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Monday, July 02, 2012

What a mock application can do for you?

Recently I developed a mock web application based on a RESTful web service specification.

A mock web application can serve as a black box which responses based on the request (i.e. URI and HTTP method). It is easy to set up to implement the API specification.

Request method: GET
Request URI: /api/person/3

Response status code: 200
Response message:  {"name": "jianfeng"} // JSON

In an agile team, the backend dev can be the blocker in different development stages and the mock application can remove the blocker and let different development process (i.e front end, functional test, performance test) go in parallel with backend development..

Blocker 1 - for front end dev

If an agile team is composed of backend and frontend dev, and the front end dev consumes the apis developed by the backend dev. And then here is the blocker and waiting game for the frontend dev, as the backend api is in developing and can be buggy when released.

In this scenario, a mock application can help the frontend dev to continue with their development by calling the mock application instead of the real api. And when the backend dev finishes the api, then the frontend can switch the calling to it.

Blocker 2 - for functional testers

In an agile team, the functional testers can develop their automated script based on the API specification. But their script can only be verified when the backend dev finish their API development. And the testers might rework on their script by then.

The functional testers can verify their automated script by running it against the mock application, make the switch to the real API when the backend dev finish it.

Blocker 3 - for performance testers

In an agile team the performance tester normally get involved at the later stage - when the backend dev finish their API and the functional testers have tested it.

In this scenario, a mock application can let the performance testers start at an early stage. They don't have to wait for the backend dev to finish their API. Instead they can simply make their performance test calls to the mock application.

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