Chapter 5. Web Application Components

Why Read This Chapter?

Having an understanding of a Web application's internal components and how those components interface with one another, even if only at a high level, leads to better testing. Such knowledge allows for the analysis of a program from its developer's perspective—which is invaluable in determining test strategy and identifying the cause of errors. Furthermore, analyzing the relationship among the components leads to an understanding of the interaction of the work product from the perspective of several independent developers, as opposed to from only the individual developer's perspective. Thus, you analyze the work product from a perspective that is not evident from the analysis of any individual component. You are asking how all these components interact with each other to make up the system. The gray-box tester provides this capability. You look at the system at a level that is different from that of the developer. Just like the black-box tester, you add a different perspective and, therefore, value.

Generally, we learn about an application's architecture from its developers during walk-throughs. An alternate approach is to do our own analysis by tracing communication traffic between components. For example, tests can be developed that hit a database server directly, or on behalf of actual user activities, via browser-submitted transactions. Regardless, we need to have a firm grasp of typical Web-based application architecture ...

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