2018-02-06

With a history spreading over 15 years, the SharePoint package is one of the most successful enterprise products from Microsoft. It is a content management system and a document library with intranet  and collaboration capabilities. It is still used by most Fortune 100 companies and will continue to be in high demand since it has already proved its value.

Creating new applications using this framework is straightforward, yet it requires robust testing to ensure quality, appropriate workflows and the right level of security.

Preliminary Planning

Before moving into actual testing, it is wise to take a moment and plan the procedures to avoid any interruption and to speed up the process. First, define the purpose of the testing and bring together the project team, with an emphasis on the project manager. Make a list of the documents to be included, the electronic formats to be used for these files, and existing platforms that will work with SharePoint, such as ERP/CMS/CRM systems. Also make sure you have a list of relevant access rights, business policies, and data protection requirements.

Define the testing environment, including servers and networks, together with the requirements and the monitoring and reporting tools. Define the databases and test files that will be used and make sure these don’t breach security and confidentiality rules. Define the expected outcomes and success thresholds. Be sure you ask the primary stakeholders, who will be impacted by the changes in the SharePoint system, if there is anything else you should pay attention to.  

Also, take into consideration common SharePoint testing pain points. Most issues arise from poor documentation of past faults, an incorrect understanding of bug triggers and insufficient communication between developers and testers. Also, since most testing is done by generalists, you can expect some misbehaviors of more delicate items such as APIs.  

Testing the SharePoint Structure

Since this is a web-based application environment, A1QA recommends a generic scheme for such products, adapted to SharePoint’s particularities.

Other useful SharePoint Testing Blog posts from the Community:

Testing SharePoint Functionality

Databases are at the core of an organization and information should be clean, up-to-date and easily searchable. Test cases should include at least adding, deleting, and updating elements.

Each page should be tested to ensure that each element is working correctly. Test cases should include proper linking, including that on page and linking to external pages or even other domains, and make sure there are no broken links or orphan pages. Another concern includes forms and making sure that the information transmitted through these reaches the intended database without being corrupted.  

Testing SharePoint Compatibility  

Testing should focus on OS compatibility, browser version compatibility, and add-in updates, if necessary. A more recent requirement includes mobile browsing and any issues arising while using the build on a mobile device. Compatibility with peripherals should also be added in this step if there is a print option.

Conflicts between versions or operating systems could make the application unusable or return various error codes. Since SharePoint requires ActiveX, it was initially designed for Internet Explorer only, but now there is also some support for Safari to meet the Mac users’ needs. Yet, as a recent comparison proves, there is room for improvements in this area.

Testing SharePoint Performance

Performance testing includes web load testing and web stress testing. The load test ensures the system is usable on different internet connection speeds and that it can be accessible during peak times. Meanwhile, the web stress test aims to stretch the limits of the system up to its breaking point.

The application is expected to be able to handle current requests as well as those expected to arise in the future. A reliable system can accommodate growth and handle more massive loads than the average ones at the moment of the design. Any future developments of the company should be considered and reflected in the architecture.

Testing SharePoint Security

One area that supports no half-measures is security. Keeping in mind recent cyber-attacks, the examination should ensure end-to-end protection against information test and breaches. Compliance requirements to various standards (PCI-DSS and HIPAA) are also part of this set of evaluations.

The files and directories should not be reachable directly, as there should be an interdiction to access resources by merely modifying parts of an already open URL. A valid SSL certificate should be installed and running, notifying the user when they are about to leave a secure area.

Testing SharePoint Usability

Although SharePoint users usually go through introductory training, the solution should be as self-explanatory as possible, with straightforward navigation, main menu, and consistency across pages. Content should be organized logically, following a hierarchical order. Make sure the search option is available on every page.

Testing SharePoint Interface

Make sure the communication between the browser, server and database are flowing nicely. It is a good moment to verify what happens in case of interruptions, or if there are any error codes returned from the web server. Try resetting the connections during an operation to simulate a defect and understand how the program is handling these situations.

Restrictions

It is worthwhile to think about possible problems raised by SharePoint’s native limits, such as the maximum size of files by type, the number of users in a group or secure environments.

Some of the most relevant constraints include:

  • 2GB max file size of lists and libraries
  • 10MB max for Excel books
  • 5,000 max group members
  • Each member part of maximum 5,000 groups (highly unlikely)
  • 5,000 synced items in a library
  • Up to 20,000 items in the OneDrive Business library, including files and folders

Make sure file names also follow good practices like not containing reserved keywords or invalid characters.

Final Considerations

Testing SharePoint requires a fair amount of planning and careful consideration. The program’s capacities are balanced by the need to pay attention to details and ensure compatibility between components and versions. Also, during the testing process it wouldn’t hurt to identify the most likely errors and create a short training course for end users. This way, the learning curve will be much smoother, and the adoption speed enhanced.

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About the author 

Maria W

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  1. Brilliant post! This post has covered all the important factors in SharePoint testing and so, very much useful! As mentioned, it is very significant to test SharePoint functionality, compatibility, performance, security, usability, interface, etc. Also, I agree with ‘Final Considerations’ on testing SharePoint and I really liked reading such an informative post. Thank you!

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