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No Room for Error

I have been building software development companies for over a decade and can remember a time when at least some classes of software were not considered mission critical. Much has obviously changed over that period time. The internet’s standardized communication protocols coupled with simple markup and scripting languages now makes it possible to develop software that can be used by millions. The flip side of this is that the internet also makes 24/7/365 availability of online software a requirement. Today even the smallest of companies are building and using web-based applications as the back bone of their business. It’s hard to find a project that does not need to meet very high quality and availability standards.

If you’re the person who is going to get the call when the web application suddenly stops working and business grinds to a halt, I feel your pain, the companies success may rest on your back. Trade Settlement,Inc., a client of Band of Coders, is a fully electronic syndicated loan settlement company. This company has a transaction-based revenue model, so if the technology is down, no transactions = no revenue. On top of lost revenue, a technology outage means a breach of the Service Level Agreement (SLA) and a black eye in the market. With many large bank clients and billions of dollars being settled on the system, being down is not an option - so quality assurance is top priority.

When people think availability, they turn to the infrastructure team to make sure they have clustered web servers, failover db servers, power generators, tape backups etc. Only those of us with lots of experience and the scars to prove it understand the availability risk that can show up in the code.

For example, I once came across a defect that showed up after 100,000 transactions. This is something you would never see in your unit tests, manual or automated QA runs. This bug would only appear in a long running performance/stress test. It took 48 hours to track down and fix the problem; all the infrastructure redundancy in the world wouldn’t make a difference in this situation.

Clearly, a deep level of testing and an excellent understanding of code are required to keep today’s applications running smoothly. The clear business need for superior testing of applications is one of the main reasons Creation Step is supporting QA Room. QA Room is a group of professionals who understand their role in ensuring software quality and availability. The combination of manual testing, automated testing and performance/stress testing along with understanding how to effectively work with developers and business folks sets them apart. Contact them so you can stop losing sleep wondering if tomorrow will be the day your application fails.

This post was written by Bobby John 

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