QW2001 Paper 8W1

Dr. James Helm
(Univ. of Houston Clear Lake)

Web-Based Application Quality Assurance Testing

Key Points

Presentation Abstract

Web-Based application quality assurance testing can be defined as a planned and systematic pattern of actions necessary to instill confidence that the website client and server products conform to an established set of measurements. Web-based testing is a repetitive process of identifying defects, where a defect is any variance between actual and expected results. A flaw in either the client or server application software can cause a defect. The website is essentially client/server applications - with web servers and browser clients. Web testing must be given to interactions between browser pages, TCP/IP communications, Internet connections, firewalls, applications that run in web pages (such as applets, Javascript, plug-in applications), and applications that run on the server side (such as CGI scripts, database interfaces, logging applications, dynamic page generators, asp, etc.). In addition there are a wide variety of servers and browsers, various versions of each, with differences between them, variations in connection speeds, rapidly changing technologies, and multiple standards and protocols.

Web site testing will become a major ongoing quality assurance function where web-testing tools will ensure a repetitive and repeatable testing process. This paper looked at six web-based testing tools. The tools were evaluated based on: timelines, structural quality, content accuracy and consistency, response time and latency, and performance. Timeline evaluate how often and rapidly a website has changed since the last upgrade. Structural quality measures how well all parts of the website link together. The links and images inside and outside the site must exist and be on line. Content of the critical pages must match what the uses require to be displayed. Key phrase must continue to exist in dynamically changeable pages and critical pages must maintain the same quality from version to version. Accuracy and consistency means that web pages downloaded from one time to the next are still accurate and consist with previous versions. Response time and latency measures the website server response to a browser request within a tolerable performance parameter. It should also test pages of the site that are so slow that a user will discontinue using the site. Performance measures the cycle of browser to web, web to website, website back to web, web back to browser. It also measures the web load based on usage, number of users, and critical times. The six web-based testing tools used to evaluated these quality assurance criteria were: Rational Siteload, Doctor HTML, Dr. Watson, NetMechanic HTML ToolBox, Web Performance Trainer 2.0, and WebART .

About the Author

James C. Helm received the BS in Mathematics and Physics from Missouri Valley College, the MS in Mathematics from the University of Missouri at Rolla, and the Ph.D. degree in Industrial Engineering, Operations Research from Texas A&M University. He is presently the Chair of Systems Engineering and associate Professor of Software Engineering in the School of Natural and Applied Sciences at the University of Houston Clear Lake. He has had thirty years of industrial experience as: Senior Principal Engineer with the Boeing Co. at NASA/JSC Sunny Carter Test Facility supporting the International Space Station; a Senior Computer Scientist with SAIC; Principal investigator of Ada Research and Development (R&D) with Ford Aerospace and Communications; HAL/S Project and Contract Manager for HAL/S Compiler for the Space Shuttle at Intermetrics; and with IBM FSD supported NASA on GEMINI and APOLLO missions. He was an instructor in Mathematics at the University of Missouri Rolla, and has taught Industrial Engineering and Computer Science courses at Texas A&M, was an adjunct faculty at UHCL for twenty-five years. His areas of interest are Systems & Software Engineering, operations research, computer science, and simulation and modeling.