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Midrange Stuff - Hardware, Software & Services
OS/400 Edition
Volume 2, Number 8 -- February 26, 2002

Extract Test Data from Multiple Libraries

by Joe Hertvik

A new iSeries software management tool from SoftLanding Systems aims to make it easier for companies to implement unit, system, or regression testing. SmartTest400 1.4 extracts test data from multiple libraries, provides comprehensive metrics, and offers a convenient "test under mask" feature. Additional enhancements to SmartTest400 include the capability to conduct a more thorough search of related files across multiple libraries when building a test database. For testing flexibility and performance, SmartTest400 code is AS/400-based and driven by APIs.

With the capability to extract test data from multiple OS/400 libraries, users can extract data from multiple libraries for thorough testing of any application. A SmartTest400 1.4 build case--the set of data extraction rules and file schema linked to a specific set of libraries--can contain all the information needed to extract data from up to 250 libraries. Previously, if a build case required data from files stored in different libraries, users needed to define one build case per library.

The capability to calculate new metrics for scheduling data extractions is an added benefit with Version 1.4. The latest metric features allow users to estimate the number of records that will populate the extracted database, as well as the size of each extracted file. These metrics can be used to calculate how long an extraction job will run. Because of business demands, extractions frequently take place during off-hours, when time is limited. Having a runtime estimate for a job is advantageous for scheduling.

The "test under mask" feature allows testers to highlight only the specific fields or files they want to compare. It then provides test results on those selected fields or files. This is valuable for testers who only examine specific features of a build case.

Additional convenience is added with the capability to nominate specific members from multi-member files for testing. Many data files contain multiple members that may cover specific dates, years, territories, or other categories. SmartTest400 1.4 is designed to extract test data from any specific file member.

Data warping is a useful feature for software testers working with confidential data, such as names, social security numbers, or salary fields. The data warping feature scrambles or randomly replaces characters and numbers within specific fields. Date fields can also be warped by automatically adding or subtracting a set number of days for each date. By using warped data, testers can verify program logic, while administrators can protect the confidentiality of the information.

The capability to protect confidential data is a particularly valuable feature for healthcare providers, insurance companies, and other companies affected by the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996.

SoftLanding offers the SmartTest Data Builder, SmartTest Record & Play, and SmartTest Data Compare modules, which can be purchased either separately or together. There is a flat fee of $4,000 per module. For customers who purchase the entire suite of modules, the price is $10,500. Customers who have SoftLanding SmartTest400 maintenance plans receive free upgrades.

For more information, visit or call 800-545-9485.

Please note that this article has been edited since its original publication to correct the name of SoftLanding Systems' new iSeries software management tool. The tool is named SmartTest400, not SoftTest400. Guild Companies regrets the error. [Correction made February 27, 2002]

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