The Mechanics of Testing Blockchain based Applications | A How To Guide

Published : Nov 19, 2018

Testing Blockchain based applications

  • Blockchain has been often discussed within the context of cryptocurrency development and financial services. However, the technology has much more potential. It has a broad spectrum of applications in various industries like healthcare, automotive, donation, real estate, etc. One of among its many technologies is a Smart Contract. It is a digital protocol used by entities to enable the secure exchange of information with no intermediary involvement in a way that's both verifiable and trackable.

    Blockchain offers endless opportunities for business. A few applications of the blockchain.

    • AXA insurance uses a blockchain based app to process payouts.
    • The country of Georgia uses blockchain technology to validate and store land property rights.
    • Projects like MicroGrid in Blockchain even utilizes blockchain for controlling electricity consumption and availability.

    All of these significant and viable blockchain implementations pushes the blockchain adoption forward to a global extent.

    Further, the hype and pressure created by the success of blockchain only intensify some businesses' FOMO- the fear of missing out. Many think that they could be missing out on the benefits of using blockchain for their organizations.

    Hastily, it pushes them to head right into blockchain projects. And thus, creating a lot of problems.

    As blockchain is relatively novel in the IT landscape, many development teams don't have enough experience in testing blockchain based applications. Additionally, along with being costly, there's a scarcity of advanced skills in the domain.

    So, how can these new companies eliminate these risks? The answer is blockchain testing.

    Testing blockchain based application or any other software rigorously and comprehensively can ensure their quality and lower the risks associated with lack of skills or inexperience in blockchain development services.

    The very nature of blockchain makes it almost impossible to tamper with data that has been already stored in it.

    For instance, the Bitcoin base layer transactions can't be reversed and are final.

    Consequently, imagine not being able to make a chargeback on fraudulent transaction commands from your bank.

    In a nutshell, blockchain testing is like ensuring that every transaction in all of the bank's history is authentic, in advance.

    In this article, we'll be taking a gander at the ins and outs of testing blockchain based applications.

    However, given the nature of existing blockchain based applications, many of the ideas and concepts will be focussed on cryptocurrency development. Still, can be applied to other domains.

    The fundamental tools for blockchain testing:

    Testing can only be done using tools, especially when it comes to testing blockchain based applications. If you're giving the responsibility of ensuring the success of your blockchain based project through testing to a blockchain development company, and it doesn't have an appropriate procedure and right set of tools, rest assured, you're likely to fail.

    So, let's start with the basics.

    Testnet for blockchain:

    The Testnet refers to an alternative Bitcoin blockchain, used for testing. Testnet coins are separate and distinct from actual bitcoins and don't carry any physical or virtual value.

    Ethereum Testnets:

    There are a few options available in this category.

    However, let's take a gander at top three of them: Rinkeby, Ropsten, and Kovan.

    The most recommended is Ropsten due to its architecture. It closely corresponds to live Ethereum mainnet. Being a trade-off, it's vulnerable as its authentication process is similar to that of Ethereum, therefore, is susceptible to spamming.

    On the other hand, Kocan and Rinkeby have better performance. However, these only bolster diminutive chain data sizes. And, can't support the actual mining process of ether, which may result in affecting the testing routines.

    Frameworks for testing blockchain based applications

    There are some particular frameworks for testing blockchain based application thoroughly and comprehensively. Most of these frameworks allow a tester to run everything locally along with providing complete control over most of the activities in the network.

    Ethereum Tester, a straightforward testing library, is available as a Github Repo. It's open-source, and its setup is quite noncomplex. It comes with decent API support for forks mining, as well as other critical testing functionalities.

    BitcoinJ, an excellent Java-based framework for bitcoin-based applications, allows a tester to interact directly with the real BTC network and test transactions. It doesn't even require a download of standard BTC core files from to begin utilizing it. There's also a user discussion forum if you found stuck yourself in a tricky situation.

    Populas carries Ethereum test functionality baked in the for a particular group of features for test contract deployment. Built around the py.test framework, makes its implement quite easy.

    Truffle has become a renowned name for Ethereum developers. It has numerous exciting features, one of among many is automated contract testing.

    Embark is a framework focuses on the development of decentralized applications (DApps) that involve running on multiple computers or nodes.

    IBM Hyperledger is an open source tool that enables testers to model and test blockchain project involving a minimal set of tools: Docker and a browser.

    It is done through Hyperledger, a framework used for facilitating blockchain based application development comprising of a modeling language, a UI (composer), a command-line interface. It bolsters interactive testing, automated system tests, and automated unit tests.

    Standard types for testing blockchain based applications.

    Now we have got a basic understanding of the types of environments used for testing blockchain apps, let's move further to know more thoroughly about the actual tests, and a few testing standards.

    Functional tests:

    It could be possible that your blockchain project is relatively new and unique. It's also possible that you could incorporate a feature that hasn't been entirely assessed and implemented before. Here, doing functional testing could prove to be your 'sanity check' to ensure that everything is working fine.

    Security tests:

    Blockchain thrives in Fintech and banking applications. For them, it's a must to test authorization and authentication method. Their ability to withstand service denial attacks or different illicit origins is vital for ensuring stability and security.

    Integration tests:

    Your blockchain project will be required to perform in multiple environments with various systems integrated, for example, a customer-centric UI. Thus, it's a must to test the solidity and performance of these inter-system connections.

    Performance tests:

    Before deploying the project or application, testing the network ability to transactions and its size is crucial. It helps in identifying the bottlenecks of software and hardware in advance.

    Peer & node tests:

    Validating that a consensus between a transaction and nodes is appropriately sequenced within the network could help ensure its productivity and stability for the end user.

    Some of these scenarios of testing blockchain based applications can be summed up by a set of simple questions or user queries. Such as, what happens when there's an invalid input? How does the application execute a long stream of varied (invalid/valid) inputs? How will it manage inaccurate behavior or execution errors? How will it support and validate access?

    Niche expertise:

    None of these testing methods matter if the team handling this part is incompetent. So, it's wise if you opt a Blockchain development company which offers comprehensive blockchain development services, including QA testing.

    A blockchain company having an in-house team of QA testers and consultants can end your search and ensure that your project is thoroughly tried and tested to serve the world.

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