It's never easy to test a piece of software. But when it's designed to be used remotely by thousands of people on the Internet, it's even more complex.
Srinidhi Varadarajan, an assistant professor at Virginia Tech, thinks he has an answer to this problem. John Edwards wrote an article about this possible solution, "Weaving a Virtual World."
Software developers currently face two testing options: simulation and emulation. Simulation provides realistic results but also requires extensive rewriting of the software, plus there's no guarantee that the test version will function exactly like its real-world counterpart. Emulation is less realistic, but it saves time and effort by allowing direct testing of the actual software.
Here is Varadarajan's trick.
Varadarajan's new technology, which he calls Weaves, is a framework that translates codes from any programming language into code modules to create a highly accurate design, development and analysis environment. In effect, Weaves can thread together different codes, bindings and other elements to create a virtual world that tricks programs into believing they are running in their actual intended environment.
So far, there is no product, but the technology looks interesting.
Weaves' most promising application may lie in the testing of various kinds of Internet-based software. "Using the Internet as a test platform is not exactly the best way to do things," Varadarajan says. "You can't test a piece of network software on 200 million computers. But with Weaves we can create hundreds of thousands of virtual machines that make software think it's running on a very large-scale network."
For more technical details and a diagram showing how Weaves works, please visit the Weaves Reconfigurable Programming Framework page.
Source: John Edwards, CIO Magazine, January 15, 2003 Issue
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