The importance of conformance testing
The flow of information between IT systems lies at the core of the digital services used today by citizens, businesses and public administrations. Such exchanges are made possible by ensuring IT systems are interoperable, meaning that they communicate in a common way and share an understanding over exchanged messages and the processing they entail. Interoperability in turn is built on the specifications that formally capture the requirements IT systems must implement.
Testing IT systems against such specifications is the process of conformance testing. This is important from a quality control perspective but may also be a prerequisite step before IT systems can engage in exchanges with their counterparts. It is also challenging to get right given that the process needs to accommodate various development stages, allow IT system developers to test with minimal overhead, but also facilitate project administrators who need to monitor the overall testing progress.
What is the Interoperability Test Bed?
The Interoperability Test Bed is a service offered by the European Commission’s DIGIT to facilitate the conformance testing of IT systems. The Test Bed is itself a software system that can be both downloaded and installed locally, but also reused through a shared online installation operated by DIGIT. It offers an intuitive web user interface that allows administrators to define their project’s overall testing setup as well as users to connect and run tests.
In terms of the testing approach it follows, the Test Bed is typically used to exchange messages with the software systems being tested, supporting both the sending and receiving of messages, validating all steps against the target specification and according to the specific scenario’s expectations. Such scenarios can focus on technical details but can also be defined at business-level, exposing details only when needed to troubleshoot failures.
The Test Bed can be customised for a specific project’s testing and deployment needs and also extended where needed to support domain-specific capabilities. Throughout the process, project teams can also count on support from the Test Bed team in the design and realisation of their testing strategy.
Use the Test Bed for your own project and benefit from a ready-to-use, robust conformance testing solution, that minimises testing costs and ensures the interoperability of your IT systems.
“Reuse of the Test Bed allowed us to avoid significant effort and focus on core concerns while offering a user-centric and rich conformance testing experience to project staff and the Member States”
Krzysztof Iwanski, DIGIT, Project Manager for the Business Registers Interconnection System (BRIS)
Find out more
The best starting point when considering to reuse the Test Bed is its value proposition. This provides a good summary of its value for project administrators and users, before continuing to list in detail its use cases and the services offered to you by the Test Bed team.
An overview of how the Test Bed works and the current list of its technical capabilities are provided in the Detailed information page. The full set of documentation for the Test Bed, including tutorials and developer resources, is online and accessible through the Documentation and resources page.
Get in touch
If you have questions, feedback or are considering reusing the Test Bed, you are invited to send an email to the Test Bed team at DIGIT-ITB@ec.europa.eu.
We are continuously looking for feedback to improve the Test Bed and the services we offer to the community. If you have a few minutes to spare we would highly appreciate it if you took the time to complete our feedback survey. Your opinion matters!