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Quality
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IntelliEx Web services provide organizations with flexible, standards-based mechanisms for deploying business logic and functionality to distributed consumers. When functionality is distributed, however, quality management becomes imperative.

Mission-critical functions and sensitive data handling must work quickly and accurately at all times. To ensure this level of quality, organizations must employ test processes to ensure that the Web services are developed and deployed to meet these standards.


Defining Quality
Quality starts with requirements. In order to design and deliver Web services, developers must know what functionality is needed. The more specific the requirements, the better the development effort.

Likewise, testers must know what functional and performance requirements have been defined. Developers work on interpreting user requirements to generate code. Test strategy should be done concurrently to ensure that testers work from the same requirements used by development. If test strategy is based on developed code as opposed to initial requirements, the resulting end product may be based on a single individual's misinterpretation of a requirement.

By creating tests based on the original requirement documents, additional people interpret the project needs. That said, if differences in requirement interpretation arise, resolution early in the process occurs as opposed to discovery after development is complete.
  • Performance:
    must respond to requests within acceptable time limits
  • Accuracy:
    must be accurate regardless of load
  • Standards compliance:
    must work with all potential client types
  • Integration:
    must work with all services and applications within the enterprise


Managing the quality process
Managing the flow of development and testing from inception through deployment necessitates communication. Requirements must be disseminated, business risks assessed, tests defined and results published. Each group and individual within a project has input into the system and each expects something back. For example, developers need the requirements initially defined in order to code effectively. In the best scenario, they provide test client code, scripts and other intellectual property, allowing QA to work more quickly and effectively.

Throughout the life cycle, different individuals provide data and extract information. A collaborative system must be in place to ensure that everyone gets the information most relevant to them, while allowing them to provide relevant data in return.


Testing
Since Web services provide distributed computational functionality, they don't often have graphical user interfaces from which to test. Developers have several options to test the code: create test clients by hand, develop test clients with an integrated development environment plug-in, use dynamically generated clients, or employ tools based on Web Services Description Language.

Regardless of the testing method, developers are testing the core functionality of the code, ensuring that the Web service meets its intended goal. This may or may not include concurrency testing to ensure that multiple users can access the Web service simultaneously.

As coding and unit testing progresses, the code, test results and test clients need to be organized and passed on to the next stage. QA can use this intellectual property to shorten testing time.


The integrated quality management life cycle
Knowledge sharing and technology reuse are core components of ensuring the quality of Web services. By integrating people through good practices, individuals have the information needed to perform tasks in an optimal fashion. By reusing technology from initial unit testing, through functional and scalability testing, to production monitoring and back again, testing cycles are not only shortened, but information flow in both directions is enhanced.

Putting all of the pieces together in this fashion keeps Web service development and deployment quality at its highest. Business runs smoothly with critical functionality distributed through quality Web services, while consumers get the correct and timely responses.



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