Fake it till you make it: Introduction
As with many topics, this one came up due to a real need.
You see, at work we have in-house as well as outsourced development. The outsourcers’ locations literally span continents as well as time zones. And yes, the software each one develops must play nice with everyone else’s.
So in our situation, design-by-contract is imperative. It simply doesn’t work any other way. We need to let each one know what is expected of them and then give them relative freedom to develop using their tools and methods -as long as the input and output is defined.
Since we mostly use REST services, the way we usually do it is by giving them Swagger files. This does a decent job of explaining what they need to build, be it either the provider (a REST API) or the consumer (the caller of the REST API). But still, there are many cases where there are gaps and they need to test with “the real thing”, or at least something that’s close to being real.
So what I usually do is build and deploy a mock -a fake service that looks a lot like the real thing. That enables all of us to get most of the work done; any differences that arise during the integration testing will be (usually!) minor and (usually!) easily fixable.
My work (and this guide, walk-through, tutorial, nameitwhatyouwant) has the following steps:
- Write the Swagger, or OpenAPI, file. This is versioned; whenever there are changes, which is normal in every project, I issue a new version and notify everyone involved. The swagger files are kept in a git repository (we use Azure Devops, a.k.a. VSTS) so the changes are traceable.
- Create a mock (fake) service using Wiremock.
- Create a docker image for the mock service using Rodolphe Chaigneau’s wiremock-docker image.
- Using Terraform, I build an Azure resource group and host the docker image in an app service.
- In Azure Devops, I build a deployment pipeline that deploys all changes, be it in the Docker container or the Azure configuration, whenever a change is pushed in the git repository.
- Then everyone involved can test the service using the swagger editor, curl or whatever tool they like -SoapUI, Postman, Postwoman, younameit.
I could, of course, not bother with most of it and just run Wiremock locally. But remember, it’s not just for me. It has to be useful for many people, most of them outside my company’s network. They will use it to test the client they’re developing or verify the service they’re building.
Note that all of the steps explained in this guide are cross-platform. I’ve tested them with both Windows 10 and Ubuntu 19.04. In both OSes I’ve used just the simplest tools -a text editor and git command line- but normally I use VS Code (and occasionally vi for old time’s sake 😊). Whatever little scripting there is, it’s done in Powershell Core, also cross-platform.
Let’s start, shall we?
Step 2 – [Wiremock] Create the mock service
Step 4 – [Terraform] Ship these containers