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Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Clean Up Your SOAP-based Web Services

Though SOAP's significance may diminish as Web services evolve, its
importance in the SOA marketplace for the time being is unquestionable.
Therefore, a substantial portion of the QA work by Web service providers
and consumers must entail verifying the accurate exchange of SOAP
messages. Not surprisingly, several SOAP-focused Web service testing
tools have appeared. I had an opportunity to look a five such tools:
AdventNet's QEngine, Crosscheck Networks SOAPSonar, iTKO's LISA,
Mindreef's SOAPscope Server, and Parasoft's SOAtest. Fundamentally,
testing a SOAP-based Web service involves three activities: constructing
a SOAP request, submitting it, and evaluating the response. As easy as
that sounds, it is anything but. An effective SOAP-testing tool cannot
simply rely on a user-friendly mechanism for building requests. It must
also enable the user to organize and arrange requests in realistic
sequences, provide a means of altering request input values, and
intelligently tweak requests so as to expose the Web service to a range
of good and bad usage scenarios. In short, you want the tool to run the
Web service through a reasonable approximation of real-world activity.
In addition, the tool must be equipped with a collection of gadgets for
evaluating responses. Such gadgets should include everything from simple
string matching to executing an arbitrarily complex XQuery on the SOAP
payload. All of the tools reviewed here provide variations on the
preceding capabilities. All make valiant attempts to shield the user
from direct exposure to XML, and some keep users entirely in a
protective GUI so that coding is never necessary. More Information

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