Don't Forget to Test Those e-Business Apps
The future belongs to e-business. Wall Street thinks so. Thousands of entrepreneurs and
venture capitalists think so. Brick-and-mortar businesses think so. And, most importantly,
millions of consumers and businesses that buy products think so.
Yet online business, though growing at unbelievable speeds, still represents only a
fraction of overall business transaction totals, which still follow a more traditional
model. Organizations are finding that building a Web site that can handle the heavy
requirements of processing potentially huge numbers of transactions is not easy. However,
most businesses must find ways to build adequate sites in order to survive.
Clearly, software development organizations face some significant obstacles in their
efforts to build e-business systems that can hold up to virtually unlimited transaction
activity without crashing or even losing contact with a potential customer. These complex
systems must be built much faster than traditional systems.
In addition, any system running a commercial Web site has to work - and work continuously.
Buyers are unlikely to overlook problems in completing a transaction on your site when
so many more options are available. Thus, many experts are urging Web software developers
to implement a strong testing process to ensure that vital applications can meet the
requirements of the potentially huge loads that could come at virtually any time.
Corporate developers have long eschewed the testing process, preferring to concentrate their
efforts on the development piece of the process. As Project Editor Deborah Melewski points
out in this month's Cover Story ("Are you ready?," p. 37), examples abound of sites that
crashed due to unexpected loads. Just last month, hackers shut down some of the best-known
sites on the Web by flooding them with data packets from several scattered sites. Industry
experts tell Melewski that testing during the development process to determine whether
applications can handle massive transaction loads can help managers feel at least somewhat
safe in a very dangerous e-business world. The story looks at the load testing implementations
of several organizations that are depending on Web sites to generate virtually all of their
business. The experiences of these organizations can help managers involved in Web projects.
This month's issue also includes a Special Report on the state of
Enterprise Application Integration (EAI) that features the strong opinions of Ovum analyst
Katy Ring on the requirements for implementing a successful EAI project. Ring advises
development managers that there are no EAI silver bullets, but the goal can be reached
through some creative means.
Michael W. Bucken
Mike Bucken is former Editor-in-Chief of Application Development Trends magazine.