Why is test data important?
If you're developing an application, you'll want to make sure you're testing it under conditions that closely simulate a production environment.
In production, you'll have an army of users banging away at your app and filling your database with data, which puts stress on your code. If
you're hand-entering data into a test environment one record at a time using the UI, you're never going to build up the volume and
variety of data that your app will accumulate in a few days in production. Worse, the data you enter will be biased towards your own usage patterns and won't
match real-world usage, leaving important bugs undiscovered.
Why is realistic data important?
When your test database is filled with realistic looking data, you'll be more engaged as a tester. When you demonstrate new features to others,
they'll understand them faster. Real data is varied and will contain characters that may not play nice with your code, such as apostrophes,
or unicode characters from other languages. Testing with realistic data will make your app more robust because you'll catch errors that are likely
to occur in production before release day.
Some application frameworks, like Ruby on Rails, have great data mocking libraries. But not everyone is a programmer, has time to learn a new framework,
or is at liberty to adopt a new platform. Mockaroo allows you to quickly and easily to download large amounts of randomly generated
test data based on your own specs which you can then load directly into your test environment using SQL or CSV formats. No programming is required.
Want to automate test data generation?
If you sign in using your Google account, you can download random data programmatically by saving your schemas and using curl to download data in a
shell script via a RESTful url.