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December 4, 2005

Mindreef debuts web services lifecycle collaboration platform

Adapting the idea of lice cycle development to generation of web services, Mindreef is introducing a tool that allows teams to coordinate the governance, test, and troubleshooting of web services.

By CBR Staff Writer

In effect, it is a team version of SOAPscope, its client-based tool for testing SOAP messages. The new team toolset, branded Mindreef Coral, provides support for multiple roles. Architects can codify policies and rules, developers check for compliance during the test cycle, while support and operations staff can check for compliance issues when problems occur.

The tool supports a range of tests, including functional and regression testing, interoperability testing, and policy conformance. In some ways, it is similar to software testing tools. However, instead of inspecting code, it deals with XML. And although both kinds of tools deal with syntax, for web services, team members require higher-level awareness of business rules and service policies.

Functional testing is a challenge because, by nature, services are not visual like conventional, user-facing software applications. In place of a front end, Coral overlays a form that allows team members to see the schema (data structure) of the web service being tested.

Like software testing tools, Coral include a play: button when services are exercised based on specific scenarios. If services for some steps of the scenario are not available, Coral can simulate them.

The team life cycle support comes by means of a playback feature that shows what happened at each step along the way. Different members of the team can inspect for their areas of concern.

For instance, developers can check for syntax while architects can test if a service that is invoked hundreds or thousands of times eventually triggers a scenario that violates company policies. Mindreef claims that Coral makes a good fit for third party IT governance solutions, with its check on whether services are well formed and remain consistent with business policies.

Coral will be released this week.

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