Friday, April 18, 2008

Datawarehouse: Testing

Until recently, I have been doing support/enhancements and new development for one particular project.

In our development environment, I have essentially been doing full load testing, using all of the records that are in production.

Needless to say, our development iterations were slow. Make a change to the code and then reload some 100 million records which are bounced against one another. The good thing is that I've picked up some really good tuning skills. The bad thing is my project was recently 2 months late.

Now that I've had a chance to breathe, I've been able to rethink some of the processes. First and foremost being how we test (both in development and QA).

If I had taken the time one year ago to build a "build" and "teardown" script, I probably could have shaved months of the project life cycle.

I used SQLUnit a few years ago and found that to be a pretty good tool. At the time, it consisted of writing out XML files and was quite time consuming, but gave me more confidence in the code I wrote. It also taught me to think like a tester forcing me to write better code as I could predict much easier where the problems might be.

We've used no such tool at WellCare.

I believe database testing to be extremely difficult. Our unit tests have consisted of running the procedures and then pasting that to a Word document...not really my idea of good testing, but it's what we have.

So are there any tools that you use to test database specific items? If you don't use tools, how do you do it? Why does database testing seem so difficult?

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