Virgin Mobile is using a new tool to test integration within a service-oriented architecture.
Francesca Kay, test manager at the company, said the tool, GH Tester from Green Hat, is being used to test its Tibco middleware infrastructure integration for customer relationship management and billing applications.
Testing middleware that connects internal and external applications together poses difficult challenges for users.
Unlike traditional software testing, which involves seeing how a user would run the software, middleware testing involves the computer-to-computer connections. In the past, software developers have had to write custom code known as "stub code" to emulate such connections.
GHTester enables Kay's team of 16 in-house testers and up to six consultants to monitor messages produced by the Tibco middleware, in order to identify potential errors. If an error does occur, GH Tester can be used to correct the message, allowing tests to continue without having to be restarted. "There is no need to redo the whole test," said Kay.
The product aims to speed up the time taken to test middleware. Green Hat is hoping to address the problem of test programs needing to be written to check the system and to simulate other components during testing.
Rob Hailstone, research director at IDC said, "Many products are able to check [middleware] messages when they fail. It is useful to edit a [incorrect] message to allow the test to continue."
The next Virgin Mobile project to use GH Tester will be a new SMS service. The tool will be used to test stub code which emulates connections to third parties such as credit checking agencies and T-Mobile, which provides the Virgin service.
The SMS project is due to be launched later this year, with regression tests using GH Tester scheduled to start at the end of April.