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Automatic Configuration Specifier and Creator Tool For Testing

IP.com Disclosure Number: IPCOM000018815D
Original Publication Date: 2003-Aug-14
Included in the Prior Art Database: 2003-Aug-14
Document File: 3 page(s) / 80K

Publishing Venue

IBM

Abstract

Disclosed is a methodology to allow programs that require configuration files to dynamically generate questions to be asked from the user based on a configuration specifier which can be used to automatically generate configuration files. This methodology is superior over other methodologies because it is more flexible.

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Automatic Configuration Specifier and Creator Tool For Testing

  Many programs require the configuration parameters or input specifications to be defined in a configuration file. For example a test tool could have a configuration file that helps define the test case such as how many concurrent users to run against the system under test, as well as many other parameters such as input and output directories for the logs and much more. In the past three methodologies have been used to define these parameters:

Configuration File Method is passed on to the program, where the configuration file includes name-value pairs or XML values. The program has knowledge of the name and parses the file to get the corresponding value for that name.

The advantages of this method are: a) Once the configuration file has been written for a particular program, it can be saved and reused again if it is desired that the program be re-executed in the same manner as before. b) Also, configuration files can be pre-written and thus multiple executions of the program can occur in a batch without the presence of the user. This helps save time and resource (tests programs can be executed overnight).

One of the disadvantages of this method is that the configuration file needs to be updated manually and is prone to errors. The person must be familiar with the format of the configuration file and since the creation of these files is a manual process, there are will certainly be mistakes. These mistakes are often not caught until the program has executed and problem determination has been performed only to realize that the program was not setup properly.

Graphical User Interface Method involves having a GUI tool as part of the program that is used to update the configuration and requirements for a particular test case. The advantage of this method is that there are likely to be less errors to be made by the user who no longer needs understand the format of a file, but simply has to use the GUI. The disadvantages with this method are as follows:
a) In most commercial programs there is no way to pre-create the configurations and thus be able to run these tests as part of a batch.
b) The cost of adding a stable and well tested GUI to a program is extremely high. It takes a tremendous amount of resource.
c) GUI configurations can usually not be easily extended. If additional parameters need to be specified, then the GUI has to be update to contain extra fields for this information. This takes much more time than simply adding an extra name-value pair to a file.

Command Line User Interface Method involves asking the user a set of question, and the answers from the user are used to generate a configuration file. The advantage of this method are like method 1:
a) Once the configuration file has been written for a particular program, it can be saved and reused again if it is desired that the program be re-executed in the same manner as before.
b) Also, configuration files can be...