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With today’s organizations focusing on SOA and integration architectures, implementations are a complex mix of web “services”, mid-tier “services” and exposed legacy “services.” Left to traditional code and GUI based testing strategies, complex SOA initiatives suffer substantial end-of-project rework and often never get off the ground. With the appropriate integration testing strategy, SOA projects can more reliably deliver on their promise of creating value for the business.

The complexity in SOA is no longer in the code or in the GUI. The complexity is in the integration framework that creates an elaborate network of pathways for a business transaction to travel. While an SOA testing strategy still needs to include code and GUI validation, the emphasis must shift to the integration layers and its pathways. Testing thought processes seem to mirror coding and still have a stack model very similar to “Legos®” SOA thinking needs to shift to an assembly orientation, where the visual perspective is a “Tinker Toy©” paradigm.

Today’s SOA architectures are integration focused, but the testing tools and processes, are still largely focused on the construction orientation of code and GUI’s. As SOA projects are planned, teams need to focus on connectivity and the underlying business processes in their requirements and test plans. Although this may seem obvious, the natural tendency of technicians is to focus on the familiar world of logic transformation and code.

Although there are still improvements that can be made in integration requirements planning, this article focuses on the downstream integration testing strategies. Integration testing generally falls at the end of a project. Without an effective strategy for integration testing, the testing of critical logic is left until the end of a project. The result is generally substantial re-work that results in overruns and delays. An integration testing strategy can eliminate these problems making SOA projects more predictable to deliver.

A radical change is not needed to implement an effective integration testing strategy. What is needed is a paradigm shift. By using dependable methods with a slightly modified perspective – i.e. the “Tinker Toy” approach, SOA testing can become an effective part of any software methodology.

What are the key components of a successful SOA testing strategy?

  1. Plan to succeed – Create an assembly-oriented plan
  2. Focus on the business processes in requirements and testing
  3. Develop a testing team that understands and can validate integration
  4. Test integration connectivity in all test phases; unit, component, integration, and end-to-end.
  5. Create an automated and repeatable testing process
  6. Plan for typical SOA testing hurdles; (e.g. unavailable systems)


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