How many apps do you have installed on your smartphone or PC? Social media, weather trays, messengers, fitness trackers, maps, etc. Millions of users interact with these little software pieces daily. And each expects smooth and fast performance, convenient interface, and a minimum amount of device space required.
The ultimate quality of these major aspects directly depends on the testing the software went through initially. Poor testing is guaranteed to result in tons of negative feedback and post-release issues.
Software testing in a nutshell is a process of researching to identify errors and differences between real and expected capacities. There are different types of software testing carried out by specialized experts.
When it comes to software testing, it is important to remember the specific purpose of procedures in different test scenarios. The resulting test metrics should be compared with the expected performance rates. Based on that, further debugging takes place.
But let’s dive a bit deeper into the topic and figure out the basics, nuances, and general methods of modern efficient testing.
General Types of Software Testing
Depending on the complexity of the product in development and at what production stage an error is detected, the debugging process can take up to several weeks. All the related processes should be prompt so as not to hinder the final release and cause more expenses.
Ideally, efficient testing should be able to define highly complex testing errors. Software flaws that require a lot of time and cardinal design changes to fix may as well jeopardize the whole product.
Detection of only minor errors can never guarantee the correct and reliable operation of the system. Hidden system errors will surely surface after the functioning solution’s launch, becoming a real “find” for all the users.
But how many types and methods of testing are there to help define each and every error? The major types of software testing most commonly employed include:
- Functional testing;
- Non-functional testing;
- Regression testing;
- Structural testing;
- Unit testing.
On top of that, most generic types of testing in software testing have a number of subtypes as well.
1. Functional Testing
Functional testing helps to check whether each software feature works according to the requirements. The test data is, basically, matched with the capabilities described in the specification. Thus, we can find out whether the software solves the tasks it was initially intended to and fix any drawbacks further on.
This testing method has both pros and cons.
The advantages include the fact that the method helps to simulate the actual product use in close to real user conditions. Some of the common faults in software testing of this kind are the risks of excessive testing and skipping logical errors while maintaining functionality.
A crucial stage of preparing efficient, working software. There are all the needed tools available for testing the system’s resistance to hacker attacks, viruses, unauthorized access to confidential user data, and such.
Interoperability testing comes in pretty handy during the development of network technologies and services. It helps to fix and prevent software conflicts between versions of the product or its basic components that operate simultaneously.
2. Non-Functional Testing
Non-functional testing helps to go through system criteria outside of the functional scope. The results of these tests are usually assessed and measured with specific values.
For instance, performance under various loads, usability for end-users, system scalability rates, growing traffic or incoming information handling, and the ability of the system to recover, create timely backups or migrate to other platforms.
Performance & load testing
It is conducted to collect performance indicators of the application or software piece at peak loads.
Critical conditions are created for the system to simulate emergency operation with the maximum possible number of users or information flowing in at once. This test shows whether the software is capable of withstanding stress-load requirements.
This subtype can also include stability testing, which indicates the continuity of performance in different conditions.
Analysis of system performance under conditions of increasing data volume in the database refers to volume testing. It helps check whether the software can adapt the accumulated values without performance losses.
In the process of developing, improving or updating software, new features are added or existing ones are improved.
But since the software system is a complex mechanism consisting of interconnected parts, a change in one of them can affect both individual components and overall performance.
There is also the human factor when in the process of coding the developer may make mistakes or miss some elements of the code.
To minimize such errors and release a truly high-quality IT product, change testing is also applied.
This type of testing involves the whole set of testings at all key stages of development and its results are essential to analyze immediately before the release of the application.
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3. Regression testing
Regression testing in software engineering is used for finding errors in previously approved sections of the source code. It often happens that changes in a certain part of the software may negatively affect its entire performance leading to regressive errors.
Regressive checks can be carried out both manually and automatically, with the help of specialized software and based on a regular schedule or at specific developmental stages.
This method of software testing is great in that is helps to improve the end product’s quality with a deeper elimination of functional errors, requiring less time to verify and configure testing.
4. Structural Testing
Structural testing is employed for going through software logic and its major components. Here, the study of subsequent software actions based on different input data lies at the core, which is also deemed route testing.
To select underlying tests, one must take into account criteria such as the subsequence of each program operation’s execution and testing of the algorithm nodes in “true” or “false” values or in more other conditions.
If all the algorithmic routes are distinct and tested, the goal of this particular procedure is considered achieved. The more complex your tested system is, the more difficult it is to cover all the algorithm route variations.
This testing method efficiently helps to detect and correct faulty code and many potential errors. On the flip side, however, is that a developer conducting such tests must know the code they’re working with and approach testing planning in more detail.
At IDAP, we always focus on the importance of testing at all stages of development. The company’s testers use only well-tried-and-tested capacities and simulate user environments to help you have a top-notch performing end product.
We also create web and mobile applications for startups and medium-sized businesses based in Western Europe and North America, which obliges us to stay up to date as to all the development and testing market tendencies.
Commonly, we and most other service providers in the industry use the following types of estimation techniques in software testing:
- Mark-II method – the software checking sequence includes determining the viewpoint, purpose, and type of calculus, counter boundary, logical transactions, classification and definition of data objects, functional size, etc.;
- Functional points analysis – the inspection of internal and external files, input and output data;
- Testing point analysis – management of such parameters as interface, uniformity, performance, size, the complexity of the software;
- Other methods, such as the Delphi Technique, IFPUG method, and others.
As a prominent software testing example, let’s consider the authorization system in a usual online store. Since the number of users accessing the system simultaneously can spike, the intuitive interface and a high rate of speed and reliability should be maintained at all times.
For protection against external spammer attacks, unique user login and password are provided and the user email address is confirmed during registration. The interaction of the system and mail services is an object of testing.
Conducting testing, it is worth checking whether the system correctly recognizes the data that the user enters and responds properly. See whether the system redirects users to the store after authorization, whether there is fast access to all menu items and other major performance expectations.
Usually, a framework used in software automation testing has a list of capacities and primary goals. These nuances are important to understand for utterly efficient testing, so be sure to also know what the sole tools for testing require to perform (which resources, how profitable investing in them will be, and such).
Initially, however, you should compose your own expected scope of testing capabilities and needs. Based on that, you will be able to select the most fitting automated testing platform and settle with a proper list of software testing types to be applied.
But what other general types of requirements in software testing are there?
The details described in the tech reference and specifications that consider crucial testing criteria and software properties. These are, basically, the general results expected by the client or the development team.
Things that users would like to see as a result. This may include convenient design, high performance, low software “weight”, etc. Client-focus of modern services makes it necessary to listen to user desires, however, such “non-functional” requirements may conflict with some explicit requirements during testing.
This may describe extra functionality and features that would exceed the client expectations and add up to an overall competitive advantage.
All these types of requirements are verified in different ways:
- If any of the explicit requirements does not meet the documentation, the tester should understand that it is time to customize either the code or documentation; sometimes, theoretical tech reference is better adjusted to the half-made product prototype.
- For identifying implicit inaccuracies, the tester must figure out what the client expects from the software and what tasks it can solve. The ability to meet expectations will be a good incentive for further project development.
- Testing hidden requirements is the most difficult because it does not have clear concepts and requires monitoring the target audience preferences as well as the ability to predict what they may grow to like in the future.
All types of testing you involve in your project development should be thorough and consistent. Keep in mind that skipping crucial testing stages, such as security testing, you are risking to not only fail your IT product but also lose reputation and money.
To summarize this all up, note that testing in all its various incarnations is a crucial part of any software development life cycle, and the way your particular project is lead should also affect your final list of testing methods.
In particular, different testing needs may appear during such software development phases as:
- Planning. This is where the foundation of the entire project is established, goals are defined, issues and ways to solve are analyzed. The analysis of the market and competitors, the search for alternative solutions determines the further destiny of the whole project.
- System analysis. Technical and economic analysis stage for deciding the feasibility of working on a project and preparing all the necessary technical documentation.
- System design. What the end-user will see before their eyes, detailed work through all the visual components.
- Development & deployment. Based on the set tasks, software coding and test launches take place at this stage.
- Operation & integration. This is where software components are assembled into a single product and tested.
- Further support. Monitoring of how relevant and stable in performance the whole software system is, testing of the resistance to existing threats.
Depending on the complexity of underlying tasks, each of these points may take a different amount of time and, if necessary, should be repeated more than once.
It is difficult to overestimate the importance of most software testing stages. Lack of good testing can ruin the whole impression your solution gives away and undermine the trust of customers towards both the developers and product providers.
Correctly debugged patches of code and responsibly taken points of testing will certainly help you make a high-quality product with a great demand on the market.