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What are software testing and its types?

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  • 9 min read

An application, or product, undergoes testing before its launch into the market or delivery to a customer or client. Testing is the process of analysing and ensuring all the features and functionality of the product, as per customer requirements.

In this article, we will see the different types of testing done in software.

What is software testing?

Software testing is a method to verify if the product or application being provided matches and works on all the required and expected business requirements. By testing, it is ensured that the product is free of bugs and defects. For performing software testing, execution of both the system and software components using both manual and automation tools to ensure the working of all components. By software testing, errors, bugs, missing flow of work and other gaps are identified in comparison with the requirements.

Proper testing ensures security, high performance as well as reliability of the product. It also helps with cost and time saving along with client satisfaction.

Importance of testing

Without ensuring proper testing, there may be loss of time, money, and maybe even human loss. Software bugs present due to lack of testing can prove to be very dangerous. There have been examples in past which prove the same.

Consider the 2015 IT breakdown and a software glitch in the Bloomberg terminal in London, which caused losses and affected over 300,000 traders in the financial markets. The software glitches in 2014 due to which heavy losses were incurred by Amazon’s third-party retailers as their product price was reduced on the site to 1 penny, which was taken advantage of by many of the pre-festive shoppers. In another incident in US and Canada, Starbucks had to shut down 60% of its stores due to software failure. Due to this failure, they were unable to process any transactions, due to which they also had to serve coffees free of cost for some duration.

Bugs can be identified by testing

The past has also seen incidents where due to software in the sensory detectors or a software bug, accidents have happened, and many lives were lost. There are many more incidents throughout history where due to software bugs and failures, there were heavy losses in every aspect. It can also lead to cases of cybercrime. Software testing helps find these bugs and fix them in time before the software or application or product is released for public use.

Also read: Top 5 Windows Software/Apps for power users to boost productivity and experience.

Testing methods

There are two methods to perform software testing:

  • Manual testing
  • 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 enhance the efficiency and productivity of the testing process. With the use of automation testing tools, the approach toward test data and handling test implementations becomes easier. The expected output can be compared against the actual output with ease. It is a time-saving process and reduces the tedious task of executing the same repetitive tasks manually multiple times.

Automation is slowly taking over the world, but in testing, achieving 100% automation is not possible, which means that manual testing will always be required. As the name suggests, manual testing is the process of manually testing without using any automation tool. By the use of manual testing methods, the testing can be done more precisely based on the user’s requirements and perspective. Before testing, all the test cases are planned and written, and it is also easier to catch onto the hidden defects since the use cases can be performed in various ways. Although this method ensures an error-free application, it is quite time-consuming and requires manual effort.

There are many methods to perform software testing. A few of the most important types of testing are:

Unit testing

Unit testing is a method to test all the individual functions, methods and modules of the code. It ensures the working of every individual unit of the code. This is generally performed by the developers themselves. This helps the developers get a better understanding of the errors and bugs in a faster and clearer manner, and at an early stage of development. This testing method is not very expensive to automate either and runs very quickly upon continuous integration.

Also read: What is Firmware? How is it different from software and hardware?

Smoke testing

This form of testing is not a module or functional specific, but is for the entire application as a whole. This tests all the basic, yet major functionalities of the application. They are all quickly executable tests and aim to provide the assurance of working of the features. It ensures the stability of the application for further processes. It is performed before the rounds of deeper and more specific testing.

Integration testing

As the name states, it tests the integration of the different individual modules of the application. The data flow between the modules and interface is tested. Integration testing is performed in a fully integrated hardware and software setup, to ensure that the entire system and its functions are working correctly in integration. It ensures that the entire system meets the required customer requirements.

There are two types of integration testing –

  • Incremental testing – This is performed 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 classify child or parent modules.

Also read: How to disable Google’s Software Reporter tool?

Acceptance testing

Also known as User Acceptance Testing (UAT), this is a test that is performed to ensure that the customer and business requirements are achieved and that the application delivered performs all its tasks. This test is generally run by the domain expert or the customer itself. All the real-time scenarios and other business use cases are analysed in the UAT environment. This determines if the application is deliverable.

Functional testing

Functional testing or Component testing is a type of black-box testing. This focuses only on the application’s business requirements. Its objective is to verify the output of a specific task. Its emphasis is more on the application’s requirement instead of the actual code. The testing engineer is required to test only the program and not the entire system.

Although it is very similar to integration testing, there is a major difference. An integration test is simpler and verifies a specific query, while in a functional test you get a specific value-based output depending on the product or application requirement. All tests are only value-based, with inputs and outputs. These tests verify the output of the test, but do not consider the immediate states of the application while the test is being performed.

Also read: What is Hyperautomation? How is it different from Automation?

End-to-end testing

This is also known as System Testing. Here, the software or application is tested for its working on the different operating systems. This is also a black box testing method. Without any focus on the internal working of the application, only the input and output are given importance and tested. This includes functional testing, stress testing, recovery testing and security testing. This is generally performed after the completion of unit testing and integration testing.

Every single feature of the application is tested and the end result is checked if it meets the business requirement or not, and the entire product is analysed as a complete system. The workflow of the entire application is tested from A to Z. These tests are essential and useful but expensive as well and also difficult to maintain once automated. Due to this, it is preferred to keep only tests end-to-end and rely on other lower-level tests.

Performance testing

This test is performed under a given workload to check the working of the system. It helps check the speed, reliability, scalability and also response of the application. This helps to understand the performance requirements and the application stability under peak load, along with locating the bottlenecks of the application, among other advantages.

There are 4 categories of tests under performance testing:

  • Load testing – Less than or equal load of the desired load is applied to check the application performance.
  • Stability testing – This test is done by applying load for a precise time only to check the application’s performance in a stressful situation.
  • Scalability testing – This test gives us the scalability limit of the application by increasing and reducing the load in a balance.
  • Stress testing – Checks the potential and user-friendliness of the software hen used beyond the regular functional limits.

Regression testing

This is the most common type of software testing. Here, the functions and modules of the application that aren’t affected by new functions are tested and retested. This kind of test is the most suited for automation testing. Also, in situations where a bug is fixed, or any other integration is made, it might have an effect on some other feature, then that feature needs to be tested – this testing is done under regression.

Also read: Robotic Process Automation (RPA) Vs Intelligent Process Automation (IPA).

Ishita Maheshwari

Ishita Maheshwari

A creative nerd, TT player, an avid reader, and an engineering student.