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Each and every day, analysts at the Defense Threat Reduction Agency (DTRA) work to keep weapons of mass destruction out of the hands of terrorists and other enemies.
One way is by developing innovative technologies like the web-based system called Dynamic Picture of the Operating Environment (DPOE) that constantly churns out a steady stream of intelligence data and rapidly responds to queries.
DPOE developers needed testing automation and full regression testing to support the rigorous updates the system required. Booz Allen’s team of engineers and Java developers were ready to help.
“Our engineers and Java developers created a web-based platform to constantly churn out intelligence data and respond to queries in real-time.”
More than 1,200 DTRA analysts use DPOE to research, produce, and disseminate information from more than 100 sources about weapons of mass destruction to the Department of Defense and the intelligence community.
DPOE was designed to consume and store terabytes of structured and unstructured data in plain text, Word, and PDF file formats. It can process up to 200,000 records per minute and responds to user search queries in less than 2 seconds. The system currently holds more than 9 terabytes of data and grows by about 1.5 million records every week.
DPOE developers had been releasing up to four updates per year, rich with features that required manual test scripts. But such a hard-hitting schedule left no time to conduct full regression testing.
Our Java developers and test engineers automated testing using Cucumber.js, a software tool that runs automated tests that fail until the code is correct. This was essential thanks to an aggressive schedule and the need to conduct full regression testing of the more than 300 test cases in the software baseline. Cucumber.js executes test cases written in the Gherkin syntax, which describes software behavior in plain English.
The result was a complete shift in the testing approach. While the manual tester had to learn a new way of creating test scripts in Gherkin, the test engineers had to figure out how to integrate the build and deployment environments.
At first, the conversion rate was about 3 days per feature file, but after 3 months the conversions took only about a half-day. The tool enables better understanding of what’s being tested, and the test cases can be used to cover more than one test scenario.
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