Generating Realistic Test Data

If you're a software developer who works on systems involving lots of data, you will probably have had the need to generate test data. This can be really tedious work! Let's look at some options:

1. Do it manually

This is probably the best way to get extremely realistic data, as you will take great care to ensure that the data looks real. However, what if you need to create 10,000 records, complete with names, addresses, dates of birth, etc.? You probably won't have the time to do that, right? And, you'd probably lose the will to live after the first 100 records!

2. Get some existing data and change it

You could take an existing, real database, copy it and then change the records. This of course assumes that you have an existing database (not the case for new systems). Also, are you sure you'll randomise the data enough? What if you accidentally leave one of your 10,000 records in place without changing it? Data Protection issues!

3. Write a program

If you're a developer, you can probably write a program to generate test data. But can you write it in a few minutes, complete with the ability to generate dozens of different data types, patterns and formats? Will you develop the ability to export this data to a wide variety of data formats? How much time are you willing to invest, just to write a program that generates test data? Is that time best spent developing and fixing bugs?

The problem with all these approaches is one of time. Let's face it, test data generation is very time-consuming and very dull!

4. Let ActiveDataTools do it!

Luckily, ActiveDataTools can help. It has over 30 powerful generators that can generate tens of thousands of records in seconds. And once you've generated your data, you can instantly save it to dozens of output formats, like CSV, Excel, Access and SQL Server.

The following video demonstrates how powerful the test data generators are and how quickly you can generate incredibly realistic data. Watch as we generate 10,000 records in seconds...

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