Friday, March 07, 2008

SOA Test Training in Tampa

Just got back in from Tampa, FL where I conducted a private workshop there on SOA Testing. (BTW, thanks for those of you who were in the class for making it a good one!) It's quite a temperature change from the 70's to the 30's coming back home.

It is an interesting challenge to be both learning and teaching. Although I have been working with a variety of companies in SOA testing, some as early as 1999, even those companies are still learning. It's like many people (including myself) are on "the bleeding edge" of this topic. We're still learning as we go. I hope to be sharing many more lessons learned in SOA testing soon on this blog. I would also like to hear more of your experiences.

By the way, here is an interesting quote (not about SOA, but about learning while doing):

"You must learn in real time and in action. You cannot afford to wait until everything is perfect to go out and do what you want to do. If you wait for perfection to go out into the world and do big things, you're never going to get there - or anywhere else for that matter. Many people hold themselves back because they think they have to know everything about how to do something before they actually do it. This is not true. You can and should learn while doing."
Michael Port

If you are into testing SOA, tell others about my blog so we can all get into the discussion.

One big lesson I have learned in SOA testing is that when you go to the conferences, read the articles, etc., many of the approaches are oriented toward a particular vendor's toolset and/or methodology. While the tools are great in providing leverage in SOA testing, vendor stuff happens (like being sold, etc.), which can place your entire testing effort in limbo. Plus, not everyone has the deep pockets for the tools. At least there are open source tools like soapUI that can help.

And it's not only because of tools there may be a skewing of information. It may be the variety of opinions from many people as to what works and what doesn't. These opinions are shaped by many things - the business itself, technologies, people, etc. I'm not saying to disregard anything, just test it for yourself.

It would be much like someone doing a Google search on "software testing" and trying to build a test approach just from the wide variety of opinions and techniques. Take it from a guy who has been around for awhile in software testing that you still need to try, prove and adapt your own testing approaches.

When trying to make it up the learning curve on SOA testing, keep in mind that everyone is learning. As validation, just look at articles written 3 years ago on SOA and compare them to what is being written today. The approaches are maturing. What was important then may not be so important today.

One of the things I learned in teaching the class was a great tool/service called This is a really cool web-based script that generates test data and lets you export it in a variety of formats, even in SQL commands. I plan to add this to my list of cheap and free test tools and also add a video tutorial soon. Thanks to Ronan Madjar for finding that one and calling it to my attention!

I look forward to continually improving and extending this course to bridge the gap between SOA development and testing. With your help, we can do it!


ping1958 said...

I was one of the attendees for Randy's recent SOA Testing Class in Tampa, FL. Randy delivered an excellent SOA Testing foundations class in terms of what is new for SOA Testing plus reminding us that we can apply testing techniques that we already know!

I would highly recommend this class to any business that is transitioning to SOA Architecture so they can understand how to do SOA testing. Randy is an excellent teacher who does not read to you from his slides, but does present solutions based on his real-world experiences.

So Randy, when will you have the Intermediate SOA Testing class available??

Kim Miller
Catalina Marketing

Randy Rice said...

Thanks for the positive comments, Kim! It was a pleasure meeting you and the rest of the team and presenting the class. It was really great to see people seeing how SOA testing works at the basic levels.

Yes, the Intermediate SOA class is the next one to develop. I have a couple of other courses in the development queue (Finishing the Agile and Exploratory Testing class, and also working on the Risk-Based Testing class), but I can always start the outline for the Intermediate SOA course.

The big question is "What is Intermediate?" Perhaps delving deeper into testing services at the structural level, understanding and testing BPEL, and other topics like that. Any input from anyone would be appreciated!

The good news is that I have a pretty rapid course development process once I get the design in place. I think ideally, both the foundational and intermediate should fit into a 5-day period.

One other thought - on other intermediate level courses I have developed, I have focused more on a workshop format where the core concepts are presented, then as a class we work on some fairly challenging projects to understand and apply the concepts. This type of course is easier to develop, but more challenging to present! However, the lessons learned seem to take hold better.

Let's keep thinking about this one and get an outline in place.