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5. SOAPSonar – Defining Success Criteria

Just because a response code is response code is 200 range or not in the 400 range, does not meant that the test met with with the business requirements a tester is required to test for. For a list of Status Codes look here. This is represented by the Success criteria or Baseline arrow vs Outcome.

SOAPSonar Test Cycle

Perhaps your test case requires a specific code, value, response time or some other form of validation. Responding with a fax number instead of phone number, or the wrong persons number, is still a defect. For this reason, SOAPSonar offers a variety configuration options, to define what is indeed a successful test case and what is not. Lets start again with our SOAP example we used in Tutorial 4, and use the same .csv data sources for calculate and maps

1. Launch SOAPSonar and Open the test case from Tutorial 4. If you did not do that tutorial, now is a good time. Check that you have both Automation data sources under Configuration, Data Sources by going and in checking the columns. Check also you have our SOAP calculate Service and JSON Google Maps service.

1 check ADS

2. Lets use Subtract_1 service. Select it,. then in a= right-click and select [ADS] Automation Data Source, Quick Select, Calculate, Input a. Then in b= select [ADS],Input bCommit.

2. Subtract

3. Lets run this in run view. Select Run View, delete any existing test cases and drag Subtract_1 under the Default Group. Commit and Run Suite. How many test cases did you run and how many passed? I had all 10 pass.

3 Run suite

4. Now lets go back to Project View and define some additional success criteria. Select Subtract_1 and next to the Input Data tab, is a Success Criteria Tab. Select Success Criteria Tab and Add Criteria Rule.

4. Add success

5. Lets first add a rule for Response Time. Performance is after all a functional requirement and so should be part of functional testing. Lets just say 1 second as max value.

5 Timing

6. Now lets compare the result in column 4 of our .csv. Add Criteria Rule, Document, XPath Match. Then select your new rule and refresh if you need to. Look for SubtractResult parameter and right-click on it. Select Compare Element Value. Notice the Criteria Rules tab changes.

6. XPath

7. Select The Criteria Rule tab, then set match function to Exact Match. Then Choose Dynamic Criteria, Independent Column Variables, Calculate.csvSubtract Result Column from our [ADS]. Ok Commit.

7 Dynamic

8. Switch to Run View and lets run this test again. Commit, Run Suite. This time 9 passed and 1 failed. If you check that .csv file, line 3 subtract value answer column is wrong. The result being 10, yet the expected value being 5. Without defining Success criteria, this would have being missed. Performance wise I had no failures and responses were good.

8 Run

9. Now lets see if we can do this with JSON. Select Google Maps test, in Run View, clear the DefaultGroup, drag Google Maps over and Commit and Run Suite to make sure it is working. All 6 of mine passed.

9 Maps

10. Back in Project View. Select The Success Criteria Tab, and Add Criteria Rule, Timing, for a maximum response of 1 second.  Then Add Criteria Rule, Document, XPath Match. Select it and look for the distance, value. Right-click on it and Compare Element Value.

10 Google

11. Select the Criteria Rules, set Match Function to Exact Match and select icon Choose Dynamic Criteria, Independent Column Variables, your googlemaps.csv, Meters column. Ok, Commit.

11 Exact

12. Run Default Suite. This time 2 of the 6 test cases failed for me, although the time was near, in both cases, it was because my csv had a different value. We will look into report view in our next tutorial.

12 Report


Being able to mix performance, and various header and message requirements into a multiple rule set to define success criteria, allows for automation to reflect business requirements. This helps ensure that you are not just testing Status codes, or incorrect functionality, but the full response. Taking the time to define each test case with the right success criteria initially ensures that your baseline, performance and other systems tests are more accurate.

The arrow from the enablers to the data sources in the diagram at the top of the page, indicates the ability to use direct SQL or other calls to enablers to compare the values with those found in the response. Allowing success criteria to include validating the service is selecting the right value from the enabler.


Continuous Testing in Agile

Along with performance testing, there were 2 other themes that continually came up in conversations during STAR Canada.

  1. How should QA integrate in a Agile environment
  2. The need for “Continuous Testing”.

While there are thousands of articles about Continuous Testing, and hundreds of thousands on Agile, there seems little on both. Perhaps due to some apparent conflicts.

Lets look at a theoretical QA in an agile environment. Say your organization Sprints are 2 weeks in length, each scrum having 8-10 members for manageability. Due to project time constraints,  there are 5 scrums working concurrently, each focussed on a different component of development of your application. What test cycles are done as part of the sprint and what cycles are done outside or as cross functional teams?

Agile Testing Levels

It was pointed out that although common, doing only unit tests and integration testing on your Sprints code, then jumping to acceptance testing of that sprint, is not Agile. Agile should in fact have all test stages built into the Sprint. Many companies ignore various test cycles like load, integration and security testing of the end to end system as there simply is not time in each Sprint.

An alternate approach is to created independent teams outside of the Agile development. Their role is to test integration, load, security and systems in integrated environments. Defects identified are then fed back into the scrum meetings and allocated to particular Sprint. This also is not really Agile, falling into some kind of hybrid. The challenge here is that issues are often identified after sprints are finished and so not really continuous testing either.

A second approach, was to create cross functional roles were the scrum masters and one or more members of each sprint were allocated to doing systems level testing and possibly fixes. These cross functional teams, would near the end of each sprint, break out of their old scrum into the new role. The challenge with this approach is that on shorter sprints, and large systems, they can land up spending more time in the cross functional role than in their own scrum.

Continuous Testing

Continuous Testing is somewhat the same as Baseline and Regression Testing, but need not only testing against a Baseline. Its about continually testing while developing through the entire SDLC. The benefit that issues can be identified far earlier (Shift Left approach) resulting in lower costs to address. Agile environments at first glance, seem to favour continuous testing, but does that include, regression, integration and systems testing across Sprints? If each test case takes 9 minutes to complete, 1 tester can only run 53 test cases in a day or 533 tests in a Sprint. This is simply not enough coverage to test all systems and other tests continuously. The result, is partial or low test coverage.

Enter Automation

If as part of each Sprint, a fully developed set of test cases are developed by each Sprint in the same application (eg SOAPSonar) covering their development efforts. The incremental work to role these up into test cases for integration, load etc would be minimal. Each sprint then shares a set of Integration, performance, load and regression etc tests that they simply run as part of their sprint. Being automated, these can even run after hours. The result is continuous testing of both at the Systems level and the Sprint level, without the heavy resource requirements of manual testing. issues be the system wide, or sprint level can then be addressed in Sprint.


The concern with this is the same as with any automation project, “Will The Development of the Automation Scripts Not Take More Time than the Resulting Benefit.” This is a tool selection question. Finding the right tool for your team to use to minimize the time taken developing and maintaining various test cases from function through load and regression, to acceptance testing.

Would you like to weigh in with your thoughts or comments on the subject?

4 SOAPSonar – Using Automation Data Sources

In Tutorial 2 we got started with REST and SOAP service, using design view and doing a unit test. In Tutorial 3 we chained the response from one service to be a request for a second service, creating a mash-up test between REST and SOAP services to run in Run View. In this tutorial we going to show how to use an external source like a .csv file for automating a range of values. This is represented in the test cycle by variables and data sources. 

Why use Automation Data Sources? Well lets say you need to test a range of users, or values. Take Canadian postal codes as an example. There are 845,990 Canadian postal codes. Yet when testing, you may not need to test all of them. However each province, has 1 or more letters that start the postal code for the region. All BC postal codes starting with V. There is 18 possible start letters, each mapped to a given area. If your percentage coverage requires validation of address by checking postal code to province and includes testing negative scenarios, you could be required to run the same test case through 20 or more unit tests. If you have read more detailed service plan costing, you can see that 20 unit tests through many test iterations can add significantly to testing costs. The challenge however is to do this, without spending too long on the test creation or maintenance. If each release requires new scripting, the value of automation greatly decreases.

I am going to first use the SOAP calculate service, but show a JSON service example afterwards.

1. Lets first create our data source. There are many places on the web to find already created data sources, but in this case, I will use MS Excel to create one and save it as a CSV. I created 6 columns, input A, Input B and then the expected results for each service. I have only 10 lines, but you can make these much longer. Here is the calculate csv file for you to download.

1 Create csv

2. Run SOAPSonar (with Admin Rights) and in the capture WSDL bar paste and press enter. Select Configure Project Data Sources. Here we define any Automation Data Sources we may use.

2. Config data sources

3. Now select Add Automation Data Source. You can see that ODBC, SQL, Oracle, Excel or File bases data sources are supported. Select File Data Source for .csv.

3 Add data souce

4. Give your Data source a Alias, Locate the .csv file you downloaded and ensure its still Iteration, and Data Series in rows. On the right of Data Variables field (were my curser is), select the option to refresh data and view data. Do you now see your .csv file? Select OK.

4. Refresh

5. Now lets use that Data Source on the Add_1 function. Make sure you are in Project View, and QA mode and Select Add_1. Right-click in a= field and select [ADS] Automation Data Source, Quick Select, Your Alias (mine is calculate), Input A column. do the same in b= field selecting Input B. Commit the test settings.

5. Project view

6. Now select Run View, and Drag Add_1, under the DefaultGroup. Commit. How many test case did you expect run? Run Suite to execute the test suite.

6 run view

7. You can see I ran through the entire csv file rows, or 10 test cases. You can Analyse These Results in Report View, but we will leave that and Success Criteria for another tutorial.

7. Results

8.Lets try this with JSON. File, New Test Group. File, New JSON Test Case and paste into the URI and make sure method is GET.

8 Google URI

9. Lets add our data source  Add this googlemaps .csv file to you Data Sources as a file data source. Remember to refresh and check it before saying OK.

8. maps

10. Now in the URI highlight (delete) toronto and right-click (insert) and select [ADS] Automation Data Source, Quick Select, Cities, Origin. Do the same for montreal. Commit.

10 insert

11. Drag your Test case over to Run View and commit and run suite. How many test cases did you run now?

11. run


You have just used a Automation Data Source in both a JSON and  SOAP Service. Running multiple values through a unit test, vs manually entering these same values. What is important to consider here is putting the right values into the CSV file to test as many variables as needed. Using a Tool like SOAPSonar with a Automation Data Source, increases your coverage, and reduces the time taken to run test cases. Whats more, since it is not script bases, there should be little issue if any, running it again on the next code release., further reducing testing time.


CloudPort for REST Response Generation

In SOAPSonar tutorial 3 we tested a simple chained service for a mashup. The first being a REST service look-up on google maps for distance between Toronto and Montreal, the second a calculation service to work out how long it would take to ride a bike at your own speed.

Now what if you are required to test the second service, when the first is not available? Does the team sit idle, resulting in project “Dead Hours”? Do you call a meeting, tell them to review test cases documentation, plan, take lunch what? The effect of Dead hours can somewhat be seen in my last post on Service Plan Costing

Why may a service not available? There are many of reasons.

  1. Lab is not available
  2. Network or connectivity is down
  3. You working from home/cottage/travelling
  4. Its a 3rd party’s service, and they have other testing
  5. The service is there, but you need to load test and the service does not allow for that
  6. The service data cannot be corrupted, etc.

Whatever the reason, what you need is something to respond the same way to a the same request, so that other test cases and automation does not fail. Now you could have development hammer out some code, get infrastructure and then installed it on a server, but that will take time and resources. Alternately you can use CloudPort.

1. Run CloudPort. This example is simple so we will just create a service and not capture one. Select Build Simulation. The proxy capture tool makes capturing more complex services and WSDL much easier.

1 build

2. File, New, Custom Simulation and then File, New, JSON Simulation Rule. Rename it to Montreal

2. New Service

3. Now the first thing we need to do is set up a network listener policy, the port and URI that CloudPort will run on and listen for requests. In Project Tree, select Network Listeners and enter a Name of Google Maps, leave the IP and lets say port 8888. For the URI lets use a similar one, so only the port and machine are different. Enter /maps/api/directions/json/. Select the green check box to commit.

3.  network listener

4. Now we need to define request listener policy for a particular request string, URI or parameter. Select Add Manual Rule, URL Query Parameter and enter montreal. We now listening for a JSON query with montreal in it. When CloudPort gets that request, it will send the response we define in the step 6.

4 - New listener

5. Lets remove the default rule that matches all documents. Select the number 1 next to the default rule and select remove.

5 - delete default

6. Next we flip over the the Response tab. Now you could get creative and put in any response you like, but we do need that field with the distance. So to make this simple, I am just going to copy the response from the real sever into CloudPort. So long as we have the part we need we should be fine.

“distance”: {
“text”: “621 km”,
“value”: 621476

For fun I added a line at the top “note”: “this is a CloudPort simulation and not the real service”, and left the same as before.

6 response

7. Not that we needed it, but just in case, I will define the distance as a variable. Select Response Runtime Variables and scroll down to the value (distance in meters) and right-click, add variable reference.

7 runtime

8. We could now clone this for as many different queries as we need, changing just the query listener and the response.

9. Lastly I want to add a error service. Right-click on tests, New JSON Simulator and rename it Error. Since its after the first rule, we will leave the default catch everything, and in the response, I had some fun with the error code and message.

9. error

10. Time to test it out. Save your project then start local simulator with project. See the URI for the service is displayed on port localhost:8888?

10 run view

11. In SOAPSonar, lets make a slight change to test case. Clone it and past into the host and path. Leave the query the same. Commit and send. Can you my response. Note my added field? In every other way, this response should be the same. If you replace Montreal with some other city, what do you get?

11 SSonar

12. Back in CloudPort’s runtime player, you can see the transaction.

12 Runtime


In a few minutes you have ritualized a simple web service. What’s better is that the runtime player is free. That project you created, can be used by as many people in your or outside of your organization as you may wish to share it with.

Virtualizing or simulating a service is a quick way to remove many of the environmental factors that testing has to deal with on a day to day basis. From creating early mock-ups to trouble shooting performance, there are literally hundreds of use cases.

It was pointed out to me that for a single static response like this, you could use the FREE Runtime player and dont need the licensed service creation aspect. That said, the tutorial is valuable if you wish to extend this to multiple requests and responses and more complex workflow.


STAR Canada


We will be at STAR Canada next week on the demo floor in a booth. Please stop by and introduce yourselves! Its a annual chance to meet some of our users and meet many people face to face for the first time. We look forward to seeing you.

Its at the Hilton Downtown Toronto and we will be there Tuesday 8th all day and Wednesday 9th till 1:00pm.



For those of you who attended my TASSQ presentation, this post is not new, but for those that did not, I wanted to so a post to give you some background.

The example we used at TASSQ was;

“If you have an assignment to test 500 services, each service has 10 functions and each function requires 4 tests, upper boundary, lower boundary, and 2 negatives. Using service plan costing, the total number of test cases you would need to test is then 500 x 10 x 4 = 20,000.”

Now before you say, there hundreds of ways to reduce that number, let me agree and say, yes there are many ways we could. But lets leave that discussion for other posts, or another presentation (was actually something I was going to speak to) and pretend that this number is is the result AFTER all optimization is done. The Reducing Amount of Test Coverage series of posts will address ways this can be done.

Service Plan Costsing

The TASSQ numbers were numbers in the second column, I got polling the audience, and I believe are pretty conservative.

  1. Number of Release Iterations – This is how many times you get a code drop from Development that is tested by QA. Each time, QA runs through a series of tests, be the manual or automated.
  2. Integration Testing is testing integration with Identity systems, 3rd parties and existing systems.
  3. System Testing includes testing the system as deployed. Testing the environment. Load vs performance, DR, preproduction, and production etc.
  4. Time per test case, is a breakdown of time taken to run a single test
  5. Hourly Rate all in, needs no introduction – we tend to have a slavish focus on this number which often translate into salary cuts.
  6. Tools and Infrastructure costs is the capital expense for buying software etc. to test
  7. Training – far to often Zero
  8. Additional overhead, any number not previously in there, like recruiting costs etc.

The result is a project cost of $1,473,500 which would take 10 resources at 8 hours a day 450 days to test.

Now for the not so obvious Truth about Testing.

  1. In Column 3, we changed 1 number, test time, to understand the effects it has. If you could save 1 minute a test case, the multiplier effect translates this into $160,000 savings or some 11%. How do you like that for a reason for optimization or Automation. Time and Time again I am told, “but we can do the same thing in-house without buying tools” and time and time again, I ask, “but does it take more or less time”. I heard QA staff complaining about no training, and yet, a course would be cheap in comparison. More Importantly for some we cut 50 days off testing time!
  2. In Column 4 we dropped one test cycle for a saving of $120,000 or 8% or 37 days. Remember the last time development gave a code drop that was not fully baked? Why do people use different tools and test case’s for functional and performance tests, when they could wrap them into one?
  3. In Column 5 we reduced the hourly wage by $5/hour. The effect, $180,000 or 12%, yet time remains constant…. Not as much effect as you thought perhaps?
  4. Column 6 we tripled tool costs, in an effort to reduce testing time or release cycles. The effect is some 4%


So regardless of if your business uses service plan costing or not, it is a valuable tool for understanding and dissecting QA costs. For focussing attention on the matters that really effect costs. In fact, I believe KPI and pareto analysis of these KPI is important for any QA manager. I always like to hear ideas that reduce testing time or test cycles, so please, feel free to share your thoughts.