Conformance testing of Data Exchange Set implementations
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Product information exchange has been described by a number of standards. The Standard for the Exchange of Product model data (STEP) is published by ISO as an international standard to cover this exchange. Product Life Cycle Support (PLCS) is a standard developed as an extension to STEP, covering the complete life cycle information needs for products. PLCS uses Data Exchange Sets (DEXs) to exchange information. A DEX is a subset of the PLCS structure applicable for product information exchange. A DEX is specified in a separate document form the PLCS standard, and is published under OASIS. The development of DEXs is ongoing and changing, nine DEXs have been identified and are being developed within the Organization for the Advancement of Structured Information Standards (OASIS). Each of the nine DEXs covers a specific business concept. Implementations based on the DEX specifications are necessary in order to send and receive populated DEXs with product information. The implementations add contents to a DEX structure in a neutral file format which can be exchanged. Interoperability between senders and receivers of DEXs can not be guaranteed, however, conformance testing of implementations can help increase the chances of interoperability. Conformance testing is the process of testing an implementation against a set of requirements stated in a specification or standard used to develop the implementation. Conformance testing is performed by sending inputs to the implementation and observing the output. The output is then analysed with respect to expected output. STEP dedicates a whole section of the standard to conformance testing of STEP implementations. This section describes how implementations of STEP shall be tested and analysed. PLCS is an extension of STEP, and DEXs are subsets of PLCS. Conformance testing for STEP is used as a basis for DEX conformance testing, because of the similarities between PLCS and STEP. A testing methodology based on STEP conformance testing and DEX specifications is developed. The testing methodology explains how conformance testing can be achieved on DEX implementations exemplified with a test example on a specific DEX. The thesis develops a proposed set of test methods for conformance testing DEX adapter implementations. Conformance testing of Export adapters tests the adapter s ability to populate and output a correct DEX according to the specifications in the applicable DEX specification. Conformance testing of the Import adapter verifies that the content of the populated input DEX is retrievable in the receiving computer system. A specific DEX, Identify a part and its constituent parts , is finally used as an example on how to test a specific DEX specification. Test cases are derived from a set of test requirements identified from the DEX specification. Testing of these requirements is explained explicitly.