In this age, where new and innovative software products are storming the IT industry, it is crucial for organizations to deliver a unique and high-quality product with remarkable features. This need for innovation has further led to the modification of the software testing life cycle, as software testers are adopting new and different testing techniques to test the software. Interoperability testing is among these tests that are now performed on the software to ensure interaction with other software systems and applications effortlessly. Thus, to elaborate on its importance in STLC, here is a detailed discussion on interoperability testing and its various components.
What do you mean Interoperability Testing?
The term interoperability means the capability of a software to interact with other software's or applications without depicting any issues or bugs. It is to ensure the accuracy of this interaction between two or more software's or application that interoperability testing is executed by the software testers.
The main objective of this testing is to ensure the end-to-end functionality between two communicating systems is as per the requirements of the user or the organization. Moreover, it guarantees that the functionality between these systems conforms to the required standards on which they are based.
Because of the benefits offered by this testing, it has become one of the most used software testing, as it verifies whether the application is compatible with other application or not and ensures if the application promotes the cross usage functionality.
Features of Interoperability Testing:
- Interoperability testing includes the syntax of the program, format of the data, physical sufficiency, and logical connection method to help the user to use it easily.
- It should be so stable that it should route the data back and forth without any issue like losing the data or any issue in the functioning of the application.
- Should be built in such a way that it should sustain and recognize all the data coming and going from the other software or the application.
- It handles the stress in the architecture role.
- Provides proper accessibility, which further helps get useful results.
- Interoperability testing is also used in the field of medicines. The details of the patients should be interoperable at many levels. This should ensure that patient's records will be transferred from one office to other. Hence the records will be digitalized and tested on the regular basis.
Importance of Interoperability Testing:
The requirement and importance of interoperability is sky-high nowadays, as different software products with different architectures are being built using latest technologies. Since these architectures have several types, it further increases the requirement of interoperability testing, while developing a base for the end users. Hence, listed below are the some of the reasons that make interoperability testing important:
- Interoperability testing ensures that the software products deliver their expected behavior independently.
- Allows exchange of information without any prior notice.
- Enables the systems to exchange information or any other critical data, without interrupting or disrupting the expected behavior of the individual systems.
- It allows exchange of data or information without modifying or changing it.
- Prevents loss of data, unreliable performance and operation.
- Offers low maintainability.
Objective of Interoperability Testing:
Interoperability testing is a cost-effective and efficient process. Its objective is to examine the characteristics of two or more systems and check how they exchange information. Apart from this, interoperability also ensures the following aspects:
- Interoperability testing has to check and validate all the compatibilities that are required in the application under the test system. It determines if software is able to fulfill all the system requirements.
- Interoperability testing should easily identify all the errors or the bugs that will arise while testing on both software and the hardware environments.
- It sends the report to the development team so that they can fix the identified bugs.
- It easily helps to make the application error free and ready to release.
Process of Interoperability Testing:
Initiated by providing an input specification for an object, the process of interoperability testing involves six stages, during which the team is assigned the task of performing the testing services that ensures the accuracy of the systems as well as the information they are exchanging.
- Project Launch: As stated earlier, the process of interoperability testing is initiated by providing an input specification for an object. After its completion, the project management infrastructure is defined and setup by the team.
- Preparing Test Lab: During this stage of process, the team members make sure all the required skills and automation tools are set up for the testing activities. Moreover, these tools are used to minimize the test cases and their reuse.
- Design & Create a Test Plan: Once the test lab is prepared, the team moves on to writing test plan and defining the test cases, while preparing necessary monitoring equipments for the maintenance of the test logs.
- Execute Test Plan: This stage involves execution of the test cases. Moreover, the team works together and analyze the root cause of the failure of the functionality.
- Evaluate & Analyze: The results and the performance of the software systems are then evaluated and analyzed with the assistance of automated tools selected by the team earlier.
- Record & Report: Finally, test logs are created to record and report all the implementation notes and as well as to notify the development team about the defects and various issues in the system.
Testing Strategy for Interoperability Testing:
The quality of a software testing process can be enhanced by utilizing an appropriate testing strategy. Likewise, interoperability testing can also be improved with the assistance of following strategies:
- Make sure that the devices connected with each other are from different vendors.
- Validate the connectivity between devices.
- Test the devices to ensure that the data is handled correctly in the network and facility layers.
- On the basis of the end result use automated tools to check next result as well as the source of the defect.
- Cross-check whether the devices can send as well as receive data from each other without any difficulty.
- As software applications are developed in different programming languages, so make sure that they are tested against various types of operating systems.
While conducting the interoperability testing, the team of testers encounter numerous challenges that make the process tedious and time consuming. Furthermore, these challenges prohibit the team from testing the functionality and other components of the software systems. Few of theses challenges encountered by the team are:
- Determining the root cause of defects: Since multiple software systems are tested together with interoperability testing, it becomes difficult for the team to determine the root cause of the defects.
- Accurate measurement: Getting an accurate measurement of the issues and defects also becomes challenging during interoperability testing.
- Determining testing strategy: As there are different software’s and environments involved in this testing, preparing a testing strategy in itself becomes challenging.
- Difficulty in testing: Since the applications are present in a network, there is a possibility that the network might go down or crash, which makes testing difficult.
- Inadequate requirements: At times, the requirements defined to the team before testing are inadequate, which again becomes a hurdle in testing.
Interoperability testing is used in almost all the fields of the society. Whether it is the matter of public safety or or any other public and government departments, there is not a single industry that is left untouched by this testing. It is with the assistance of interoperability testing, that software products that are developed in this day and age, are able to work across various platforms and with multiple devices and systems without any hassle. In short, interoperability testing is a must for the success of a software product.