Web services testing -- the human touch

Technology may continue to advance, but human beings are still human beings. As such, the human factor must still be considered when choosing test tools for Web services, according to Laura Naylor, senior director of marketing at RadView Software Ltd., Burlington, Mass.

Noting that 'people get pulled into QA when it wasn't their career objective,' Naylor said testing tools need to be designed to help the 'novice, beginner and introductory QA professionals' get started on their new career path. For the recent college graduate with a humanities degree who finds that the sparse job opportunities in a tight economy include something called quality assurance, testing tools need to be easy to use.

Thus, said Naylor, RadView's development team is designing the next generation of the firm's Web application testing tools with that kind of newly minted QA professional in mind. A graphical user interface will allow the tester to interact with the Web service like an end user, thus creating a test script that mimics how users will work with the service.

However, that action is only half of the human equation in Web services testing, contends Naylor, as professional developers can also be involved in parts of the testing process. She notes that the relationship between the people working in QA and traditional developers is not always a marriage made in heaven.

'Historically, they are kind of contentious,' she said. 'QA will find a problem and indicate to development that there's an issue. Development then says, 'I can't recreate it. I'm not having that issue. I think it's something you're doing with the test.''

To promote collaboration rather than contention, RadView officials say the firm's new tools promise to offer a point-and-click interface for the novice, and at the same time allow developers to code tests in Java Script. In addition, test scripts created by beginner QA personnel using the graphical interface can automatically generate Java Script that a seasoned developer can view and modify, said Naylor.

This will allow the developer to see and understand what the novice tester has wrought, she explained. In the RadView scenario for Web services testing, QA people working with applications as if they were end users would create initial scripts and then pass them on to professional developers. Developers could then code additions and corrections to the script, creating a balance between technical and human factors in the software.

The new RadView tools, currently in beta, are scheduled to be released in October. For more information, click on

About the Author

Rich Seeley is Web Editor for Campus Technology.


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