Mockaroo – random data for your application

Posted August 31st, 2015 in Content. Tagged: , , , , , , .

What lies at the core of all application development, testing and actual deployment? Data; realistic, abundant and quickly generated! Any application developer knows how important it is to test an application with lots and lots of data. Having repetitive tests with different kinds of abundant data validates how robust and reliable an application will prove to be when real data to the tune of terabytes is fed into it. Will it be able to handle the pressure or will it crash?

Though it is a crucial step in the application development process, testing with realistic data is often a tiresome task. Hand-filling data into a test environment one record at a time using the user interface can take days altogether. And if there’s a mistake or an unexpected result, to retest you have to undergo the same process again. Moreover, with one person filling in thousands of records, at one point, the data will start to become repetitive, following a particular pattern rather than being random.
So how does one overcome these issues of random data generation? With Mockaroo of course!

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Mockaroo – The realistic data generator that lets you relax while it works!

Mockaroo is a brilliant online tool that lets you solve your data generation problems in a few clicks. It lets you generate up to 1,000 rows of realistic test data in CSV, JSON, SQL, and Excel formats. And if you need more data, you can buy one of their nominally priced plans. All you need to do then is write a simple script and the data from these formats will be automatically fed into your application for testing. How awesome is that!

If you’re application is tested against realistic data, you’ll have two very distinct advantages. One, you’ll be more engaged as a tester. Realistic data will mean your application will face challenges that it might face in real-time (like special character errors or jumbled jargons) thus helping to make it more robust. Two, when you demonstrate the features of your app to other users making use of realistic data, they’ll understand quicker and easier.

With Mockaroo, you don’t have to worry about the technical aspects of testing like learning about mock data libraries or new platforms just to perform stress testing of the application. You can focus on the application development and leave the rest to this unique tool. It will let you download large amounts of randomly generated test data based on your own specifications which you can then load directly into your test environment using SQL or CSV formats, without any programming required.

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This is how it rolls

On visiting the tool’s website you see columns with data field names, their data types and blank options which you can alter to adjust to data order and specifications. The column named ‘Field Name’ accepts simple text input, ‘Type’ accepts data type and ‘Options’ accepts numerical input (fields with the same blank percentage are left blank at the same time). You can click on a type to open a pop-up showing the available data-types from which you can select the one that suits your application. You can add more fields by clicking on the “Add another field” button and remove them by clicking on a small cross (x) adjacent to them.

At the bottom of the boxes you see a box specifying the number of rows that will be generated (you can alter this to any value below 1000), the format in which the data will be generated (this too can be altered through a drop-down) and a button to “Download” the data. You can even choose to preview what data will be downloaded by clicking on the “Preview” button. There are even options to save the setting to your profile through the “Clone This Schema” button. You can also choose to directly load your application’s fields from a CSV if they are too many.

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In this sense, Mockaroo actually gives you all that you need to generate random data for testing. With no signup required for this basic functionality, anyone who just wants random data to test their application can use this tool for free. In our opinion, it’s a win-win tool in this regard.

Additional Features

If you thought that was all, think again! A super cool feature of Mockaroo is its random data generation at runtime. If you wish to take your application’s testing a step further by runtime testing of your application with realistic random data, you can do that too. For this, Mockaroo offers a REST API which you can configure into your application to make the downloading of data happen automatically. Just feed in your application’s fields as a schema, configure the REST API from Mockaroo into your application and see the magic happen.

This feature is a bit restricted though. First, it requires you to signup, which is still free. It has usage limits – 200 POST requests per day for a free plan. If you however wish to go for one of their plans (Silver or Gold), you get to download up to 1,000,000 records / day for Silver and 10,000,000 records per day for Gold plans with no POST request limit. That’s a lot of data. The other big restriction is that only 2 formats are supported here – JSON and CSV. Other details about the API feature can be found through the API link given in the header menu of the website.

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Pros VS Cons

Do we need to say the pros again? Data – realistic, random and lots of it; those words pretty much sum up the awesomeness of this tool.
There isn’t really a con with this tool, literally. If you regard $50/year for Silver (100,000 rows) and $500/year (10M rows) a con, well, you’re better off spending days filling the data yourself. Plus, up to 1000 rows it’s absolutely free, so test it out first and then go further if you need to. What’s there to lose?

  • Generate realistic random data for your application with @mockaroodev mockaroo.com/ via @supermonitoring

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Final Words

A win-win tool in our opinion that you should try out immediately if you need random data generated quickly and easily.

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