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Anton Bodnar, Automation and Manual Quality Assurance Engineer

Jan 31, 2024 12 min read

How To Do SOA Testing: Best Practices In 2024

Understanding how to do SOA testing is crucial for ensuring the reliability and efficiency of SOA applications. Let's explore SOA, service oriented architecture testing, and related concepts. 

How To Do SOA Testing

Service oriented architecture (SOA) is a system that facilitates efficient communication between different programs, allowing seamless integration for business purposes. If you're a programmer, software engineer, or website developer, understanding SOA and its testing methodologies can be beneficial. Understanding how to do SOA testing is crucial for ensuring the reliability and efficiency of SOA applications. Let's explore SOA, service oriented architecture testing, and related concepts. 

What is SOA?

Before delving into the specifics of what SOA testing is, it's essential to grasp the fundamentals. What is SOA, actually? Service oriented architecture (SOA) allows software engineers to organize communication between different programs. It allows programmers to integrate processes and applications to function efficiently for business purposes. SOA relies on services and functional units within a system of applications that another program can repeat. Developers use these services to construct programs and systems. By adding or removing services, they can refine their products. Programmers define each service they use based on the specific purpose the service fulfills. 

For example, the SOA for a website may structure and organize the various services it uses. It can include services like payment processing, downloaders, video players, and location services. Many websites, including those for businesses, incorporate security services like authenticators to protect their websites, and these services fall within the SOA. 

Example of SOA

Business Need: A mobile application where users can log in, search for restaurants based on geolocation, download restaurant details and menus from the server after the search, and finally, make payments for placing orders. 

This business requirement can be achieved through the implementation of SOA. 

Various services/microservices for different tasks could include: 

  • Authentication Service: Used during the login process to authenticate users. 
  • Geolocator Service: Facilitates the search for restaurants based on geolocation. 
  • Menu Loader Service: Responsible for loading menus from the server. 
  • Payment Service: Handles the payment transactions. 

Each mentioned service performs a unique function to make the system work and fulfill its intended purpose. Now, if clients only need to view restaurants and their menus but don't require the Payment Gateway interface, they can acquire/deploy only the first three services. 

It simplifies the development, deployment, sales, maintenance, and overall experience for developers and end-users. The modular nature of SOA allows for flexibility and scalability, making it a suitable architecture for diverse business needs. 

What is SOA Testing? 

SOA testing is the process of ensuring each component of an SOA system functions correctly. To conduct SOA software testing, software engineers use various approaches and methods. They also conduct testing while considering each layer within the SOA to ensure each process is functional. Like other testing in software development, testing SOA allows the engineers to compare their product to the client's requests and ensure the SOA meets all requirements. 

Why is SOA Testing Necessary? 

Testing SOA allows software engineers to examine the functionality of web processes and ensure various components can communicate efficiently with one another. Like with other software testing, developers use SOA software testing that helps to ensure their deliverable meets all client requirements and functions as it is designed. 

SOA consists of several layers, each serving a specific purpose in the architecture. These layers help in organizing and structuring the components of a service-oriented system. The typical layers in SOA architecture include:

Services Layer 

The services layer considers all applications within a website or system. For example, an online shopping website may include applications like purchase processing, package tracking, and security features. 

Processes Layer 

The processes layer considers primary interfaces and other tools within the website. Functions like generating data, altering current information, and deleting information are all processes included in this layer. 

Consumer Layer 

Consumer layers within SOAs usually consider user interfaces, which are the facades of the website that the consumer can interact with and use to make their selections. When you load up a website, the options and interface are all parts of the consumer layer. 

Why is SOA Testing Necessary? 

SOA Testing Strategy 

SOA testing strategies can be divided into two categories: 

Test Planning Approach 

It is essential to test an application thoroughly. To plan a test successfully, testers must first understand the application's architecture. This understanding will help determine the working strategy to follow while planning a test. 


To simplify the test planning approach, it is best to break down the application into several services and test them independently. This approach analyzes each service's functionality, working parameters, and usage. 

The application's architecture can be divided into generic and application-specific categories per the SRS document. For instance, Login/Register are considered a generic category, while the functions to calculate the amount should be a specific category. 


A complete application can be divided into different components: data (local storage/database), services (Login/Register), and the front end. Studying each component thoroughly and anticipating all possible use cases is essential to ensure all exceptions are covered. Additionally, using a complete checklist and linking all test cases to the company's scenarios is vital. 

Test Execution Approach 

Regarding the test execution approach, it is recommended to test every aspect of all the services independently, regardless of their precedence, order of occurrence, size, complexity, etc. Data flow validation and verification are fundamental functions of integration testing. After testing each component individually (unit testing), integrated testing is conducted to determine if all the services work together seamlessly. 

It is best to perform system testing to ensure data flows smoothly between the front-end application and the database. You should test the application with only the SRS documentation to yield unbiased results. 

Critical Principles of SOA 

SOA is guided by several critical principles for designing, implementing, and maintaining effective service-oriented systems. Here are some of these principles: 

  • Unified Communication Method: Services operate based on collectively adopted communication standards. 
  • Low Dependency on Each Other: Critical errors in one service do not affect the functionality of other modules. 
  • Reusability: Service modules are designed to be reusable in different scenarios, meeting user requirements. 
  • Abstraction Level: Beyond contract descriptions, the implementation logic is concealed from other services. 

For almost all technologies and interaction contracts of services built according to SOA principles, the programming language of the service is inconsequential. It allows for combining different services in distributed systems, providing a unified interface for their connection within the framework of collectively accepted concepts and protocols as universal means of communication. 

SOA-Types of Testing 

Here are the different types for testing SOA:

  • Regression Testing: It is crucial when a software product undergoes periodic revisions and occasionally releases newer versions. It ensures that the application maintains its stability, efficiency, and performance. 
  • Functional Testing: Verifies that the application properly satisfies the requirements or specifications. It simulates actual system utilization and makes no assumptions about system structure. 
  • Security Testing: This type of testing deals with all the risks associated with the software or service under test. It is essential to prevent information loss or damage to an organization's reputation. 
  • Performance Testing: Determines the ultimate efficiency of the associated product by checking parameters like time and space complexity. It helps to understand the software's scalability, stability, and reliability. 
  • Integration Testing: Detects whether the interface is accurate. It involves unit testing of all modules, followed by testing once they are integrated. 
  • End-to-End Testing: Covers all aspects of the software from the beginning to the end. It includes multiple unit testing procedures followed by integration testing, and then some attributes, like the database, are changed to reconfirm the software's reliability. 
SOA- Types of Testing 

Challenges Faced in SOA Testing 

  • Increased Workload: Since services in SOA are independent, each service has one interface, which leads to an exponential increase in workload. 
  • Increased Cost of Hardware: Testing in SOA involves testing services independently and, later, collaboratively with complementary services. It significantly increases the cost of hardware, memory, and time. 
  • Regression Testing: The software in SOA is vast and comprises several functions. These functions frequently update themselves, making regression testing essential to ensure that new updates do not break existing functionality. 
  • Performance Testing: Planning performance testing is complex, as no one can predict how much load will be placed on the service when used along with other service interfaces. 
  • Different Skill Sets are Required: SOA requires people with different skill sets to test the application, increasing the cost of planning and testing any project. 
  • Security Testing: Security testing in SOA requires a deep understanding of all services, which will be clubbed together. As the application expands, it becomes challenging to handle security. 


Difference Between APIs and SOA 

There still needs to be more clarity about whether APIs are different to SOA. Here are some differences between APIs and SOA. 



Interface exposed for inter-application communication 

Architecture methodology for splitting business services into various independent services 

Creating and making services available openly 

Architectural practice promoting service re-use and de-coupled applications 

Initiates communication between client and server 

Enterprise-oriented form of architecture 

Used for external and internal scenarios 

Primarily used for internal use cases 

Suited for mass developer/partner consumption 

Typically used for A2A (Application to Application) and B2B (Business to Business) scenarios 

Usually associated with REST/JSON 

Associated with XML and SOAP 

SOA Testing Tools 

SOA testing is supported by various specialized tools designed to ensure the efficiency and reliability of services. Here are four prominent SOA testing tools: 


SOAP UI is an open-source desktop program for testing services and APIs. It supports SOAP, REST, HTTP, JMS, AMF, and JDBC protocols. It aids in the development, inspection, and execution of web services. 

Load testing and automation testing capabilities are built into SOAP UI, making it versatile for testing different aspects of services. 


iTKO LISA is a comprehensive product package providing a functional testing solution for distributed systems. It is suitable for regression, integration, load, and performance testing. This tool is favored for creating and executing test scenarios in a service-oriented environment. 

iTKO LISA's strength lies in its ability to handle testing scenarios across interconnected systems within a network. 

HP Service Test 

HP Service Test is a functional UI and shared services testing tool. It enables testers to conduct functional and performance testing using a single script. The tool is compatible with HP Quality Center (QC) and accurately simulates JEE, AXIS, and .NET systems. 

HP Service Test streamlines testing processes by combining functional and performance testing capabilities within a unified framework. 

Parasoft SOA Test 

Parasoft SOA Test is an analytical toolset that simplifies API testing. It covers a range of protocols, including Web Services, REST, MQ, JMS, TIBCO, HTTP, and XML. The tool supports various testing methods, including functional, integration, regression, security, and performance testing. 

Parasoft SOA Test's versatility allows testers to conduct comprehensive testing across different service functionality and performance dimensions. 

These SOA testing tools provide essential support for software engineers and testers in ensuring the robustness and effectiveness of service oriented architectures. Depending on specific project requirements, these tools offer a variety of features and capabilities to address the diverse needs of SOA testing. 

Benefits of SOA Testing 

SOA testing has numerous benefits that make it an ideal solution for businesses. Some of the advantages of SOA testing: 

  • Validation of Service Interactions: SOA testing validates service interactions, ensuring they communicate and exchange data accurately. This helps in identifying and resolving issues related to service integration. 
  • End-to-End Testing: It allows for end-to-end testing of business processes that span multiple services. It ensures that the entire service-oriented system functions as expected, and it helps discover and address any issues related to the flow of information across services. 
  • Isolation of Service Components: Testing individual services in isolation allows for identifying and resolving issues specific to each service. It helps in maintaining the independence and reusability of services. 
  • Scalability Testing: SOA testing includes performance testing, helping to evaluate the scalability of services. It ensures that services can handle varying loads and be scaled up or down as needed to meet demand. 
  • Regression Testing: Changes or updates to one service should not negatively impact the overall system. SOA testing includes regression testing to verify that service modifications do not introduce new errors or break existing functionality. 
  • Security Testing: It includes security testing to identify and address service vulnerabilities and their interactions. It is critical for maintaining the integrity and confidentiality of data within the service-oriented system. 
  • Cost Reduction: Detecting and fixing issues early in the development lifecycle through effective testing can significantly reduce overall development and maintenance costs. It minimizes the chances of expensive post-production bug fixes. 
  • Improved Quality of Service: SOA software testing contributes to the overall quality of service by ensuring that services meet specified requirements and standards. It, in turn, enhances the reliability and performance of the entire system. 
  • Compliance with Standards: SOA testing helps ensure services comply with industry standards and protocols, promoting interoperability and seamless integration with other systems. 
  • Faster Time to Market: Identifying and addressing issues early in the development process speeds up the overall development lifecycle, allowing for faster deployment of new services and updates to existing ones. 

SOA testing is integral to the success of service oriented architectures, providing a systematic approach to validate the functionality, performance, and security of services and their interactions. 

Disadvantages of SOA Testing

Here is the description of the disadvantages of SOA testing: 

  • Complex Management: One of the primary pitfalls of SOA is its complexity. Each service must ensure that messages are delivered on time. The volume of these messages can exceed millions at once, posing a significant challenge for managing all services efficiently. 
  • High Investment Costs: The development of SOA requires substantial upfront investments in human resources, technology, and infrastructure. The initial capital expenditure for implementing and maintaining SOA can be a significant barrier for some organizations. 
  • Additional Overhead: In service oriented architecture testing, all inputs are verified before one service interacts with another. When multiple services are used, this increases response time and reduces overall productivity. The additional verification process adds overhead, impacting the system's responsiveness and overall performance. 


This comprehensive guide has delved into the principles, layers, and testing strategies of SOA. By understanding the intricacies of SOA and using effective testing methodologies, developers can ensure the efficiency, reliability, and seamless integration of services within their architectures. The benefits of service oriented architecture testing, including validation of service interactions, end-to-end testing, scalability assessment, and compliance with standards, underscore its importance in achieving a robust and adaptable service-oriented system.  

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Frequently Asked Questions

What is SOA, and how does it facilitate efficient communication between different programs?

SOA enables efficient communication between different programs by organizing them into services. These services, representing functional units, allow seamless integration for business purposes. 

How does SOA benefit developers in structuring and organizing services for a website?

Developers use SOA to structure and organize services for a website, such as payment processing, downloaders, video players, and location services. The modular nature of SOA allows for flexibility, scalability, and easy customization to meet diverse business needs. 

What is the primary purpose of SOA testing, and why is it necessary in software development?

SOA testing ensures that each component of an SOA system functions correctly. It is necessary to examine the functionality of web processes, ensure efficient communication between components, and meet client requirements. 

What are the critical principles guiding SOA?

Critical principles of SOA include unified communication methods, low dependency on services, reusability of service modules, and abstraction beyond contract descriptions. These principles guide the design, implementation, and maintenance of effective service-oriented systems. 

What are some challenges faced in SOA testing, and how do they impact the testing process?

Challenges in SOA testing include increased workload, higher hardware costs, the need for regression testing, diverse skill sets, and the complexity of security testing. These challenges can impact SOA testing projects' efficiency, cost, and planning. 

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