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Author and Speaker - Robert Binder - Author of Testing Object-Oriented Systems

Testing Twofer: how to Release Rock-solid RESTful APIs and Ice the Testing Backblob


REST APIs are a key enabling technology for the cloud. Mobile applications, service-oriented architecture, and the Internet of Things depend on reliable and usable REST APIs. Unlike browser, native, and mobile apps, REST APIs can only be tested with software that drives the APIs. Unlike developer-centric hand-coded unit testing, adequate testing of REST APIs is truly well-suited to advanced automated testing.

As most web service applications are developed following an Agile process, effective testing must also avoid the "testing backblob," in which work to maintain hand-coded BDD-style test suites exceeds available time after a few iterations.

This talk will present a methodology for developing and testing REST APIs using model-based automation and explain how this has the beneficial side-effect of shrinking the testing backblob.


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  • Jan L.

    Unfortunately, I have a prior commitment, so I can't attend. If you have notes or powerpoints for the presentation, I'd be interested in getting a copy.

    September 8, 2014

    • A former member
      A former member

      HI Jan - I will make the deck available for SQAUD members.

      September 9, 2014

    • Erik S.

      Hi Bob, go ahead and make a PDF file and email it to me, and I will upload it here for members to see.

      September 30, 2014

  • Charles T.

    I sure would love to see a "Hello World" type example. A simple GET then POST to do something on a web site would have made this a lot more likely that I would try to pursue it. Right now I use Firefox for one-off API work and jmeter for "scripts". Since I was a "pup" I have loved the idea of modeling a system then updating that model and using the model to generate the test cases. Right on! But how do I do that... a simple example would help me see how. The examples shown were pretty complex and did not include a demo of how to do it.

    Great talk though! Well organized, well presented. Lots of info to get us started and good humor too! Thanks Robert!

    September 10, 2014

    • A former member
      A former member

      One dilemma of technical presentations is striking a useful balance of understandability and detail. So, all I hoped to accomplish was to provide a high level view of how I apply MBT to REST APIs. The "real" work I've done is confidential and would take too long to explain. I'm working on examples using public REST APIs that I plan to publish - I'll let you know when those are available.

      September 11, 2014

  • Jim H.

    It was great to see SpecExplorer in action, interesting tool and concept.

    If people want to learn more about Model Based Testing (MBT) you will find excellent articles by Robert on his website. Also, look up Harry Robinson (Microsoft/Google) regarding his papers on MBT. Another good source for information is James Whittaker, he spent time at both Microsoft & Google putting his own touch on the MBT work done there.

    And not to be a buzzkill on this, but I think people should know/realize that this type of testing work & automation is very very advanced stuff. I've done research on MBT over the last couple of years seeing what I could use in my automation work. There is a lot to learn and understand about how it all works, so be patient.

    1 · September 10, 2014

    • A former member
      A former member

      Hi Jim

      You're right - using MBT for testing is a specialized skill that takes time and persistence to develop. First, one needs to be able to identify and abstract behavior and relationships, then express these in tool's modeling language. This is similar to developing UML models with the added dimension of considering test purposes. Second, you need to know how to use the tool. The principles of operation for all the MBT tools I know of are significantly different from Selenium or Ranorex, for example. And it usually helps to be proficient in programming. This is pretty much the job description of an "SDET" or software development engineer in test.

      September 11, 2014

  • Todd B.

    For me that was one of the most useful SQuAD talks I can remember. I just wish there had been time to go into more depth.

    1 · September 9, 2014

  • Chris R.

    Hi. I'm looking forward to the discussion about methodology for developing and testing REST APIs using model-based automation. Also looking forward to networking and meeting others in QA. Feel free to connect with me on LinkedIn as well.

    1 · September 3, 2014

  • A former member
    A former member

    Looking forward to discussing model-based testing for REST APIs with SQUAD on the 9th.

    4 · August 18, 2014

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