When it comes to testing, there are many types. We will not be able to cover each and every one of them. However, we will take a look at what is testing and the types of testing that are fundamental during the process of delivering quality software or application:
Before we get into the types of testing in software engineering, let us first understand what software testing is.
What is Software Testing?
Evaluating the functionality of a software application with the aim of finding out whether the product is defect-free is the process of software testing. Checking whether the software or its components meet the specified requirements and quality is the job of the following professionals:
- Software testers
- Project leads or managers
- Software developers
- End users
These professionals carry out the testing process within their capabilities. If the testing is done successfully, the product will be as specified without any errors.
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7 Principles of Software Testing
- Testing shows the presence of defects: The objective is to identify as many bugs as possible.
- Exhaustive testing is not possible: Careful planning and assessment of the testing process will save one from testing every single line of code.
- Early testing saves time and money: Fixing issues early is an easier and cheaper option than doing the same toward the end of the product’s life cycle.
- Defects cluster together: Testing should be focused on those areas of the software that usually have the most number of issues.
- Beware of the pesticide paradox: It is important to update testing techniques to help prevent the pesticide paradox.
- Testing is context-dependent: The testing that is carried out depends on the context of the software or systems.
- Absence of errors is a fallacy: If a system does not fulfill the specified requirements, then no matter how many errors are found and fixed, it will still be unusable.
Applying these principles effectively helps to improve the quality of the overall testing strategy and achieve optimum efficiency.
Benefits of Software Testing
- Cost-effective development: As discussed already, early testing saves both time and cost.
- Product improvement: Diagnosing and amending the errors after proper testing can be time-consuming but is a way for product improvement.
- Quality: Software testing helps to keep in check the following in a system or software:
- Client confidence: For forging long-term relationships with clients, making software testing a clear priority is incredibly important.
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Different Types of Testing
Manual testing is carried out by a tester manually without the use of any kind of automation tools. It can identify visible and hidden defects. This kind of software testing often involves the testers trying the software from the perspective of the end users. It is among the most fundamental testing processes, and the strategies can range from being fully scripted test cases to high-level guides for exploratory testing sessions.
For newly developed software, manual testing is mandatory before automated testing. Manual testing may require great effort and time, but the result will be a bug-free software. Manual testers will require the understanding of manual testing techniques and need not have any automated testing skills. Several sophisticated tools are available but a simple and flexible one to try out is Testpad.
Automation testing involves the use of special automation tools and requires huge investment of money and resources. It is among the types of testing that aim to minimize manual test cases. Here, testers handle test scripts and return the result automatically. Test suites are recorded by using tools, and these can be played again by the testers as per the requirement. No human intervention is required for automation testing. Some popular automation tools are QTP/UFT and Selenium.
Check out the key differences between Manual Testing and Software Testing in our comparison guide, Manual Testing vs Automation testing.
Different Types of Software Testing Methods
Static testing or verification is the testing method of checking files and documents to ensure the development of the right product according to the specified design, test cases, test plans, etc. Static testing involves activities such as inspection, static analysis, peer review, walk-throughs, etc.
It is crucial to execute static testing because the errors diagnosed during this phase make it cost-effective from the project’s perspective.
Dynamic testing or validation is the process of testing the actual product through the tests done on the software application. Various parameters, including CPU and memory usage, response time, and the overall performance of the software, are tested and reviewed. The dynamic behavior of the code is examined through this testing technique.
There are three types of testing approaches:
- White-box Testing
- Black-box Testing
- Grey-box Testing
White-box testing is also known as structural testing, glass-box testing, transparent-box testing, or clear-box testing. This kind of testing is executed at the unit level and is based on the internal code structure. The test cases are designed based on the internal perspective of the system and programming skills such as code statements, conditions, branches, paths, etc.
Black-box testing is also known as behavioral testing, specification-based testing, or input-output testing. It is a testing method where testers, without looking at the internal code structure, test the functionality of the software. The tests are based on the requirements and functionality alone. The internal system design is not taken into consideration.
Black-box testing is again divided into two different types of testing:
Functional testing focuses only on the output to verify the functionality of the software and how it fares against the specified requirements. This testing does not involve looking at the actual code. Each function is given a value, and then, the output is determined and verified with the expected value.
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Every organization has a separate team for this kind of testing called the non-functional testing (NFT) team or the performance team. Here, the testing is done for non-functional parameters such as stress testing, load testing, recovery testing, volume, security, accountability, etc. These parameters are, however, never tested without first executing functional testing. The main objective is to know whether the software’s response time is as per the requirement as it plays a crucial role in customer satisfaction.
Grey-box testing, as you may have already guessed, is the combination of both white-box and black-box testing. The testers will have access to design documents and internal coding for the purpose of designing test cases. The testing process here is executed at a functionality level. Grey-box testing is good at diagnosing context-specific errors of web systems and pays attention to all the layers of any complex system. This helps increase testing coverage. Grey-box testing is primarily implemented in penetration testing and integration testing.
Levels of Testing
The testing levels can be categorized into four primary types as explained below:
Unit testing involves a developer separately testing each and every unit of an application. Each source code module is tested in the developer’s environment. This testing is also known as module testing or component testing. Unit testing reduces the cost of bug fixes since the diagnosis is done at an early phase of the development life cycle.
Integration testing, also known as I&T testing or string testing, involves the testing of the connectivity or transfer of data between unit-tested modules. This type of testing includes the top-down approach, the bottom-up approach, and the sandwich approach.
Also known as end-to-end scenario testing (E2E testing,) system testing is a type of black-box testing that is done on a fully integrated application. Every input in the application is thoroughly verified for the desired output. System testing is the testing of a user’s experiences with the application.
Acceptance testing is further split into alpha, beta, and gamma testing. It is executed to obtain customer sign-off to take the delivery and payment process forward. The main objective is to check and verify the system’s compliance with the specified requirements for delivery to end users.
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Apart from this list, there are numerous other types of testing and their subcategories. This blog has covered the overall methods, approaches, and levels that are involved in the testing process. However, always remember, it is not necessary to do all available types of testing for every project.
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