An application, or a product, undergoes testing before it is launched in the market or delivered to a client or customer. Testing is the process of analyzing and ensuring all product features and functionality according to customer requirements.
In this article, we will see the different types of tests performed in software.
Software testing is a method to verify if the delivered product or application matches and performs on all required and expected business requirements. By testing, the product is guaranteed to be free of bugs and defects. To perform software testing, running system and software components using manual and automation tools to ensure all components work. Through software testing, errors, bugs, missing workflows, and other gaps are identified against requirements.
Proper testing ensures product safety, high performance and reliability. It also saves time and money as well as customer satisfaction.
Importance of testing
Without ensuring proper testing there can be loss of time, money and possibly even loss of life. Software bugs that are present due to lack of testing can be very dangerous. There have been examples in the past that prove the same.
Consider the 2015 computer outage and software glitch in the Bloomberg terminal in London that caused losses and affected over 300,000 traders in financial markets. The software has problems in 2014 due to which heavy losses were suffered by Amazon’s third-party retailers as their products were priced down on the site at 1 cent, which many pre-festive buyers took advantage of. In another incident in the United States and Canada, Starbucks had to close 60% of its stores due to a software failure. Due to this failure, they were unable to process any transactions, due to which they also had to serve coffees for free for a certain duration.
The past has also seen incidents where due to software in the sensory detectors or a software bug, crashes have occurred and many lives have been lost. There are many more incidents throughout history where due to software bugs and crashes there have been heavy losses in all aspects. It can also lead to cases of cybercrime. Software testing helps find these bugs and fix them in time before the software, application or product is released to the public.
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There are two methods for performing software testing:
- Manual test
- Automation testing
Automation testing is a software testing method that uses automation tools to run and execute the test scripts, without any human interference. It helps to improve the efficiency and productivity of the testing process. With the use of automated testing tools, approaching test data and managing test implementations becomes easier. The expected output can be easily compared to the actual output. It is a time-saving process and reduces the tedious task of manually performing the same repetitive tasks multiple times.
Automation is slowly taking over the world, but in testing it is not possible to achieve 100% automation, which means that manual testing will always be necessary. As the name suggests, manual testing is the process of manual testing without using any automation tool. Through the use of manual testing methods, testing can be performed more accurately based on the user’s requirements and perspective. Before testing, all test cases are planned and written, and it is also easier to detect hidden defects since use cases can be executed in different ways. Although this method ensures error-free application, it is very time-consuming and requires manual effort.
There are many methods for performing software testing. Here are some of the most important types of tests:
Unit testing is a method for testing all functions, methods, and individual modules in code. It ensures the functioning of each individual unit of the code. This is usually done by the developers themselves. This helps developers better understand errors and bugs in a faster and clearer way, and at an early stage of development. This method of testing is also not very expensive to automate and runs very quickly during continuous integration.
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This form of testing is not a specific module or feature, but is for the entire application as a whole. This tests all the basic, but major, functionality of the app. These are all quick-run tests and are intended to provide assurance that features are working properly. It ensures the stability of the application for further processes. It is carried out before the series of more in-depth and more specific tests.
As its name suggests, it tests the integration of the various individual modules of the application. The data flow between the modules and the interface is tested. Integration testing is performed in a fully integrated hardware and software configuration, to ensure that the entire system and its functions work properly in integration. It ensures that the whole system meets the required requirements of the customer.
There are two types of integration tests –
- Incremental testing – This is done when the relationship between the different modules is clear.
- Top-down incremental integration testing
- Bottom-up incremental integration testing
- Non-incremental testing – This is used when the data flow is complicated and it is not possible to categorize child or parent modules.
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Also known as User Acceptance Testing (UAT), this is a test performed to ensure that customer and business requirements are met and that the delivered application performs all his tasks. This test is usually performed by the domain expert or the customer themselves. All real-time scenarios and other business use cases are analyzed in the UAT environment. This determines whether the application is deliverable.
Functional testing or component testing is a type of black box testing. This only focuses on the business requirements of the application. Its purpose is to check the result of a specific task. It puts more emphasis on the application requirements than on the actual code. The test engineer is required to test only the program and not the entire system.
Although it is very similar to integration testing, there is one major difference. An integration test is simpler and checks a specific query, while in a functional test, you get an output based on a specific value based on product or application requirements. All tests are value-based only, with inputs and outputs. These tests check the test output, but do not consider the immediate states of the application during test execution.
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This is also known as system testing. Here, the software or application is tested for its operation on the different operating systems. It is also a black box testing method. Without any focus on the inner workings of the application, only inputs and outputs are important and tested. This includes functional testing, stress testing, recovery testing, and security testing. This is usually done after unit testing and integration testing is complete.
Each functionality of the application is tested and the final result is checked whether it meets the business requirements or not, and the whole product is analyzed as a complete system. The workflow of the whole application is tested from A to Z. These tests are essential and useful but also expensive and difficult to maintain once automated. For this reason, it is best to keep only end-to-end tests and rely on other lower level tests.
This test is performed under a given workload to verify system operation. It helps to check the speed, reliability, scalability and also the response of the application. This helps to understand performance requirements and stability of the application during peak load, as well as locate application bottlenecks, among other benefits.
There are 4 categories of tests within the framework of performance testing:
- Load Test – A load less than or equal to the desired load is applied to verify application performance.
- Stability Test – This test is performed by applying a load for a specified time only to check the performance of the application under a stressful situation.
- Scalability Test – This test gives us the scalability limit of the application by increasing and decreasing the load in a balance.
- Stress Testing – Verifies the potential and usability of the software used beyond the usual functional limits.
This is the most common type of software testing. Here, functions and modules of the application that are not affected by new functions are tested and retested. This type of test is most suitable for automation testing. Also, in situations where a bug is fixed or any other integration is done that may have an effect on another feature, then that feature should be tested – this test is done under regression.
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