|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.
When I talk about driving innovation with self-organizing teams, I emphasize that such self-organization includes expecting the participants to organize their own teams, give themselves their own goals, and determine for themselves how to measure their success. In contrast, the definition of skunkworks points out that members of such teams are “usually specially selected.” Good thing he added the word usually – because specially selecting such teams throws a wrench in the entire works, limiting...
May. 25, 2016 05:30 AM EDT Reads: 1,457
As AT&Ts VP of Domain 2.0 architecture writes one aspect of their Domain 2.0 strategy is a goal to embrace a Microservices Application Architecture. One page 9 they describe how these envisage them fitting into the ECOMP architecture: "The initial steps of the recipes include a homing and placement task using constraints specified in the requests. ‘Homing and Placement' are micro-services involving orchestration, inventory, and controllers responsible for infrastructure, network, and applicati...
May. 25, 2016 05:15 AM EDT Reads: 1,588
Application development and delivery methods have undergone radical changes in recent years to improve scalability and resiliency. Container images are the new build and deployment artifacts that are used to ship and run software. While startups have long been comfortable experimenting with and embracing new technologies, even large enterprises are now re-architecting their software systems so that they can benefit from container-enabled micro services architectures. With the launch of DC/OS, w...
May. 25, 2016 05:00 AM EDT Reads: 1,327
Many banks and financial institutions are experimenting with containers in development environments, but when will they move into production? Containers are seen as the key to achieving the ultimate in information technology flexibility and agility. Containers work on both public and private clouds, and make it easy to build and deploy applications. The challenge for regulated industries is the cost and complexity of container security compliance. VM security compliance is already challenging, ...
May. 25, 2016 05:00 AM EDT Reads: 985
Earlier this week, we hosted a Continuous Discussion (#c9d9) on Continuous Delivery (CD) automation and orchestration, featuring expert panelists Dondee Tan, Test Architect at Alaska Air, Taco Bakker, a LEAN Six Sigma black belt focusing on CD, and our own Sam Fell and Anders Wallgren. During this episode, we discussed the differences between CD automation and orchestration, their challenges with setting up CD pipelines and some of the common chokepoints, as well as some best practices and tips...
May. 25, 2016 04:15 AM EDT Reads: 1,255
SYS-CON Events announced today TechTarget has been named “Media Sponsor” of 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, and the 19th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. TechTarget is the Web’s leading destination for serious technology buyers researching and making enterprise technology decisions. Its extensive global networ...
May. 25, 2016 04:15 AM EDT Reads: 3,034
Korean Broadcasting System (KBS) will feature the upcoming 18th Cloud Expo | @ThingsExpo in a New York news documentary about the "New IT for the Future." The documentary will cover how big companies are transmitting or adopting the new IT for the future and will be filmed on the expo floor between June 7-June 9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, New York. KBS has long been a leader in the development of the broadcasting culture of Korea. As the key public service broadcaster of Korea...
May. 25, 2016 04:00 AM EDT Reads: 1,693
Automation is a critical component of DevOps and Continuous Delivery. This morning on #c9d9 we discussed CD Automation and how you can apply Automation to accelerate release cycles, improve quality, safety and governance? What is the difference between Automation and Orchestration? Where should you begin your journey to introduce both?
May. 25, 2016 02:45 AM EDT Reads: 1,268
While there has been much ado about interoperability, there are still no real solutions, same as last year and the year before that. The large EHR vendors who continue to dominate the market still maintain that interoperability is all but solved, still can't connect EHRs across the continuum causing frustration by providers and a disservice to patients. The ONC pays lip service to the problem, but that is about it. It is time for the healthcare industry to consider alternatives like middleware w...
May. 24, 2016 09:45 PM EDT Reads: 1,474
With major technology companies and startups seriously embracing IoT strategies, now is the perfect time to attend @ThingsExpo 2016 in New York and Silicon Valley. Learn what is going on, contribute to the discussions, and ensure that your enterprise is as "IoT-Ready" as it can be! Internet of @ThingsExpo, taking place Nov 3-5, 2015, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, is co-located with 17th Cloud Expo and will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty ...
May. 24, 2016 06:00 PM EDT Reads: 4,662
Our CTO, Anders Wallgren, recently sat down to take part in the “B2B Nation: IT” podcast — the series dedicated to serving the IT professional community with expert opinions and advice on the world of information technology. Listen to the great conversation, where Anders shares his thoughts on DevOps lessons from large enterprises, the growth of microservices and containers, and more.
May. 24, 2016 05:00 PM EDT Reads: 1,450
The 19th International Cloud Expo has announced that its Call for Papers is open. Cloud Expo, to be held November 1-3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, brings together Cloud Computing, Big Data, Internet of Things, DevOps, Containers, Microservices and WebRTC to one location. With cloud computing driving a higher percentage of enterprise IT budgets every year, it becomes increasingly important to plant your flag in this fast-expanding business opportunity. Submit y...
May. 24, 2016 05:00 PM EDT Reads: 1,855
Internet of @ThingsExpo, taking place November 1-3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, is co-located with the 19th International Cloud Expo and will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world and ThingsExpo New York Call for Papers is now open.
May. 24, 2016 04:00 PM EDT Reads: 1,689
SYS-CON Events announced today the How to Create Angular 2 Clients for the Cloud Workshop, being held June 7, 2016, in conjunction with 18th Cloud Expo | @ThingsExpo, at the Javits Center in New York, NY. Angular 2 is a complete re-write of the popular framework AngularJS. Programming in Angular 2 is greatly simplified. Now it’s a component-based well-performing framework. The immersive one-day workshop led by Yakov Fain, a Java Champion and a co-founder of the IT consultancy Farata Systems and...
May. 24, 2016 02:00 PM EDT Reads: 3,860
IoT generates lots of temporal data. But how do you unlock its value? How do you coordinate the diverse moving parts that must come together when developing your IoT product? What are the key challenges addressed by Data as a Service? How does cloud computing underlie and connect the notions of Digital and DevOps What is the impact of the API economy? What is the business imperative for Cognitive Computing? Get all these questions and hundreds more like them answered at the 18th Cloud Expo...
May. 24, 2016 01:45 PM EDT Reads: 2,073
@DevOpsSummit taking place June 7-9, 2016 at Javits Center, New York City, and Nov 1-3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, is co-located with the 18th International @CloudExpo and will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world.
May. 24, 2016 12:00 PM EDT Reads: 3,264
Just last week a senior Hybris consultant shared the story of a customer engagement on which he was working. This customer had problems, serious problems. We’re talking about response times far beyond the most liberal acceptable standard. They were unable to solve the issue in their eCommerce platform – specifically Hybris. Although the eCommerce project was delivered by a system integrator / implementation partner, the vendor still gets involved when things go really wrong. After all, the vendo...
May. 24, 2016 09:45 AM EDT Reads: 1,344
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. 24, 2016 09:15 AM EDT Reads: 1,821
SYS-CON Events announced today the Docker Meets Kubernetes – Intro into the Kubernetes World, being held June 9, 2016, in conjunction with 18th Cloud Expo | @ThingsExpo, at the Javits Center in New York, NY. Register for 'Docker Meets Kubernetes Workshop' Here! This workshop led by Sebastian Scheele, co-founder of Loodse, introduces participants to Kubernetes (container orchestration). Through a combination of instructor-led presentations, demonstrations, and hands-on labs, participants learn ...
May. 24, 2016 09:00 AM EDT Reads: 1,808
The initial debate is over: Any enterprise with a serious commitment to IT is migrating to the cloud. But things are not so simple. There is a complex mix of on-premises, colocated, and public-cloud deployments. In this power panel at 18th Cloud Expo, moderated by Conference Chair Roger Strukhoff, panelists will look at the present state of cloud from the C-level view, and how great companies and rock star executives can use cloud computing to meet their most ambitious and disruptive business ...
May. 24, 2016 09:00 AM EDT Reads: 1,993