone Guide to Building and Deploying Applications on the Cloud” entitled “Fullstack Engineering in the Age of Hybrid Cloud”. In this article I discuss the need and skills of a Fullstack Engineer with relation to troubleshooting and repairing complex, distributed hybrid cloud applications. My recent experiences with troubleshooting issues with my Docker WordPress container only reinforce the details I wrote about in this piece. Without my comprehensive...
May. 4, 2016 11:45 PM EDT Reads: 991
From the conception of Docker containers to the unfolding microservices revolution we see today, here is a brief history of what I like to call 'containerology'. In 2013, we were solidly in the monolithic application era. I had noticed that a growing amount of effort was going into deploying and configuring applications. As applications had grown in complexity and interdependency over the years, the effort to install and configure them was becoming significant. But the road did not end with a ...
May. 4, 2016 11:00 PM EDT Reads: 677
Struggling to keep up with increasing application demand? Learn how Platform as a Service (PaaS) can streamline application development processes and make resource management easy.
May. 4, 2016 09:00 PM EDT Reads: 2,241
As the software delivery industry continues to evolve and mature, the challenge of managing the growing list of the tools and processes becomes more daunting every day. Today, Application Lifecycle Management (ALM) platforms are proving most valuable by providing the governance, management and coordination for every stage of development, deployment and release. Recently, I spoke with Madison Moore at SD Times about the changing market and where ALM is headed.
May. 4, 2016 08:00 PM EDT Reads: 1,620
In a crowded world of popular computer languages, platforms and ecosystems, Node.js is one of the hottest. According to w3techs.com, Node.js usage has gone up 241 percent in the last year alone. Retailers have taken notice and are implementing it on many levels. I am going to share the basics of Node.js, and discuss why retailers are using it to reduce page load times and improve server efficiency. I’ll talk about similar developments such as Docker and microservices, and look at several compani...
May. 4, 2016 07:00 PM EDT Reads: 752
The goal of any tech business worth its salt is to provide the best product or service to its clients in the most efficient and cost-effective way possible. This is just as true in the development of software products as it is in other product design services. Microservices, an app architecture style that leans mostly on independent, self-contained programs, are quickly becoming the new norm, so to speak. With this change comes a declining reliance on older SOAs like COBRA, a push toward more s...
May. 4, 2016 05:30 PM EDT Reads: 1,689
Small teams are more effective. The general agreement is that anything from 5 to 12 is the 'right' small. But of course small teams will also have 'small' throughput - relatively speaking. So if your demand is X and the throughput of a small team is X/10, you probably need 10 teams to meet that demand. But more teams also mean more effort to coordinate and align their efforts in the same direction. So, the challenge is how to harness the power of small teams and yet orchestrate multiples of them...
May. 4, 2016 04:00 PM EDT Reads: 517
SYS-CON Events announced today that Peak 10, Inc., a national IT infrastructure and cloud services provider, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 18th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Peak 10 provides reliable, tailored data center and network services, cloud and managed services. Its solutions are designed to scale and adapt to customers’ changing business needs, enabling them to lower costs, improve performance and focus inter...
May. 4, 2016 01:00 PM EDT Reads: 1,448
Much of the value of DevOps comes from a (renewed) focus on measurement, sharing, and continuous feedback loops. In increasingly complex DevOps workflows and environments, and especially in larger, regulated, or more crystallized organizations, these core concepts become even more critical. In his session at @DevOpsSummit at 18th Cloud Expo, Andi Mann, Chief Technology Advocate at Splunk, will show how, by focusing on 'metrics that matter,' you can provide objective, transparent, and meaningfu...
May. 4, 2016 12:30 PM EDT Reads: 1,120
In the world of DevOps there are ‘known good practices’ – aka ‘patterns’ – and ‘known bad practices’ – aka ‘anti-patterns.' Many of these patterns and anti-patterns have been developed from real world experience, especially by the early adopters of DevOps theory; but many are more feasible in theory than in practice, especially for more recent entrants to the DevOps scene. In this power panel at @DevOpsSummit at 18th Cloud Expo, moderated by DevOps Conference Chair Andi Mann, panelists will dis...
May. 4, 2016 12:00 PM EDT Reads: 1,076
Wow, if you ever wanted to learn about Rugged DevOps (some call it DevSecOps), sit down for a spell with Shannon Lietz, Ian Allison and Scott Kennedy from Intuit. We discussed a number of important topics including internal war games, culture hacking, gamification of Rugged DevOps and starting as a small team. There are 100 gold nuggets in this conversation for novices and experts alike.
May. 4, 2016 06:00 AM EDT Reads: 990
If there is anything we have learned by now, is that every business paves their own unique path for releasing software- every pipeline, implementation and practices are a bit different, and DevOps comes in all shapes and sizes. Software delivery practices are often comprised of set of several complementing (or even competing) methodologies – such as leveraging Agile, DevOps and even a mix of ITIL, to create the combination that’s most suitable for your organization and that maximize your busines...
May. 3, 2016 07:30 PM EDT Reads: 1,946
Digital means customer preferences and behavior are driving enterprise technology decisions to be sure, but let’s not forget our employees. After all, when we say customer, we mean customer writ large, including partners, supply chain participants, and yes, those salaried denizens whose daily labor forms the cornerstone of the enterprise. While your customers bask in the warm rays of your digital efforts, are your employees toiling away in the dark recesses of your enterprise, pecking data into...
May. 3, 2016 04:45 PM EDT Reads: 1,156
You deployed your app with the Bluemix PaaS and it's gaining some serious traction, so it's time to make some tweaks. Did you design your application in a way that it can scale in the cloud? Were you even thinking about the cloud when you built the app? If not, chances are your app is going to break. Check out this webcast to learn various techniques for designing applications that will scale successfully in Bluemix, for the confidence you need to take your apps to the next level and beyond.
May. 3, 2016 12:15 PM EDT Reads: 1,629
With DevOps becoming more well-known and established practice in nearly every industry that delivers software, it is important to continually reassess its efficacy. This week’s top 10 includes a discussion on how the quick uptake of DevOps adoption in the enterprise has posed some serious challenges. Additionally, organizations who have taken the DevOps plunge must find ways to find, hire and keep their DevOps talent in order to keep the machine running smoothly.
May. 3, 2016 06:30 AM EDT Reads: 1,522