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FAQ: What is Co-Advisor?

Co-Advisor is a communication protocol compliance/conformance/compatibility/etc. test suite. Co-Advisor operation is controlled via Web interface. The Measurement Factory hosts an on-line version of the tool for remote installation-free tests. Stand-alone distributions are available for in-house tests.

Co-Advisor tests the quality of a protocol implementation, using real-world and compliance-focused test cases. HTTP (RFC 2616) is the only protocol that is currently supported.

More information is available on Co-Advisor web site.

FAQ: What devices/implementations are supported?

Co-Advisor can test virtually all HTTP intermediaries that accept HTTP queries, forward misses to specified origin servers, and relay the responses back to Co-Advisor clients. For example, forward caching proxies, reverse proxies or surrogates, various filters and firewalls, or origin server load balancers with a VIP. HTTP/1.0 intermediaries are supported though they will fail or violate version-dependent test cases, naturally.

FAQ: How much of the RFC 2616 is covered?

Co-Advisor covers all HTTP (RFC 2616) MUST-level requirements applicable to supported devices. Hundreds of test cases are available and the collection keeps growing. If you find a requirement that is not covered, please let us know.

FAQ: Are there HTTP-compliant devices?

All implementations tested so far violated at least one RFC 2616 MUST. Thus, we do not know of any compliant devices. Do you?

FAQ: What about testing HTTP clients and servers?

It is possible to automate testing of HTTP servers and even clients, to some extent. Most Co-Advisor additions are demand-driven, so let us know what your needs are.

FAQ: What about protocols other than HTTP?

Let us know what other communication protocols you want Co-Advisor to cover.

FAQ: How much does it cost?

The cost for Co-Advisor service depends on your needs. On-line trial with a subset of test cases is free. Individual tests without detailed logs cost $1-3. On-line tests with detailed logs are more expensive. Binary and source code distributions come next. Exact prices are posted on Co-Advisor web site.

FAQ: Can Co-Advisor report a protocol violation where the device does the right thing based on real-world requirements?

Yes. Co-Advisor can test for spec compliance and for real-life compatibility. If you are testing for protocol violations, Co-Advisor ignores real-world requirements and uses just the protocol specs.

In situations where the protocol contradicts real-life requirements, Co-Advisor may have two test cases with identical protocol interactions but different result assessment logic. A device configured to obey the protocol would pass one case, and the same device configured to be robust would pass the other case. You can then tell your customers that your device is both compliant and robust, and that your customers have a choice (with a reasonable default configuration setting, of course).

The above "dual result" approach seems to be necessary if we want to test for formal protocol compliance at all. Our assumption is that marketing and sales/partnership departments would benefit from ability to claim certain level of compliance while also demonstrating real-world robustness.

FAQ: How do I start using Co-Advisor?

Register. Login. Make your device under test accessible from Co-Advisor IP address(es). Configure and start the test.

Alternatively, you can purchase stand-alone distributions for in-house tests.

FAQ: What IP addresses and TCP ports does Co-Advisor use?

Co-Advisor uses the IP address(es) of the web server host it runs on. For example, coad.measurement-factory.com currently has IP address. Co-Advisor clients use random TCP ports. Co-Advisor servers may use TCP port 80 and ports from the 8080-8099 range.

IP addresses and port ranges are configurable if you install Co-Advisor locally.

FAQ: How can I make my device accessible from Co-Advisor IP address(es)?

The exact procedure depends on your local environment. For example, if you have a firewall in front of your device, you may need to open up access for Co-Advisor IPs. You may have to move your device into a DMZ zone. Talk to your network administrator.

If you are using an on-line version, make sure your device has a routable IP address that Co-Advisor can reach. The following IP addresses are reserved for "private" networks and are not routable (see RFC 1918):

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FAQ: Is there a Co-Advisor version I can install/use locally?

Yes, Co-Advisor binaries and source code are available. Please see Co-Advisor web site for details and pricing or contact us.

FAQ: Do you develop test cases on demand?

Yes. If you want us to add a specific test case or a group of test cases, please contact us.

FAQ: How can I contact Co-Advisor maintainers?

Please e-mail coad at measurement-factory dot com.

FAQ: How can I get help besides reading on-line documentation?

Please contact us.

FAQ: How can I get answers to other questions?

Please contact us.

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