The Travel Bug – Testing in an API or SOA Environment
The key to success in the Travel & Leisure industry is to turn a one-time customer into a loyal brand advocate who returns time and again and recommends your services with favourable online reviews.
~ Written By Amy Irvine
We’re all going on a...
Going on holiday this summer? According to Google you’ll probably spend 55 minutes booking your airbnb and flights online, visit 17 websites to get the best price to flight time ratio, click 4 different search ads and use multiple devices during the process. 60% of us are booking our holidays and 41% organising our business trips online and nearly 75% of airports expect the vast majority of their customers to check in online by 2017. We no longer see ourselves as tourists – we’re travellers - and we want to create the most comprehensive, authentic travel experience in the most seamless, painless, efficient and cost effective way.
SOA & APIs
The key to success in the Travel & Leisure industry is to turn a one-time customer into a loyal brand advocate who returns time and again and recommends your services with favourable online reviews. With so many discount travel options on offer the new competitive differentiator is a seamless online CX that takes you on a pain free journey from booking to check-in and then beyond to airport transfers, car rental, recommended sights and suggestions of appropriate new travel destinations upon your return.
It’s no wonder then that the Travel & Leisure industry is leading the way in embracing Service Oriented Architecture in order to achieve greater integration and scalability, enable better responsiveness and reusability and provide a fully immersive customer experience (CX). Of course the growing use of APIs is an extension of SOA and businesses are utilising them as both providers and users. British Airways, Expedia, TripIt, and Yahoo Travel, have all wholeheartedly embraced APIs and opened them up to external developers, meaning that the APIs themselves are becoming services. Whilst this is great news from a customer experience perspective, SOA and APIs bring with them their own peculiar set of testing challenges and many travel businesses have found it hard to make the switch successfully. So, what are the challenges for test teams and what’s the best approach to overcome them.
SOA Test Challenges
The main challenge for test teams is that SOA applications comprise separate services and a variety of APIs, created by distributed teams, and all these people, processes, tools and services need to communicate and inter-operate with one another. SOA functionality is complex and has to change rapidly to align with the market trends, so a traditional test approach will only cause delays, drive up costs and wreak havoc with the customer experience. Other issues include the fact that SOA is more data-driven; it can be hard to determine performance scenarios, create accurate test environments and reproduce potential and actual end-user issues; and, where you may be used to focusing on an individual product feature, you now need to view and test the big picture.
Progression Not Regression
It’s essential to categorise and document all of your services during the design phase, with careful differentiation between data and processing services. Use behaviour driven development to identify your usage scenarios for each service so that their capabilities match the expectations of the end-user. As for testing, we all know by now that we should be taking a shift left approach, but for SOA this is even more crucial if we are to find the right balance between manual and automation testing, to automate effectively and see a decent ROI.
Effective automation testing in a SOA environment requires a progressive rather than regressive approach. Test teams need to automate functional test cases during the development process as opposed to in the regression suite. Agility and iteration are key and you need to employ Test Driven Development, bringing testing to the very forefront of your Sprint cycle, creating scripts to test new functionality before it is developed. As to what to test and when, it makes sense to implement end to end testing on the flow of business before breaking this down to inter-application, intra-application and unit tests.
Of course this is just scratching the surface of testing in and SOA environment. While these tips are a good starting point, this area of testing is potentially so complex and so key to business success that leisure and travel companies will need to find a dedicated test partner to create the test strategy at the outset of the SOA project. You can discover more about Sogeti’s approach to testing in an SOA environment here.
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Sogeti UKMake an enquiry
0330 588 8200