After launching the Community Edition of Parasoft Virtualize back in February (which gives users the ability to create virtual test labs for free!), this week we released SOAtest and Virtualize 9.10.2, and CTP 3.0.2. The product updates focus on three specific areas:
- Broadening access to the testing solution through the thin client interface
- Solving data challenges through enhanced workflows
- Shifting left performance testing
I thought I would expand on what that means more specifically, and provide some current use cases for these features.
(Rather watch than read? Watch me explain it in the short video below.)
1. Broadening access to the testing solution
One of the things that makes SOAtest and Virtualize so powerful is their integration with Parasoft’s Environment Manager. This thin client interface allows testers and developers to visualize environments by mapping out relationships between applications and their dependent components. Not only does this increase domain knowledge by providing instant feedback when a backend system has gone down, but it also allows testers to tie together end-to-end test cases with specific components in the environment.
Running tests with environmental context gives greater meaning to the results – if the test case fails and the underlying components have passed the initial health check, the tester has greater confidence that the test results are reliable.
In this new release, we simplified many workflows, to enable users to quickly create environments that provide feedback into the health of the environment. Here's what the Environment Manager looks like:
HOW IS IT BEING USED?
To use a real-life example, one of our healthcare customers uses the Environment Manager to provide their developers and testers with a dashboard that visualizes key applications. Users can see in real-time where outages occur, and can address what remediation steps need to take place in order to resolve the outage. Even better, testers are equipped with knowledge of environmental health prior to executing tests. As a result, testing results have become more dependable and predictable, and by identifying the particular dependencies with high utilization and low reliability, the environments have become more stable.
With this week's release, it's easier to access these workflows – they are now available through common cloud providers such as AWS (in fact, as we speak there is a free 30 day trial available for AWS) and Azure. By putting this thin client architecture in place, testers and developers have instant access to start creating test and virtual artifacts, as well as collaborating and sharing their resources. To facilitate this, we introduced a requirements traceability integration, and it is now easier for testers to design test cases that are not only environmentally aware, but have a connection with their original requirements.
BUT WAIT, THERE'S MORE!
The thin client architecture itself was also significantly enhanced for this release:
- Users now have the ability to enable and disable test cases, suites, virtual services, and tools; and can execute the tests directly from the scenario tree.
- The streamlined workflows make it easy to create meaningful artifacts.
- Test designers can intuitively use the quick actions and easily share their artifacts with other team members. Developers interested in creating virtual services have the same workflows.
With the addition of these new tools, the thin client architecture really has become the go-to location for getting started, and will support test and virtual service designers through the majority of their projects.
2. Solving data challenges through enhanced workflows
As software practitioners leverage solutions like API testing and service virtualization, they rapidly become aware of challenges that stem from a lack of data. For instance, imagine you have to create a virtual service that responds with data that has dynamic characteristics – let's say, an airline that needs to integrate with a third-party service, such as Sabre. When exercising their application, they may have a scenario in which a user submits a timeframe and the API provides flights that are available. If the flight dates need to be available three months in the future, you would need to set up a block of data that would have these flights available over the three-month period. This would be fine, until you actually reached the date (three months in the future), at which point the data would become obsolete and you would have to go to the painstaking effort of reprovisioning the proper data. If you’ve ever worked with an application that had date-sensitive data, this challenge probably strikes a chord with you.
Understanding this challenge, we've brought two solutions in this release:
- The ability to create a repository directly from a test or asset
- The brand-new simple data-generator tool
The data repository is a key piece of functionality that simplifies the process of understanding data. Introduced several versions ago, it solved some pretty key challenges that software users faced, such as being able to update complex data as services changed, and handling hierarchy for both responses and validations. In this new version, a data repository data source can be created at the very onset of the artifact's lifecycle. It doesn’t matter if you have all of the data because you know that going forward you can use the data reuse functionality to expand it. This provides a repeatable workflow for users to take every time they create services or test cases. You know that your data will be in the right format from the very beginning.
While the data repository from form input view solves the challenge of getting started with data, what happens when you have a test artifact that doesn’t play by the static data rules? What do you do with dynamic data such as the data from the airline example above? Without a better solution, we would have to constantly update the data source to make sure that the flights were available three months out. The simple data generator tool solves these types of challenges where data is unavailable or obsolete, by providing test designers with the means to get instant access to dynamic data. It allows you to generate data values as a precondition to test creation, or on the fly.
Normal data challenges like this used to require some amount of code knowledge, but with the new data-generator tool, test artifact creation is simple and intuitive.
3. Shifting left performance testing
It has traditionally been difficult to convey performance testing results to stakeholders. Performance tests tend to be pass fail, and it is difficult for test designers to set up feedback mechanisms that provide the correct consolidated information to specific users while being customizable enough for those users to see trends in their specific areas. Our solution to these problems is Parasoft LoadTest Continuum.
LoadTest Continuum provides a web-enabled dashboard that displays performance test results from Parasoft LoadTest (our performance testing tool that is provided with Parasoft SOAtest), providing instant access to meaningful performance trending information. LoadTest allows you to reuse existing SOAtest test cases, so users don’t need to reinvent the wheel when it comes to performance testing – they can simply leverage what they already have. LoadTest Continuum then takes all of those results and provides an easy-to-read dashboard that stakeholders can access right in their browser:
With this dashboard, trending information is now visible at a high level, and stakeholders can effectively view the specific information that is pertinent to their application.
There were many additional enhancements to the Parasoft ecosystem that you can read about in the full release notes, but the overarching theme is a continued support for the test and development community. Parasoft is committed to the success of IT individuals and knows that the best way to enable a tester or developer is to let them do what they do best and provide a tooling architecture that supports their native workflows.
If you are an existing customer, I would encourage you to upgrade your infrastructure to get the latest and greatest features by visiting the Parasoft Customer Portal. If you’re new to Parasoft, you can request a demo or even download the Parasoft Virtualize Community Edition for free and get started right away.