Middleware developers face many challenges in all phases of Middleware SDLC. Some of them are Requirements gathering, Promulgation of the new Technology, Substantiate the ROI (Return on Investment) for using the Technology itself in the first place, Testing the Interfaces, firewall issues etc. PI Developers are in need of many tools for a successful end-to-end testing of the Interfaces which is not part of PI Software. These include pinging or telneting the end receiver servers, Browsing of the File servers (FTP, SFTP etc), Manual File transfers for adhoc testing, Testing the WSDL/Web Services, Generating the RSA/DSA Keys, Testing the Java Mapping Programs etc.
This blog would give you an opportunity to look at some of the Open Source tools that are available out there for the above mentioned purposes. I have personlally used most of these tools myself in multiple PI Projects and i found it very useful.
1. SOAP UI for Web Services Testing (http://www.soapui.org/)
This tool lets you import the WSDL, develop Test Cases and Save it for future regression testing. The non-Pro version is free for anyone to use. This has a Rich UI, very easy to use and intuitive layout. This also makes it easy to share it with the IT Business during the final phase of Interface Testing. You could simply load this in the client machines for testing and copy your Project with the Test cases which already has the WSDL in it and they are ready to go. The tool allows you to change the end-point of the WSDL anytime as well as store multiple end-points which makes it easy for someone to test inside the firewall as well as from outside the firewall but not limited to routing the request to Dev and Test servers by just switching the end-points.
2. WINSCP for browsing the Files in FTP/SFTP Servers (http://winscp.net/eng/index.php)
This is a ftp/sftp client tool that allows you to connect to servers using ssh to various ftp and sftp ports to browse files when a file transfer is done either as a sender or receiver. This software lets you import the keys as well for the SFTP connection. Once configured, this software could store the connections for future use although saving passwords is not recommended.
3. Putty for Telnet, SSH and Key generation (http://www.chiark.greenend.org.uk/~sgtatham/putty/download.html)
This tool lets you connect to Unix servers, telnet etc. This is mostly out of command line arguments and the software could store the connection information just like WINSCP. I could probably get away with just WinSCP, but this one is liked and preferred if you are a savvy Unix Scripter.
4. PuttyGen for Generating the Keys (http://www.chiark.greenend.org.uk/~sgtatham/putty/)
This software lets you generate the public/private key pairs for SFTP connections. If you do not want to use passwords/only passwords for an SFTP transfer, then you probably have to give your Public key to the party that is going to accept the file transfer while you store the Private key in the sender server. This tool lets you generate those key pairs.
5. NetBeans for Java Mapping Programs (http://www.netbeans.org/)
I know that most of you would prefer to use NWDS (NetWeaver Development Studio) for yor Java Mapping needs. But i was in pursuit for a light weight alternative that could help me compile and syntax check my java mappings. This tool lets you do the Java Mapping, compile as well as code check.