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Testing VoIP-enabled 'interactive SOA'

Testing VoIP-enabled 'interactive SOA' Mindreef announces that BlueNote Networks is testing its VoIP-based enterprise "interactive SOA" products to ensure standards compliance and interoperability for developers working with everything from COBOL to Java and C#.

"Mindreef, Inc., the SOA testing vendor, today announced that its SOAPscope Server was selected by BlueNote Networks Inc. for quality assurance of a new "interactive SOA" voice and video business communications platform.

 BlueNote Networks has a Voice over IP solution that we're extending into the SOA world, making it easier to integrate applications and communications services like voice and video.
Mark Ericson
Director of SOA Product Strategy BlueNote

BlueNote, a startup founded in 2005, is building a platform for integrating Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) and other communication technologies as services into applications in a product category it labels "interactive SOA."

BlueNote comes out on top of a Google search on "interactive SOA" that doesn't turn up much else, at least in the telecommunications area where the Massachusetts-based company stakes its claim.

A definition of the term in a brief paper aptly titled "What is the Interactive SOA?" on its Web site, states: "Interactive services are resources that allow you to communicate, in real time, with your counterparts – for example talking via a phone. These services are flexible and retargetable to other applications. That is, interactive services in an SOA allow applications to integrate with the telecommunications infrastructure in simple, open, and versatile ways."

Mark Ericson, director of SOA product strategy at BlueNote, explained it this way: "BlueNote Networks has a Voice over IP solution that we're extending into the SOA world, making it easier to integrate applications and communications services like voice and video."

BlueNote is keeping product specifics under wraps pending a major rollout planned for later this month, but Ericson was able to talk about the role testing is playing in ensuring standards compliance and interoperability in the application development process.

"Part of that process is exposing Web services APIs to be part of an SOA in an enterprise," he said. "As a vendor that's delivering programmable interfaces that application programmers will be using, the quality of those services is very important to us."

The goal was to adhere to the WSDL and SOAP standards so that programmers working in a variety of languages, including COBOL, Java, Visual Basic and C#, could all work with the APIs with little need for support, Ericson said. This level of language independence was important to the startup because the company wanted to avoid the cost of hiring experts in all those languages to help customers sort through issues with various toolkits, he explained.

After looking at Web services testing products, BlueNote bought the SOAPscope tools from Mindreef because of its ability to render the arcane XML code in WSDLs into human readable "pseudo code." This allows for additional human resources savings as testers can do QA without being experts in XML, Ericson said.

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BlueNote is working with the QA best practice that it is best to test early in the product development lifecycle, he said. While he didn't have ROI numbers available, he said bringing in a testing tool brought immediate savings.

"For example, when we brought in SOAPscope initially and ran it across our WSDLs, we saw a number of interoperability issues and were able to quickly fix those," Ericson said. "That was very early in the development process while these WSDLs were being prototyped, rather than waiting until later."

Carrying the SOA reuse philosophy into development testing, BlueNote programmers are able to share regression tests with everyone on the development team as well as the QA group, he said.

"It allows tests that were created in the early stages of development to be shared with QA for them to make part of their automated testing," he said.

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