Target by Igor

After question ‘To be or not to be?’ was answered positively we needed to select a target or WAUT (Web Application Under Test).

What application should we use as a demonstration of our Testing Environment? Should we write it ourselves? Should we use our existing Web applications as way of demonstrating the testing protocol? If we were to write something new, the aim would be write something a fair bit more complex than the traditional “Hello World”, and hopefully settle on something smaller than “War and Peace”. The key part of selecting any sample application, is that it needs to have the propensity to have faults. From simple input validation issues, through to back end data file locking and error recovery. The thought of moving our existing web application into the role of WAUT, presented hosting technicalities in that our application was developed under an IIS/SQL2000 environment, and that a porting of our application to the open-source LAMP environment would be required before we could consider that as an option. The added trouble of switching to a Windows based hosting provider also made this a more difficult option. At this point, we were really just thinking about ‘getting on with business’, rather than getting bogged down with the conversion requirements for the sample web app test case.

We started looking at as a potential WAUT. Having already looking at SalesForce about 3 years ago, we knew that it had the ability to quickly create sample applications. These applications would have the functionality (and potential vulnerabilities) required to demonstrate the ability of the testing protocols we would subject the application to as our selected WAUT. SalesForce’s open marketing strategies allows developers to access their platform via a well featured developer account, enabling and encouraging developers to embrace their technology.

After taking a long look at SalesForce, we felt that we needed to make a fair assessment of the big players in the market. This search led us to look at BaseCamp by 37signals. BaseCamp is a Project Management application with features like Projects, To-Do list, Milestones, Writeboards and Message features, all of which made this a potential candidate. We also considered using Yahoo/GMail as potential WAUT, with a plan to test not only Mail but also the other featured apps like Notes, Calendar and Contacts. The big restriction on this sort of proprietary web application is that it would never give us good visibility into application failures during the testing cycle.

SalesForce has been selected, as it had a functionality and feel that is very familiar to our own application. The open development interface allows us to make the WAUT as complex of as simple as required. After a cross-company vote, we decided that using a SalesForce Application for our WAUT would quickly deliver exactly what we need with very little effort or cost.

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