Software Testing: How Important It Is

 

A flawed software application can have a huge impact on the developer’s revenue, credibility and reputation in the longer run. So before delivering the software to the client, each company needs to ensure that it is working flawlessly and meeting all requirements or specification of the client. There are many instances when minor flaws in software have resulted in both human and monetary loss. That is why; software testing has already becomes an integral and significant part of the software development life cycle (SDLC).

The agile software development principles further do not consider software development and software testing as two separate processes. The agile methodology emphasizes on the programmers and testers working as a single team, and work together to improve the quality of the software. As an integral part of SDLC, software testing process aims to assess the completeness, correctness and quality of the software before its delivery. At the same time, the test results help businesses to check if the software meets all requirements or specifications of the client.

Why Software Testing is Important for Modern Businesses?

A number of studies have indicated that the cost of fixing bugs in the software increases, if they are not identified and fixed early. When the defects or bugs in the software are detected early, it becomes easier for programmers to eliminate them. That is why; most companies nowadays introduce testing in early phases of SDLC. They further deploy independent QA professionals to assess the software during various stages of development.

Nowadays, IT companies to develop custom and mission-critical software applications. A minor bug in the mission-critical software application can result in both financial and human losses. For instance, a minor flaw in the software used by an aircraft can result in irreparable losses. That is why; the IT companies must perform a variety of tests to identify and eliminate all defects, bugs or flaws in the application before it is delivered to the client.

Each modern user has option to choose from thousands of identical software applications. So to keep the users interested and engaged, each enterprise must deliver high quality software. When the software is tested thoroughly and repeatedly, its quality can be assesses more effectively. Based on the test result, the company can launch a high quality product that will stay in the market in the longer run.

Software testing further becomes essential for businesses due to the differences between the development and production environments. While developing the product, programmers focus mainly on its features and functionality. But the features and functionality will have different effect on individual users. When the application is assessed in the testing environment, it becomes easier for QA professionals to assess the user experience accurately. As testing environment and production environment are identical, the performance of the software can be assessed more accurately.

Often clients require developers to include new features in the software during different phases of development. Each time a new feature or functionality is added to the application, the code needs to be tested thoroughly. The QA professionals perform regression testing to ensure that both legacy and new features are working flawlessly. The tests will further help the business to assess the quality of the updated product before it goes live.

The modern websites and web applications must be compatible with multiple operating systems, devices and web browsers. So the enterprises must assess the web application’s performance on various devices, platforms and browsers. The seasoned testers use advanced tools to assess the website’s compatibility across multiple platforms and devices. The test results further help developers to make changes to the code to enhance the website’s compatibility and accessibility.

Many businesses deploy independent QA professionals to protect their goodwill in the competitive market. The online forums and social networks have made it easier for modern users to highlight the defects or flaws in a particular software application. So the enterprise needs to ensure that the end user detects no bugs of flaws. When the software is tested thoroughly, the chances of bugs detected by users are eliminated. Thus, software testing will help developers to impress users and stay in the business over a longer period of time.

With more and more businesses adopting agile development methodologies, software development and testing have now become inseparable processes. Each business has to invest in comprehensive software testing to get higher returns, enhance its reputation, and retain clients.

An Introduction to Software Testing

Software Testing is an investigation carried out to provide information about the service or product to the stakeholders. It also provides and independent view to allow people to understand the inherent risks involved in using that software.

Thus, it serves as a warning system and prevents possible losses if implemented correctly.

Different users require different software. For e.g. a banker would need banking software and a gamer would need gaming software. Hence, when a company develops or distributes software, it should be able to judge whether its product is acceptable or not to its end customer and software testing allows it to do that. According to a recent study by NIST, bugs in software costs $60 billion annually to the US economy. A third of this can be avoided by conducting better software testing.

There are various reasons for bugs in software like programming errors, compatibility with earlier / later versions, hardware compatibility, etc. Software testing aims at examining the code and also executing it under test conditions. Few techniques used for this purpose are: 1) Black box 2) White box 3) Grey box 4) Integration, 5) Regression, 6) Acceptance 7) Non functional and 8) Destructive testing.

As a common practice, an independent test group does software testing before the product is delivered to the customer. There are many approaches towards software testing. It can be conducted on basic modules or units of the software individually. This is called unit testing. It can also be conducted on the entire software at the same time by putting it through some test cases. This is called system testing. It can be done to check its compatibility with other hardware and software. This is called integration test. Before the product is dispatched to the client, additional tests called alpha and beta tests are done. Alpha testing includes testing the final version of the product by treating the testers as the end users. Beta test is done after alpha testing by distributing the product to a select audience outside the testing group for feedback.

Test Management is advantageous as to an extent it can highlight bugs in the code, test the software compatibility with other hardware and software and predict customer response to a product. The limitation of software testing is that it is unable to test under all operating conditions. It can only test the product’s failure under limited test conditions. There are many certification programs that certify professional software testers. However, no certification today actually checks the software tester’s knowledge and ability in his field. A certification alone is unable to guarantee the tester’s capability hence many believe this filed isn’t ready for certification yet. However, it is a fast emerging field and promises exciting careers for its aspirants.

Basic FAQs in Software Testing

 

1. What is the purpose of the testing?

Software testing is the process used to help identify the Correctness, Completeness, Security and Quality of the developed Computer Software.

Software Testing is the process of executing a program or system with the intent of finding errors.

2. What is quality assurance?

Software QA involves the entire software development PROCESS – monitoring and improving the process, making sure that any agreed-upon standards and procedures are followed, and ensuring that problems are found and dealt with. It is oriented to ‘prevention’.

3. What is the difference between QA and testing?

Testing involves operation of a system or application under controlled conditions and evaluating the results. It is oriented to ‘detection’.

Software QA involves the entire software development PROCESS – monitoring and improving the process, making sure that any agreed-upon standards and procedures are followed, and ensuring that problems are found and dealt with. It is oriented to ‘prevention’.

4. Describe the Software Development Life Cycle

It includes aspects such as initial concept, requirements analysis, functional design, internal design, documentation planning, test planning, coding, document preparation, integration, testing, maintenance, updates, retesting, phase-out, and other aspects.

5. What are SDLC and STLC and the different phases of both?

SDLC

> Requirement phase

> Design phase (HLD, DLD (Program spec))

> Coding

> Testing

> Release

> Maintenance

STLC

> System Study

> Test planning

> Writing Test case or scripts

> Review the test case

> Executing test case

> Bug tracking

> Report the defect

6. What is a Test bed?

Test Bed is an execution environment configured for software testing. It consists of specific hardware, network topology, Operating System, configuration of the product to be under test, system software and other applications. The Test Plan for a project should be developed from the test beds to be used.

7. What is a Test data?

Test Data is that run through a computer program to test the software. Test data can be used to test the compliance with effective controls in the software.

8. Why does software have bugs?

Miscommunication or no communication – about the details of what an application should or shouldn’t do

Programming errors – in some cases the programmers can make mistakes.

Changing requirements – there are chances of the end-user not understanding the effects of changes, or may understand and request them anyway to redesign, rescheduling of engineers, effects of other projects, work already completed may have to be redone or thrown out.

Time force – preparation of software projects is difficult at best, often requiring a lot of guesswork. When deadlines are given and the crisis comes, mistakes will be made.

9. What is the Difference between Bug, Error and Defect?

Error: It is the Deviation from actual and the expected value.

Bug: It is found in the development environment before the product is shipped to the respective customer.

Defect: It is found in the product itself after it is shipped to the respective customer.

10. Describe the difference between validation and verification

Verification is done by frequent evaluation and meetings to appraise the documents, policy, code, requirements, and specifications. This is done with the checklists, walkthroughs, and inspection meetings.

Validation is done during actual testing and it takes place after all the verification are being done.

11. What is the difference between structural and functional testing?

Structural testing is a “white box” testing and it is based on the algorithm or code.

Functional testing is a “black box” (behavioral) testing where the tester verifies the functional specification.

12. Describe bottom-up and top-down approaches

Bottom-up approach: In this approach testing is conducted from sub module to main module, if the main module is not developed a temporary program called DRIVERS is used to simulate the main module.

Top-down approach: In this approach testing is conducted from main module to sub module. If the sub module is not developed a temporary program called STUB is used for simulate the sub module.

13. What is Re- test? What is Regression Testing?

Re- test – Retesting means we testing only the certain part of an application again and not considering how it will affect in the other part or in the whole application.

Regression Testing – Testing the application after a change in a module or part of the application for testing that is the code change will affect rest of the application.

14. Explain Load, Performance and Stress Testing with an Example.

Load Testing and Performance Testing are commonly said as positive testing where as Stress Testing is said to be as negative testing.

Say for example there is an application which can handle 25 simultaneous user logins at a time. In load testing we will test the application for 25 users and check how application is working in this stage, in performance testing we will concentrate on the time taken to perform the operation. Where as in stress testing we will test with more users than 25 and the test will continue to any number and we will check where the application is cracking.

15. What is UAT testing? When it is to be done?

UAT testing – UAT stands for ‘User acceptance Testing. This testing is carried out with the user perspective and it is usually done before the release.