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Naresh Jain's Random Thoughts on Software Development and Adventure Sports
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Patang – My new open source project

Patang is a framework for testing server-side code. Patang intends to simplify writing and executing acceptance and unit integration tests for server-side code. It implements an in-container testing strategy, meaning that the tests are executed inside the container.

Patang provides the infrastructure/framework to run fit tests inside the container. What type of fit tests you write will determine which type of testing you can do with Patang.

Currently Patang works only with fitnesse. But the vision is to make it generic.

Why another framework?
Several kinds of functional and unit testing frameworks are available for testing enterprise applications. They can be broadly categorized into 3 types:

1. Unit isolation testing. State based or interaction based testing frameworks such as JUnit or Mock objects seem to fit well.

2. Unit integration testing. These tests will exercise the interactions with the container. Frameworks like Cactus, JUnitEE, etc suite this category.

3. Functional unit integration testing. Frameworks which let you test full use cases which can be composed of several requests/responses cycles. Some times these are also referred to as unit acceptance tests. HttpUnit, Fit, etc fit into this category.

Mostly on enterprise projects, three or more, different frameworks are used just to test the functionality of the code. Patang proposes to use Ward Cunningham‘s FIT framework to achieve second and third category of testing. This can be easily achieved by running FIT inside the container by having a FitServlet, which can execute the fit tests.

Advantages of this approach:

1. Reuse of tests. Usually there is an overlap between acceptance tests and integration tests. We can use pretty much same/similar fit tests for both.

2. EJB References, JNDI lookups, transaction management, container security, data sources and other container provided facilities can be used the same way in test environment as in development environment.

3. Test First Development: Helps in driving development with a failing tests. These are mostly black box tests at different layers of the architecture.

4. Easy of deployment and maintenance of test and development environments. All you need is the servlet and the fit framework running.

5. Remote debugging: It is very easy to debug your server side code by driving it through tests and stepping through the code in your favorite IDE

6. Bringing test environment much closer to production environment: In most of the enterprise web applications you have a web front end running inside a web container calling business components running in an application server. Executing FIT tests using patang, simulates the web front end and hence is much closer to the real world.

How patang works?
Patang provides a servlet which executes the fit tests inside the web container using the FitServer class. This helps us setup remote debugging on the web container and easily debug the fixture, business delegate and actual EJB code. This also helps us to avail all the EJB ref look ups and other container provided services. With the fit tests running inside the container, we can use the container?s class load and hence we do not need to maintain classpaths on .root page.

Some day Patang can become a good alternative to Cactus and JUnitEE.

For more details: http://sourceforge.net/projects/patang

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