Intro To Interoperability Testing

As the Fall semester kicks off and I begin to dive into the curriculum of Software QA and Testing I quickly realized how little I actually know and how in depth testing really needs to be. That being said I want to use my blog posts as an opportunity to learn about different types of testing. That lead me to go with the article “A Simple Guide to Interoperability Testing” written by the team over at ThinkSys. I really had no idea what Interoperability Testing was before I read this so I decided to learn. I also liked that it was written in 2017. I know a lot of software topics have remained the same for decades but there’s something refreshing about reading something that has been published more recently.

First off, interoperability testing is a type of non-functional testing. This means it is testing the way a system operates and the readiness of the system. In the most general sense interoperability is how well a system interacts with other systems and applications. A great example provided is a banking application system (seen below) where a user is transferring money. There is data/info exchange on both sides of the transfer without an interruption of functioning to finish the transaction.

Banking Application Interoperability

The testing of the functionality that takes place to allow a fluent interaction between systems is what interoperability testing really is. It ensures end to end functionality between systems based on protocols and standards. The article covers 5 steps to perform this type of testing. They consist of:

  1. Planning/Strategy: Understand each application that will be interacting in the network
  2.  Mapping/Implementing: Each requirement should have appropriate test cases associated. All test plans and test cases are developed.
  3. Execution: Running all test cases and logging and correcting defects. Also retesting and regression testing after patches have been applied.
  4. Evaluate: Determine what the test results mean and ensure you have complete coverage of requirements.
  5. Review: Document and review the testing approach, outline all test cases and practices so further testing can improve on what has been done.

Some of the challenges that can arise with interoperability testing include the wide range of interactions that can take place between systems, testing multiple system environments can be difficult, and root causes of defects can be harder to track with multiple systems involved.

After reading this article I can definitely see the complexity in interoperability testing. Taking an iterative approach seems like it would be the best method because you can use your results each iteration to create better test cases and more coverage. Trying to tackle all the test cases in one execution would be overwhelming and it would be difficult to have close to full coverage. It seems like interoperability testing would need to take place anytime an application is updated as well to make sure the systems that interact with it are still compatible. Now that I have a general understanding of interoperability testing I am certain it will play a role in future jobs and work I do. With today’s technology, it is rare to have a complete standalone application that doesn’t interact with additional systems.

In conclusion I enjoyed this article because it was simple, to the point, and I was able to retain the information.

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