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  1. #1
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    Web Services....How deep?

    Hey all-

    I recently started at a new company that is implementing a new function that calls an external company (service) to return data. In previous years this was done via a pop-up window and directly accessing the site. The new function has all of this done in the background and shown via the UI. The question I have is there any reason to go deeper than validating that data is returned when requested? My main responsibility for testing is specific to the engine, so I am not sure there is anything outside of verifying data is retrieved after being requested.

    Any input is appreciated...

  2. #2
    Moderator Joe Strazzere's Avatar
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    Re: Web Services....How deep?

    There could be many reasons to go deeper.

    Have you tested the scenario where the external service isn't responding?

    What if the external service returns data outside the expected range?
    Joe Strazzere
    Visit my website: AllThingsQuality.com to learn more about quality, testing, and QA!

  3. #3
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    Re: Web Services....How deep?

    Hey Joe-

    Thanks for the response. The piece has not yet been implemented, I am just attempting to come up with a strategy at this point. It's difficult to explain, but my role does not require to verify correct data, but more so just the function is complete. We essentially make a call and are expecting data from the 3rd party, but have no way to know if that data is correct. ( pretty impressive eh? =)) The task at hand is just to verify the engine is making the call and returning data via the service. I am just trying to think if there is something more than should be validated.

  4. #4
    Moderator Joe Strazzere's Avatar
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    Re: Web Services....How deep?

    MMLX89,

    I understand the scenario (having been through it many, many times).

    But remember that once you are calling external services, they are out of your control, yet the user will only be seeing your system. Hence, any problem with the external service is a problem you now own.

    I'm not suggesting that you check for correctness of the data being returned, if your requirements assume that to already be correct.

    I am suggesting that you deal with the inevitable scenario when things out of your control go awry.

    At least you need to ensure that your application handles things gracefully when the unexpected happens (perhaps with an appropriate "please try again later" type of error message, and an approprite entry in your logging system).
    Joe Strazzere
    Visit my website: AllThingsQuality.com to learn more about quality, testing, and QA!

  5. #5
    Super Member SteveO's Avatar
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    Re: Web Services....How deep?

    Any performance requirements? What if it returns the data from your request tomorrow? Is that acceptable?

    [img]/images/graemlins/smile.gif[/img]

  6. #6
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    Re: Web Services....How deep?

    Very good point Joe, I appreciate the feedback. Is there a specific tool (free preferred) that will monitor these calls?

    Steve044, that is a good point as well....our expectation is that data is returned immediately (within reason) based on the amount of data being returned. I will add this into the strategy. Keep the feedback coming, I appreciate it.

  7. #7
    Moderator Joe Strazzere's Avatar
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    Re: Web Services....How deep?

    Tools?

    I'm sure there are many, but I've used simulators we created to take the place of the external service.

    That way, I could stop it as needed, get it to return out-of-range values or values that didn't match the XML package expected, or get it to return values after a given delay.
    Joe Strazzere
    Visit my website: AllThingsQuality.com to learn more about quality, testing, and QA!

  8. #8
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    Re: Web Services....How deep?

    Do you have any experience with Mindreef SoapScope? This seems like a good tool to use to test calls to the services. Any opinions..good and bad are welcomed.

  9. #9
    Super Member SteveO's Avatar
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    Re: Web Services....How deep?

    I've never functionally tested a WebService but since almost all of our services communicate via SOAP over http, we use XMLSpy to create our SOAP message and write the html header to performance test the service using Rational Robot.

  10. #10
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    Re: Web Services....How deep?

    Do you have a way to modify what data they're sending you? One concern I'd have is that if you only use the currently available data, some could come up later on with embedded tags, longer data, missing data, etc which might break the code. If you can't modify the external data directly, I'd suggest setting up a test platform where you can simulate all of these conditions.

    The other danger is that they may change their code - it would be good to set up a monitor to a common call to their site that alerts you (or someone else who can investigate) if there are any changes to the data format.

 

 
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