In this tutorial, we will learn the components involved in a Java application and the various types of testing that need to be carried out to ensure a high quality, bug free application.
This is a three part series on testing JAVA applications.
- In this article, we will learn the J2EE components and Manual testing approach for a J2EE application.
- In the second, we will review the Automated testing approach for testing J2EE applications, and
- In the third we will review a comprehensive list of tools that are available for testing J2EE applications.
Let’s Start With Overview of J2EE Applications
A Java web application consists of several components, each serving an important purpose. MVC, which stands for Model View Controller, stands as the most popular and frequently used Architectural design pattern.
Before learning to test, let us briefly go through the various components of a J2EE application.
- Client/Browser asks for a web address with a URL.
- JSP (Java Server Pages) – JSP is a server side technology intended to present data to the user. It supports display of dynamic content with the help of special tags called JSP tags,which help insert Java code with in HTML pages. [Static HTML always displays the same content]. At runtime, a JSP is converted to a Servlet. Business logic is not typically written here.
- JSF (Java Server Faces) – JSF is a view component framework for effective design of the User Interface.
- Servlet – A Servlet validates the data received from the input, selects the appropriate business logic code, and passes on the values to the Bean code.
- Enterprise Java Bean (EJB) – This is where the entire business logic is typically written and handled. The bean then calls the code to either read, write or update the database. Once the database operations are complete, the response is then transferred back to the Servlet, which in turn selects the appropriate JSP to display the results.
- WebServices – Webservices are components of an application which run on a separate server and communicate over HTTP protocol.
- Database – stores the entire data of the application.
Please note that not all web applications follow the JSP -> Servlet -> EJB -> Database model. Most of the J2EE applications are currently written with a framework such as Struts, Spring, or Hibernate. The design of applications vary for each requirement based on size of the application, cost, development time, resources and team size.
Testing JAVA/J2EE Application
Let us now move to testing an entire J2EE application. This is done in several steps. For example, consider that we have three screens:
- A login screen
- An employee display screen, which lists all employees in the organization
- An employee modification/addition/removal screen.
Below are the sample screens:
Manual Java Application Testing:
During manual JAVA testing, a tester prepares the test cases from the detailed design document and tries to cover every scenario and code snippet possible.
#1) JAVA UNIT TESTING
Unit testing is a type of testing wherein a user needs to test the smallest of the code snippets for accuracy, correctness and meeting the requirements.
Let us take the example of the login screen. The login screen has two text fields: username and password, and has two buttons: submit and cancel.
The test cases should cover all the loops and conditional statements. Test cases should display the expected results and the test data. Below are some of the general test cases that a user could execute manually in a login screen. The results are then noted down in the test case document.
Below is a sample test case format for the login screen.
|S.No.||Test Case||Expected Result||Actual Result||Pass/Fail|
|1||User checks the appearance of labels Username, Password||The labels should be correctly spelled and displayed in Normal sized font||The label username and password are displayed correctly||PASS|
|2||User checks the appearance of the button|
Submit and Cancel
|The buttons should be displayed with the correct name||The buttons Submit and Cancel are displayed correctly||PASS|
|3||User checks the background color of the screen||The login form should be within a white table and the screen should be of background grey||The screen appearance does not match the requirements.||FAIL|
|4||The user leaves username textbox as Blank||Error message “Username cannot be empty” should be displayed||Error message “Username cannot be empty” is displayed||PASS|
|5||The user enters some value in the username textbox and leave the password textbox as Blank||Error message “Password cannot be empty” should be displayed||Error message “Password cannot be empty” is displayed||PASS|
|6||User enters username as “abcd” and password as “xxxx”||Error message|
“Invalid username password combination”
should be displayed
“Invalid username password combination”
|4||User enters a username of more than 10 characters||Error message |
“Username should not be more than 10 characters” should be displayed
|Error message is not displayed||FAIL|
|5||User enters username as “testuser” and password as “password” and clicks the Submit button||The user should be able to see the “Employee details screen”||Employee details screen is displayed||PASS|
While table lists some of the testcases, below is the complete list:
- Check for any exception including NULL pointer exception
- Check if NULLS are not allowed for username and password
- Check if username/password is in the correct format
- Check if numbers are not allowed for username
- Check if special characters are not allowed in Username
- Check if the correct combination of Username and password are entered, then the application takes you to the next screen, i.e. employee information screen
- Check if the username entered is of correct length
- Check if the username text field allows only the maximum number of characters specified for that field
- Check if the password field if specified in the requirements is visible as * while entering
- Check if passwords are case sensitive
- Check if username is not case sensitive
- Check if login page does not remember the username or password, even after exiting
- Check if the Submit and Cancel button work as per requirement
- If using the application first time, check if the username has permission to enter the application
- Delete a username/password combination from the database and check if the combination is not able to login again
- For all the above cases, check if the appropriate validation error messages are shown
- Check if the Labels and Buttons are in the right place in the screen and that they display the text correctly
- Check if the screen appearances are as per requirements
- Check if exceptions are handled
- Check if logging is performed for required actions
After going through the test cases, you may realize that you are mostly dealing with the testing of fields, buttons, functionality and validations of a particular screen. This is accurate, as Unit Testing very keenly deals with the testing of every small code snippet and component. The same type of testing should be performed for all the screens.
Please note that the above are examples only, and test cases are prepared based on a project-specific and detailed design document.
#2) INTEGRATION TESTING
In Integration testing, individual modules are integrated and tested together for correctness.
Let each of the three screens in the above example be developed by three different team members. Now that they are finished with Unit testing, it is time to bring all the code together and check if they work well together. Integration testing is performed to ensure that data or control is transferred correctly from one screen to another.
Here are some sample integration test cases for the Employee Application example:
- Check if the user logged in and session are the same in all the other new integrated screens
- Check if the other modules are not updating/deleting/inserting any record in the database unrequired
- Let there be an employee status field, which says ‘New’ on addition,’Updated’ on modification, and ‘Deleted’ on deletion. Though two or three screens can use the same status field, it is important to ensure the field is not being wrongly updated.
- Check if the header, footer, screen size and appearance meet requirements after integration
- Check that when clicking on Submit buttons, the control is transferred to the next screen
- Check that when clicking on the Cancel button, the action performed is cancelled
In addition, the general integration test cases for J2EE application could be:
- Check the flow of data, either Object, XML or Session from end to end. Check for correctness.
- Check whether the session is managed correctly by each of the modules
- If external applications (web services) are involved, check whether your application is able to make calls and retrieve data back from the application
#3) SYSTEM TESTING
In System testing, the entire application is tested for functionality and completeness with respect to the requirements. It would likely be easier to ask, when Unit testing of every component is performed and the code components are also combined and tested together during integration testing, what could be different in System testing? It is not inaccurate to say that the idea in System Testing is to break the application :)
Scenario #1: You develop a new employee application with a framework; for example, Struts. There are also several other applications running in different servers in your organization. However, all of them call the same existing webservice to fetch the address and phone number for any particular person.
During integration testing, you would have tested if your application is able to make a call to the webservice and if you are able to get the response. But what if there is problem in the webservice itself? Or the webservice does not respond to some rare inputs? The web service, in our case, can only take an employee number max of 6 characters. Or, the webservice throws exceptions for certain formats of address while returning. This is external, but it also part of System testing.
Scenario #2: Your employee application is complete. You add an employee, and it generates an Employee Number #1001. You modify, delete, update, add, modify, delete, add, add, add, modify, delete and then finally add another. What if the new employee number is again #1001?
Scenario #3: Let us assume two users are using the application at the same time. Both of them start working on the same employee, one deletes. What if the other user is able to proceed with the modification of same employees as it is stored in session?
Below are some important aspects of System testing:
- Ensure the flow of data and control is correct from end-to-end
- Ensure security of the transaction data
- Ensure the application follows all business functionalities
- Check if the application works well as an end product – check broken links, session management, cookies, logging, error handling, exception handling, validation, and transaction flow.
#4) PERFORMANCE TESTING
This type of testing is performed when there would be a large number of users using the application or large amount data in the database, or both. Below are some of the cases:
- If multiple users login at the same time, then check that the applications do not hang/crash
- If a large amount of data is available in the database – check that the search screen grids do not take very long to execute queries before session timeout
- In a multi-threaded environment, check that the application is able to handle all threads well
- In applications where large numbers of objects are created, check whether sufficient memory is allocated, garbage collection is handled, and that there are no out of memory exceptions
In this article, we have covered an overview of a J2EE application. We have also seen how to manually perform Unit, Integration, Functional and System testing for each of the components of the application with an example.
In the next article, we will see the how Automation testing can be beneficial for large J2EE applications.
About Author: This is a guest article by Padmavaty S. With overall 7+ years of software testing experience she is having extensive experience in testing Java, J2EE, MVC and Struts framework.
Let us know if you are working on testing JAVA applications. Share your experience and queries in comments below.