|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.
Overgrown applications have given way to modular applications, driven by the need to break larger problems into smaller problems. Similarly large monolithic development processes have been forced to be broken into smaller agile development cycles. Looking at trends in software development, microservices architectures meet the same demands. Additional benefits of microservices architectures are compartmentalization and a limited impact of service failure versus a complete software malfunction. ...
Jun. 30, 2015 01:56 PM EDT Reads: 354
Containers have changed the mind of IT in DevOps. They enable developers to work with dev, test, stage and production environments identically. Containers provide the right abstraction for microservices and many cloud platforms have integrated them into deployment pipelines. DevOps and Containers together help companies to achieve their business goals faster and more effectively. In his session at DevOps Summit, Ruslan Synytsky, CEO and Co-founder of Jelastic, reviewed the current landscape of...
Jun. 30, 2015 01:30 PM EDT Reads: 2,046
The cloud has transformed how we think about software quality. Instead of preventing failures, we must focus on automatic recovery from failure. In other words, resilience trumps traditional quality measures. Continuous delivery models further squeeze traditional notions of quality. Remember the venerable project management Iron Triangle? Among time, scope, and cost, you can only fix two or quality will suffer. Only in today's DevOps world, continuous testing, integration, and deployment upend...
Jun. 30, 2015 12:30 PM EDT Reads: 1,786
Conferences agendas. Event navigation. Specific tasks, like buying a house or getting a car loan. If you've installed an app for any of these things you've installed what's known as a "disposable mobile app" or DMA. Apps designed for a single use-case and with the expectation they'll be "thrown away" like brochures. Deleted until needed again. These apps are necessarily small, agile and highly volatile. Sometimes existing only for a short time - say to support an event like an election, the Wor...
Jun. 30, 2015 12:30 PM EDT Reads: 1,504
"Plutora provides release and testing environment capabilities to the enterprise," explained Dalibor Siroky, Director and Co-founder of Plutora, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at @DevOpsSummit, held June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City.
Jun. 30, 2015 09:15 AM EDT Reads: 785
DevOps tends to focus on the relationship between Dev and Ops, putting an emphasis on the ops and application infrastructure. But that’s changing with microservices architectures. In her session at DevOps Summit, Lori MacVittie, Evangelist for F5 Networks, will focus on how microservices are changing the underlying architectures needed to scale, secure and deliver applications based on highly distributed (micro) services and why that means an expansion into “the network” for DevOps.
Jun. 30, 2015 08:30 AM EDT Reads: 2,360
Cloud Migration Management (CMM) refers to the best practices for planning and managing migration of IT systems from a legacy platform to a Cloud Provider through a combination professional services consulting and software tools. A Cloud migration project can be a relatively simple exercise, where applications are migrated ‘as is’, to gain benefits such as elastic capacity and utility pricing, but without making any changes to the application architecture, software development methods or busine...
Jun. 30, 2015 08:30 AM EDT Reads: 1,841
Discussions about cloud computing are evolving into discussions about enterprise IT in general. As enterprises increasingly migrate toward their own unique clouds, new issues such as the use of containers and microservices emerge to keep things interesting. In this Power Panel at 16th Cloud Expo, moderated by Conference Chair Roger Strukhoff, panelists addressed the state of cloud computing today, and what enterprise IT professionals need to know about how the latest topics and trends affect t...
Jun. 30, 2015 08:30 AM EDT Reads: 980
Data center models are changing. A variety of technical trends and business demands are forcing that change, most of them centered on the explosive growth of applications. That means, in turn, that the requirements for application delivery are changing. Certainly application delivery needs to be agile, not waterfall. It needs to deliver services in hours, not weeks or months. It needs to be more cost efficient. And more than anything else, it needs to be really, dc infra axisreally, super focus...
Jun. 30, 2015 08:00 AM EDT Reads: 1,858
Sharding has become a popular means of achieving scalability in application architectures in which read/write data separation is not only possible, but desirable to achieve new heights of concurrency. The premise is that by splitting up read and write duties, it is possible to get better overall performance at the cost of a slight delay in consistency. That is, it takes a bit of time to replicate changes initiated by a "write" to the read-only master database. It's eventually consistent, and it'...
Jun. 30, 2015 07:45 AM EDT Reads: 1,632
Many people recognize DevOps as an enormous benefit – faster application deployment, automated toolchains, support of more granular updates, better cooperation across groups. However, less appreciated is the journey enterprise IT groups need to make to achieve this outcome. The plain fact is that established IT processes reflect a very different set of goals: stability, infrequent change, hands-on administration, and alignment with ITIL. So how does an enterprise IT organization implement change...
Jun. 29, 2015 12:45 PM EDT Reads: 2,752
While DevOps most critically and famously fosters collaboration, communication, and integration through cultural change, culture is more of an output than an input. In order to actively drive cultural evolution, organizations must make substantial organizational and process changes, and adopt new technologies, to encourage a DevOps culture. Moderated by Andi Mann, panelists discussed how to balance these three pillars of DevOps, where to focus attention (and resources), where organizations migh...
Jun. 28, 2015 05:00 PM EDT Reads: 1,966
At DevOps Summit NY there’s been a whole lot of talk about not just DevOps, but containers, IoT, and microservices. Sessions focused not just on the cultural shift needed to grow at scale with a DevOps approach, but also made sure to include the network ”plumbing” needed to ensure success as applications decompose into the microservice architectures enabling rapid growth and support for the Internet of (Every)Things.
Jun. 28, 2015 01:00 PM EDT Reads: 1,869
Mashape is bringing real-time analytics to microservices with the release of Mashape Analytics. First built internally to analyze the performance of more than 13,000 APIs served by the mashape.com marketplace, this new tool provides developers with robust visibility into their APIs and how they function within microservices. A purpose-built, open analytics platform designed specifically for APIs and microservices architectures, Mashape Analytics also lets developers and DevOps teams understand w...
Jun. 27, 2015 11:00 AM EDT Reads: 1,905
Sumo Logic has announced comprehensive analytics capabilities for organizations embracing DevOps practices, microservices architectures and containers to build applications. As application architectures evolve toward microservices, containers continue to gain traction for providing the ideal environment to build, deploy and operate these applications across distributed systems. The volume and complexity of data generated by these environments make monitoring and troubleshooting an enormous chall...
Jun. 26, 2015 12:00 PM EDT Reads: 1,519
Buzzword alert: Microservices and IoT at a DevOps conference? What could possibly go wrong? In this Power Panel at DevOps Summit, moderated by Jason Bloomberg, the leading expert on architecting agility for the enterprise and president of Intellyx, panelists peeled away the buzz and discuss the important architectural principles behind implementing IoT solutions for the enterprise. As remote IoT devices and sensors become increasingly intelligent, they become part of our distributed cloud envir...
Jun. 26, 2015 12:00 PM EDT Reads: 2,191
Containers and Docker are all the rage these days. In fact, containers — with Docker as the leading container implementation — have changed how we deploy systems, especially those comprised of microservices. Despite all the buzz, however, Docker and other containers are still relatively new and not yet mainstream. That being said, even early Docker adopters need a good monitoring tool, so last month we added Docker monitoring to SPM. We built it on top of spm-agent – the extensible framework f...
Jun. 26, 2015 09:00 AM EDT Reads: 1,573
There's a lot of things we do to improve the performance of web and mobile applications. We use caching. We use compression. We offload security (SSL and TLS) to a proxy with greater compute capacity. We apply image optimization and minification to content. We do all that because performance is king. Failure to perform can be, for many businesses, equivalent to an outage with increased abandonment rates and angry customers taking to the Internet to express their extreme displeasure.
Jun. 25, 2015 01:00 PM EDT Reads: 1,874
Jun. 25, 2015 03:01 AM EDT Reads: 349
SYS-CON Events announced today that the "Second Containers & Microservices Conference" will take place November 3-5, 2015, at the Santa Clara Convention Center, Santa Clara, CA, and the “Third Containers & Microservices Conference” will take place June 7-9, 2016, at Javits Center in New York City. Containers and microservices have become topics of intense interest throughout the cloud developer and enterprise IT communities.
Jun. 22, 2015 02:15 PM EDT Reads: 2,746