We apologise for the loss of quality …

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August 20, 2012 by terryrichwhitehead

Having never been involved in the act of blogging before, I have approached this first entry with some intrepidation. All week I’ve been thinking about what I could rattle on about. Well I was going to introduce myself, give an outline line of what I would attempt to blog about and appeal to everyone to treat me gently. Well that has gone out of the window today after I was carrying out some initial work with consuming SOAP based Web Services with Ruby. There I was happily writing some test scripts that were to be used to compare different approaches that could be employed. When I noticed that the results from the service were not quite as I expected. All the communication and the access to the returned data were fine, but the results returned were a little disconcerting. Taking the normal developer stance I assumed the data been returned was correct and the problem must be in my ruby code. Wrong assumption! It was the public service that was returning the wrong result. The public service was simple a calculator and it was just asked to return the sum of one plus one, from my days at school this should have produced the answer two, but no, the answer was three hundred! All the other calculations carried out gave the correct answer, so 99.9% of the time the answer was correct, real A* material. Personally I wouldn’t trust the service to boil an egg.

On a more serious note this brings into question how do we the developers measure the quality of a service and use this to make a judgement on whether or not to use a service, how do we test such a service and how do we monitor a service to make sure that it is still fit for purpose over a period of time.

I don’t have all the answers to these questions (yet) but it is something I and others are going to have to give some serious thought to over the coming weeks.

This afternoon I’ve already found a few white papers that look like they go some way to addressing this dilemma.

More soon …

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