As we discussed in our previous article on interoperability, two or more systems are interoperable when they are able to communicate back and forth in a common format that both systems can understand. In order to maintain a system’s interoperability, it’s important to periodically examine the way the system interacts with other systems. This is where interoperability testing comes in.
Interoperability testing analyzes a system’s ability to send and receive information to and from one or more other systems without encountering any compatibility issues that would prevent the systems from understanding one another. Essentially, software interoperability testing is a method of demonstrating end-to-end functionality between multiple software systems.
Types of Interoperability Testing
There are a few different levels of interoperability testing that each concern a different type of interoperability, such as:
Physical interoperability testing examines the physical properties of two systems that enable them to be connected, such as USB ports and data cables.
Data type testing
Data type testing helps identify incompatibilities in the data being sent between two systems. Interoperable systems need to be able to exchange data without modifying the data type, or else the meaning of the data would be lost in translation.
Semantic testing analyzes the dependability of the data transmission algorithm to verify the interoperable systems’ abilities to actually send information back and forth at all.
Why Is Interoperability Testing Important?
Testing interoperability is an essential part of developing connectivity between multiple systems. Interoperability testing helps developers and IT professionals understand how a system will behave when connected to another system. It also provides the insights that make it possible to continually improve the system’s interoperability functions.
Interoperability failures can have substantial consequences. When interoperable systems are unable to communicate correctly and reliably, it could result in higher maintenance costs, data loss, and decreased productivity.
Interoperability testing can help avoid these issues and ensure that:
- The systems being tested function as expected independently of one another
- The systems can deliver data to each other without any compatibility issues. This requires a consistent and compatible data type throughout the interoperable systems.
- The systems can share information without affecting their abilities to perform tasks independently of one another.
- The information that is exchanged between the systems retains its original meaning.
How to Perform Interoperability Testing
There are a few different ways to approach interoperability testing, but one method is the PDCA cycle. The cycle consists of four steps: plan, do, check, and act.
Plan: The first step in the interoperability testing process is to plan your testing strategy. This should take into account any available data from past problems or tests, the particular skill set of the team that will be carrying out the testing, and contextual factors regarding how the interoperable systems are being used. Basically, this is the step where you decide what exactly you want to find out about the system’s behavior and determine a set of steps that will lead to an answer.
Do: The next step is to actually carry out the testing plan. Follow the testing cycle as you have planned it, logging any problems that are discovered so that they can be addressed and retesting as necessary.
Check: After executing the test, the next step is to check the results of the test. This step ensures that all criteria have been satisfied and that the data has been exchanged between the systems correctly and without compatibility errors. This is also a good opportunity to review the testing process as a whole and make note of ways it could be improved in the future.
Act: The final step is more of a continuing goal than a step. You should act on what you discovered worked best about the testing process and what you discovered did not work by applying those lessons to the next iteration of testing. This helps continually maintain best practices in interoperability testing.
Nearshore Software Testing Services
If your business needs a convenient and cost-effective way to test the interoperability of your legacy systems, you can leave it to us. KNDCODE is a nearshore software company with an established presence in the United States that employs a highly competent workforce based in the US and Central America (Guatemala and El Salvador).
KNDCODE’s team of experienced software developers can lend their expertise to help you test and upgrade your legacy systems to achieve fully-functional interoperability.
Contact KNDCODE today for more information about nearshore software services and interoperability testing.