Faster SOA testing drives iTKO Eclipse release

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Service-oriented architecture testing begins earlier in the development lifecycle, reports iTKO Inc., the software testing vendor specializing in SOA. That means developers take the lead in quality assurance.

Years of urging SOA developers to test early and test often are paying off as coders become increasingly involved in testing their applications, said Chris Kraus, product manager for iTKO's LISA tools for automating unit, functional, regression, load and performance testing.

With SOA developers making increasing use of the Eclipse framework, he said, iTKO customers began demanding Eclipse support, which the company satisfied today with the release of LISA Eclipse Edition. The new edition offers integration with the Eclipse IDE, Source Control, Lifecycle Management, Standard Widget Toolkit, and other tools.

While Eclipse is popular with developers, Kraus said, quality assurance professionals are not as familiar with it.

"Our QA users don't usually have Eclipse installed," he said, so the company is offering options of using the traditional Swing UI, with which they are familiar, or they can put Eclipse on their desktop with the new LISA version.

QA users are also getting support from developers who are building "harnesses" or Web pages that provide an easier interface for testing SOA applications, Kraus said. This allows the testing of publish and subscribe messages from JMS or interactions with Web services, he continued.

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"Developers create a Web page where the QA person can enter the data to publish to JMS or Web service calls to EJBs and they get back the response on the page," Kraus said.

The QA person may not know how to publish to JMS or do a Web service call, but with the Web page the developer gives them they can enter data and get back XML to check and verify that the SOA application is working correctly, he said.

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The increased involvement of developers in the QA process is seen as a positive trend for SOA by iTKO.

"We've always preached testing earlier in the lifecycle," Kraus said. He is now seeing a trend where developers write a service, and immediately create the UI test pages, so QA can begin verifying that the service is working correctly.

He estimates that this saves a week in development time over the old "waterfall" approach where coders built the entire application, then dropped it into QA and waited for test results before fixing problems and returning it to QA for another round of testing.

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