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HP Test Manager supports early SOA testing

HP Service Test and Service Test Management software target service-oriented architectures. One medical industry user says the software supports testing earlier in the SDLC, when server software may be ready but waiting for client software completion.

HP recently updated its quality management software suite aimed at improving enterprises' results with popular service-oriented architectures (SOAs). Included in the release are HP Service Test Management, which lets teams control quality management activities from a service-oriented perspective, and HP Service Test, which enables functional testing of SOA services.

One user says the software better supports testing earlier in the software development lifecycle, when defects can be managed and fixed most economically. This can be particularly important in SOA applications, where different software components can come from different departments and organizations that are all working on different development timelines.

SOA applications often rely on XML-based Web services protocols that provide loosely coupled "as-needed" integration. The Web Services Description Language (WSDL) is often used to describe contracts that help services successfully interact. But SOA applications just as often hook into legacy applications supporting classic binary API integrations.

"Good shops are building software from both the server-side and client-side view. Sometimes that's planned and sometimes it's not," said Jordan Gottlieb, quality assurance architect for McKesson McKesson Corp., a major pharmaceutical distributor and Healthcare IT company. With the HP software, he said, quality teams are able to do some testing on the server side before a full client is available to exercise tests.

"Using [HP] Service Test, we can do some level of testing we could not do before," he said. "For example, we can test the server-side WSDLs directly where, before, we would have been waiting on a GUI to exercise it," Gottlieb continued.

"Then, you would find functional defects later on. Now you find them early on and it [can] help mitigate defects," said Gottlieb. He added that the HP software supports testing on multiple platforms and noted that, with his team's SOA tests, earlier functional tests can now more easily form the basis for subsequent performance tests.

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SOA prompts changes in quality assurance

Gottlieb said his focus over the last few years has been to help implement an automated testing strategy at the company. That involves almost all aspects of a project's lifecycle. Understanding between quality teams and developers is critical, he indicated.

"Open lines of communication between the quality group and the development group are required for the effort to be successful," he said.

At the same time it released HP Quality Management for SOA updates, HP rolled out versions of HP Diagnostics for SOA, HP SOA Policy Enforcer and HP Business Availability Center for SOA as part of its HP SOA Management software line.

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