Referencing Databases using Excel Connectors

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The data generation functions can be used in conjunction with the full range Excel connectors into files, databases, Azure, and other data sources.

Using Excel’s dependency mapping, the Data Generation Add-In can then be used to edit data from existing systems. Data in test databases, for example, can be enhanced synthetically for greater test coverage, before being invoked existing test automation frameworks or used in manual testing. The data generation Add-In thereby provides a simple and lightweight tool to improve the rigour of testing.

First, the data is imported to Excel. Navigate to Data/Get Data and select the relevant location:

In the navigator pane, select the relevant table and click “Load”.

This will import the table into Excel, where it can be edited:

The data generation functions can then be used in a separate sheet to edit data in the connected database or file, referencing the cells as set out here. Existing data can be strung together using the Parse function, and fresh synthetic data generated, supplementing existing data sets according to test and development needs.

The newly created data can be maintained as the files or databases changes, using Excel’s refresh controls. Right click the table name in the “Queries & Connections” panel, and click “properties”.

Under “Refresh Control”, select the nature and regularity of the refresh. As the data source, the imported data will automatically refresh:

Data can also be refreshed manually, by navigating to the data tab and clicking “Refresh All” in the “Queries & Connections” tab:

Data generation functions that reference the imported data will auto-update as the data is refreshed. This automatically maintains test data, keeping it up-to-date as systems data changes. Interdependencies in the data and synthetic data are also maintained by Excel, providing a quick and simple way to maintain the validity of test data.