Artifact: Test Data
This artifact defines a collection of test input values that are consumed during the execution of a test, and expected results referenced for comparative purposes during the execution of a test.
Domains: Test
Work Product Kinds: Solution
  • To provide both a layer of indirection and a central point of modification for the unique characteristics of a test.
Brief Outline

Each Test-Data set should consider various aspects including the following:

  • The required preconditions of the Test Environment Configuration that are assumed to exist immediately prior to the Test Data being consumed.
  • The unique characteristics of the Test Data. These data may range in form; from standard alphanumeric textual values to sensory data such as auditory or visual information. Test Data may be specified as a valid range-rather than a single value-that should be used during a test.
  • Any dependencies between the Test-Data elements.
  • A descriptive explanation of the condition being tested, often defined in terms of what the failure is if the condition being tested is found to be false.
Key Considerations

When managed separately from the procedural aspects of the test, Test Data  enables the unique characteristics of the test to be modified independently.

Representation Options

Both the contents and format of Test Data may require modification to meet the needs of each specific organization and project.

When Test Data are managed independently of procedural test concerns, there are a few different styles of storage used:

  • A simple form of ASCII Text file, either special character delimited or fixed-width columns.
  • A basic form of spreadsheet or database system, such as Microsoft® Excel® or Microsoft® Access®.
  • Some form of program generated calculation of the Test Data.
  • Some form of capture, extraction or conversion of the Test Data from an original source.
  • A complex relational (RDBMS) or object (ODBMS) database management system. Many test teams make use of the same database to manage Test Data as that used by the software being developed. This often proves advantageous in having ready access to skilled Database Administrators and Designers who can provide advice and support to the test team.

As mentioned, it is typical for multiple Test Data elements to be specified in a single storage container, usually grouped by the general purpose or objective of the tests.

In some cases the Test Data can be enclosed within the Test Script or the Test Suite work products. 

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