donderdag 27 november 2008

Going on rails with SAAS

Last week I finished a two-month test-job for Eurail.com, a small Dutch company selling Rail Passes to non-European residents. This company contracted other companies to build and maintain their e-commerce and fulfillment solutions.
That's why it can stay so small, because it 'outsourced' its IT to other foreign companies and still can have control over it by use of Service Level Agreements (SLAs).
For me, as a tester of this system, it was vital I knew what Eurail.com wanted with this new system and also to have a clear communication about this with Eurails foreign SAAS-partners.
I discovered railway e-commerce is a dynamic environment and changes every day.
To cope with this I made an initial dataset which had to be updated continuously and make generic testscripts for all parts of the e-commerce process.
And, like other testprojects, testspecification took a lot of time, but in benefit of testexecution, which took a shorter time.

That's my message this time: it is possible to test SAAS, but you do need good communication with all stakeholders and a generic testset and -cases so you, as a tester, can deal with a short time-to market.

donderdag 20 november 2008

Model based testing: A test methodology for SAAS?

Wednesday I attended an event organised by Testnet (Network Dutch testspecialists) where a presentation was being held about Model Based testing (MBT).
When listening to this presentation I wondered if MBT could be a suitable test methodology for SAAS. It is one for embedded testing in the auto-industry and also SOA
The presentation showed there was still a lot of work needed to optimize the testmethod, but it showed great expectations for testing SAAS.
MBT makes use of modeling (with UML) to test the code and is independent of the software methodology like agile etc.
This modeling makes it abstract and also flexible in changing the requirements when this is necessary for the customer.
Another positive feature is that MBT does the test design automatically.
At least, so it is said by the company Smartesting.
That's great, they even do smartesting-training, and no, this is not the same
as Smartest

Ome thing to remember is that MBT is used specifically during System(integration)test and not acceptance test. Here another model-based testmethod can be used: Business Process validation (BPV).
It is also not yet suitable for a big bang- or end to end-test, which we certainly would like to see when using SAAS. But the testcases can be used during systemtest by all stakeholders, so there is no mismatch about the c├║stomer's requirements.
Another thing is that the testers have to learn the modeling techniques to use this method. This requires some adapting, but we testers are used to that.


Concluding, MBT shows great expectations for testing SAAS with its automatic and modeling features and its abstract character makes it a testmethod suitable for every SAAS-application.
One to remember when choosing a teststrategy for SAAS.