Some early adopters of Web services are finding value in a new breed of Web Services testing tools.
ABN Amro Bank N.V. is using Parasoft's SOAPtest, which became widely available in April, to test adapter software it developed called Wolf (Web Objects for Legacy Functions).
Wolf, based on the Java language, was created two years ago as a way to tie ABN Amro's Web applications to its legacy systems, and company officials say it has improved customer service. A consumer shopping for a mortgage at the company's Web site, for example, can now get an immediate, guaranteed fee on closing costs. Some mortgage lenders can provide only a lengthy list of estimated fees because of limited links between their sites and other internal data sources.
For more information about the bank's Wolf project, read Feb. 2002 BS&T Executive Q&A at: https://www.banktech.com/story/BNK20020204S0018.
ABN Amro's developers recently extended the software to include Web-services functionality, so Wolf can link any of the company's applications with any data source on the Web. "It will open up a whole new category of data sources for end-user applications," says John Schmuck, testing quality-assessment manager at ABN Amro.
The Dutch company, which has $620 billion in assets, has been working to build its business in the United States. It's still determining how it will use Web services in its businesses, but customer satisfaction is key.
The Parasoft SOAPtest tool that ABN Amro is using measures three main areas of quality testing: functionality (how well the program works), load (how it performs under strain), and regression (whether any code changes result in problems). SOAPtest can evaluate both the performance of Soap transactions at the server level and the user experience at the client level. It does black-box testing, which compares the actual responses from a Web service to the desired responses, and white-box testing, which tests the internal construction of the components that provide Web services.
Using SOAPtest, ABN Amro's engineers can study the functionality of a Soap envelope as it carries data from one source to another, ensuring that data doesn't get corrupted in the process. "SOAPtest is a very good and very fundamental tool," says Paul Raj, lead quality-assessment engineer at ABN Amro. "It's allowing you to intercept the Soap characters as they come along and examine them to make sure they're what you expect they'll be."
This article was an excerpt from "Testing Tools Are Key To Web Services' Success," which ran in the Sept. 2, 2002, issue of InformationWeek. For a complete version of the story, go to: www.informationweek.com/story/IWK20020829S0006