"For example, a vendor has a database interface, and wants to know how many times we can access a series of records, what the results show (are the right, blank, time out?), and how long it took for the search to take place during various times of the day, and so on. So we emulate one of their data entry people by logging onto the system, putting in some search parameter from a script, and then record what the text (or error message) was when it came back. Yes, we could connect directly to the SQL database without their front end, but it's the combination of their front end and the database we usually test. We have found many examples where were can connect raw, for instance, but the front end displays a timeout. We also test things like 'What happens if the user enters a colon or asterisk?' or 'What if the text entered in the box is over 256k?' Then we tell the vendor the results, and they hopefully fix them based on the data we gave them."