Web Services Test Automation: Framework, challenges & benefits

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Web services provide a standard means of interoperating between software applications running on a variety of platforms and frameworks. These services form the basis of a connection technology such that services are connected together into a Service Oriented Architecture (SOA). Further, services communicate with each other using web services, the mostused connection technology of SOA. Web services effectuate a standardized way of integrating web-based applications using XML, Simple Object Access Protocol (SOAP), Web Services Description Language (WSDL), and UDDI open standards over an internet protocol.  

web service is offered by an electronic device to another electronic device, communicating with each other via the World Wide Web. It is also true that a failed web service wreaks havoc not only for the managers but also for the administrators who are responsible for the server’s wellbeing. A failure also causes problems for the clients trying to call a particular web service. 

The most important primary elements of web services are repository, messaging, and service. Since web services are distributed over networks and applications, the testing requirements need to be inclusive of the interfaces.  

Web services are inherently vulnerable to additional risks in the areas of integration and interoperability. They can be implemented using any programming language on any platform, provided that a standardized XML interface description called WSDL is available. A standardized messaging protocol called SOAP is also used at the same time. Web services often run over HTTP but may run over other application layer transport protocols as well. Automating web services testing facilitates the reduction of overall testing efforts. 

What are the challenges faced by web services? 

  • Lack of assurance of trustworthiness 
  • Improper provision of client’s input parameters 
  • Malicious users can manipulate the different parameters at times to draw unauthorized information 
  • Unavailability of source code hinders white-box testing 

Web Services Testing 

Web services provide seamless connections from one software application to another over private intranets and the Internet. Web services testing considers functionality and load aspects to check how a web service performs for single clients and scales as the number of clients accessing it increases.  

Testing of web services is useful to prevent late detection of errors, which requires complex and costly repairs. It enables the detection of errors, evaluation, and approval of system qualities at an earlier stage. An automated test approach, in particular, helps to efficiently repeat tests whenever needed. In particular, test automation will be essential to a sound and efficient web services development process, for the assessment of the functionality, performance, and scalability of web services. 

Web services testing includes: 

  • Generate the client or skeleton code for the web service 
  • Define the required test inputs 
  • Invoke the web service using the client or skeleton code 
  • Client or skeleton code generation and response verification 
  • Verify that the actual response is similar to that of the expected outcome 

Web services testing tools 

There are various web services testing tools available, such as SoapUI, TestMaker, WebInjectetc.  These tools are built on opensource tools/libraries/frameworks and thus help reduce overall costs and help increase automation efficiency by minimizing initial coding effort. These tools help to quickly create and execute automated functional, regression, compliance, and loading tests. Finally, they help reduce dependency on technically skilled resources.  

In this fastpaced world, a quicker test cycle at lower cost is vital to stay competitive and thus, reusable test automation frameworks coupled with open source tools and technologies is a key solution to shrink test cycle time and related costs. 

There are web services test automation frameworks available that are designed and developed by many testing service providers and adopting them reflects more effectiveness. Some of their important features & benefits are detailed below. 

Web services test automation framework features 

  • Customizable frameworks developed based on the need 
  • Flexible test suites and test cases can be configured 
  • Enables test script creation with minimal coding effort 
  • Instantly sets the headers and assertions for SOAP requests 
  • Easily parses the XML requests with inputs 
  • Minimal or no scripting required from the enduser 
  • Enhanced reports and logs provided for reference and future action 

Benefits of adopting web services test automation frameworks 

  • Improves performance and reliability of the SOA 
  • Eases testing of both SOA-based and REST API-based web services 
  • Supports test execution of web services in a cloud environment 
  • Ensures 100% Functional Test coverage 

To sum up 

Web services enable two machines or applications to communicate with each other and exchange information. The functionality, usability, performance, and other non-functional aspects of an application depend on the effectiveness of this communication. This is what web services testing ascertains. 

Cigniti, with years of automation expertise in open source technologies, has developed a proprietary, easy to use framework that automates the web services testing of SOA-based applications at the interface level and reduces the need to support testing in parallel to the development phase. The accelerator supports both functional testing and performance testing of the web services and reduces test case authoring effort by 80%. Connect with our WSTA specialists to know more about this framework.