Effective Strategies for Managing External Dependencies in Automated Acceptance Testing

Effective Strategies for Managing External Dependencies in Automated Acceptance Testing

3 July 2024 Stephan Petzl Leave a comment QA

Automated acceptance testing is essential to ensure that your web application performs as expected in real-world scenarios. However, managing external dependencies during these tests can be challenging. This article provides a comprehensive guide to handling such dependencies, drawing on practical examples and industry best practices.

Challenges with External Dependencies

When your web application relies on various central business applications exposing services in different technologies, you may encounter the following issues:

  • Data Coherence: Ensuring that the dataset for core systems remains consistent across tests can be difficult.
  • Environment Stability: Development environments may not always be stable, affecting test reliability.

Approaches to Managing Dependencies

1. Testing APIs for Data Transport and Parsing

One effective strategy is to test the APIs responsible for data transport and parsing. This involves using unit tests against mock objects and data stores to ensure that the APIs function correctly.

2. Creating a Fake Server

Building a ‘fake server’ to emulate various web services can be beneficial for running functional tests. This approach offers control over the data and allows for fault injection to simulate network errors. However, it is important to note that while a fake server is useful for isolated testing, it does not replicate end-to-end real-world scenarios.

3. Utilizing Real Servers for Acceptance Testing

Acceptance testing should ideally be conducted in an environment that closely mimics real-world conditions. Running tests against real servers ensures that the software is evaluated in scenarios similar to those experienced by actual users. To manage sporadic issues with real services, consider redesigning tests to include checks, such as pinging the service before starting the test to ensure it is operational.

Combining Approaches for Optimal Results

A balanced approach involves using both fake servers for isolated functional tests and real servers for acceptance and performance tests. This strategy allows you to benefit from the control offered by fake servers while also ensuring that your software functions correctly in real-world conditions.

Practical Example

Consider a web application that acts as a UI for various central business applications. To manage dependencies:

  • Conduct unit tests on APIs using mock objects.
  • Create a fake server to emulate web services for functional tests.
  • Run acceptance tests against real servers to ensure end-to-end functionality.


Managing external dependencies in automated acceptance testing requires a combination of strategies to ensure both isolated functionality and real-world performance. By testing APIs, using fake servers, and conducting acceptance tests against real servers, you can achieve comprehensive test coverage.

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For more information on test automation, check out our blog or explore our documentation.

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