They Test Web Sites, Don’t They?
Written By: D. Geller
Published On: June 7 2000
They Test Web Sites, Don't They?
RSW Software, Inc., a business unit of test equipment giant Teradyne,
Inc. (NYSE: TER), makes software that supports the testing of websites.
Their lead product, the e-TEST suite, allows users to capture into a
recorded "script file" the commands that they use to interact with a website.
The script file can later be played back to perform regression testing.
The same scripts can also be used for automatic monitoring and for load
testing. The latest version of the software, e-TEST suite 4.2, can also
test Web applications that use Java applets. It also offers Web-based
reporting tools and supports double-byte character sets.
company also introduced a new product, EJB-test. This product makes it
possible to test middle tier applications based on Enterprise JavaBeans.
The application can automatically inspect the functionality and performance
of EJBs as individual components, as a group of components or as an entire
EJB application to determine its calling interface, and from that develop
a program that feeds data to the application and examines the results.
EJB-test is used primarily to test scalability, it has the capability
of generating a range of values within the acceptable limits and of running
many concurrent versions of the test. While EJB-test cannot determine
which values will best exercise the application, an engineer can, if necessary,
alter this test program to ensure that more appropriate inputs are generated?
There is a desperate need for tools that make testing Web applications
easy. Unfortunately, when people talk about developing "in Internet time"
this usually means that they don't have time to test. Too frequently,
and not just with Internet applications, companies "release" software
so that users can do the testing. Often "Web testing" is more than likely
employed just for performance testing, tests for broken links often comes
in second. Scriptable testing is important, but has been frequently viewed
as too hard or too difficult.
doesn't do everything, but it is easy to set up and can automate much
of the regression testing that sites should do. That the same set of scripts
can be used for functional/regression testing and for performance testing
is an added benefit.
EJB-test product is one of those good ideas that people were talking about
twenty years ago but, because technology at that time didn't support exposing
interfaces the way Enterprise JavaBeans and other object oriented systems
do, was never commercially viable. Success on RSW's part will certainly
be followed by imitators and, possibly more important in the long run,
copycats for the Microsoft COM/COM+ technologies.
Web sites are exceedingly fragile. Testing is even required for static
sites, because problems can be introduced when content is changed. Once
dynamic pages are added there is even more opportunity for problems to
arise. No testing tools will detect the really interesting problems -
the ones that keep the crack developers up all night - but they can eliminate
the really embarrassing ones. At a starting cost of under $5,000 it's
easy to justify the purchase of e-TEST - and with a free downloadable
seven-day trial copy you can determine whether the product does the job
before considering whether to purchase it.
is a more narrowly targeted product, of interest only to companies that
do substantial JavaBeans development. But the principle, of testing middleware
components before applications are loaded on them is a good one, and as
studies have shown repetitively, the earlier an error is caught during
the construction of a large system the lower the overall cost of the system
also offers a free trial, and we don't see how anyone involved in developing
or customizing middleware built with JaveBeans can avoid giving it a download.
In fact, companies considering the use of EJB may consider it a better
option now that EJB-test is available.
forward, the likelihood that RSW Software (probability 90%) or someone
else (probability 100%) will bring out similar tools for Microsoft-centric
development should make a lot of project managers happy.