Testing your application with bad data in Java

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In the section Unit testing with bad data, earlier in this chapter, you test individual snippets of code against bad data; in this section, you create test cases to ensure that your entire application can flawlessly handle bad data. The hardest part about creating bad-data test cases is remembering to test every field in your application in every possible way. Such testing may seem tedious or even needlessly redundant at times, but it is very necessary. This section presents five possible test cases for every field in your application. (We say possible test cases. because not all of them apply to every field.) Attempt to submit a form with nothing in a required field. An error with this type of test case can be hard to spot. If this test case fails but no error occurs, check the contents of the database to determine whether any erroneous NULL or blank values made it into the database. You may need to add check constraints to your database tables to guard against this possibility. See 8 for details on check constraints. Attempt to submit a form with letters in a numeric field. One of the following three things can happen if this test case fails: a. If the action template performs its validation logic correctly, the user is gracefully told that he made an error. b. If the action template uses Val() around the string argument to a CFQUERY, a zero is inserted into the database. c. If neither of the preceding is true and the database is correctly designed, the database throws a syntax error. Always watch carefully for any response that seems out of the ordinary. Attempt to put more characters in a field than the database column enables. If your form fields use the Maxlength attribute correctly, this test case never fails. Pay extra attention to text areas because they have no Maxlength attribute; use server-side validation for text areas. Attempt to enter a number outside a column s range. Try, for example, to enter ridiculously large or small values into numeric fields to see how your application responds. A well-written application does not throw an error if the user enters an out-of-range number but politely notifies him of his mistake instead. If a page expects URL parameters, attempt to modify its URL to pass faulty data. Try changing the value of an existing parameter or try removing parameters completely. A failure of this type of test case usually results in a ColdFusion error but should instead recover gracefully if a URL parameter doesn t exist or is out of range. After you make sure that your application handles all possible bad data correctly, you next want to concentrate on problems that can be created by misusing the browser.
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Part I Getting Started with ColdFusion MX
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Browser woes
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Much of your testing has nothing to do with how ColdFusion Server works but rather with how the browser and its user interact with your application. The following sections show you how to account for these browser issues in your testing regiment.
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Using the Back button
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Anyone who s developed with ColdFusion for any significant amount of time can tell you that the Back button presents a problem. If the user clicks the Back button, he interrupts some part of your application s specially designed process and repeats part of that process. This can be bad news if the process is very rigidly designed. Many people post messages to various ColdFusion developers lists asking, How do I get rid of the Back button You can t, so you must learn how to take it into account. No clear-cut list of rules for what to do about the Back button is available you must first make sure that you are following good coding practices and then just fix Back-button problems if they come up. That s not to say that no guidelines exist on how to avoid Back-button problems. Following are a couple test cases that you can use: If you are expecting that a client or session variable exists (or doesn t already exist) as you execute a page, use IsDefined() to test for the variable s existence and reroute the user if the conditions that you expect are not present. Make sure that variable values coming into a page are appropriate. If you have a tenpage process (such as a wizard), for example, and the value of a variable varies depending on which page just executed, make sure that any page in the process can handle whatever value may come into the page. The majority of your testing for Back-button shenanigans must be on the server: Web pages are typically cached on the client computer, so the two submittals in a Submit-Back-Submit sequence look exactly the same to the action page to which the form is submitted. Instead of trying to directly test for a second-page submission in your action page, test instead for some variable value set by the submission directly before the variable is set, as shown in Listing 7-3.
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