Steve Jones - Editor (12/19/2007)
Thanks and glad you like the topic. I was hoping for more of a response 🙁
Steve, I also love the topic and am glad to see at least some discussion.
Generation of test data in the dev/test database is critical and can be used itself as an exercise of software and testing.
My preference is to write C# .Net 2.0 instead of scripts due to where I came form in the IT World. So I see the generation of test data as also an excellent opportunity to stress test business logic in applications. Recently I wrote a driver to stress test the security web service we developed. I used random string and number generation for some fields and could have used more.
The dispersion of the data was excellent due to the variations of keys used and the ability to run through the business logic x iterations gave use some good measures as far as speed.
At the end of the stress testing we had a database with thousands of records that were available for testing of other logic and database structure and usability.
Email addressed and other assigned values for fields are left up to my creative imagination. In the test I could have a will in the future use the standard construction for email addressed that is used here. Other data if needed could be gathered from the Enterprize Active Directory. Since that data is available off of the Domain Controller a test app should have access to various pieces of data that can be used for testing.
Using the programmatic approach I can control most of the basic elements and values, implant business rules as needed, and select/build data according to needed joins to see if the database will behave as expected, and work under load.
Again great topic!
Not all gray hairs are Dinosaurs!