Software testing refers to the process of identification of errors, bugs, or gaps in the software. The functionality of the developed software is evaluated in testing to make sure it is in-line with the specified requirements and is free from any errors for delivery of a bug-free, quality product.
In this detailed guide, we’ll cover major concepts related to software testing to give you in-depth and useful knowledge before starting your testing career.
Software testing and quality assurance play a crucial role in delivery of a high-quality, error-free software application. It is one of the most essential activities that need to be performed before the software release
Software testing means validating and verifying a software application to ensure:
The main idea behind software testing is to reduce the risk that can severely impact a customer while using the software. This software could be anything - an enterprise app, mobile app, web application, or cloud-based software.
Any software testing company aims not only at finding flaws or errors in the developed software but also identifying ways to improve the efficiency, accuracy, and usability of the software. Apart from verifying software against agreed-upon specifications, testers also evaluate the functionality and performance of a software application to produce a quality product.
If you ask any enterprise software development company about the importance of testing they will give you six primary reasons for it: reliability, security, high-performance, cost-effectiveness, time-saving, and customer satisfaction.
These are the most important reasons why testing has been an integral part of software development for the past many years. Any small error or bug in software can cost millions of dollars to a business. More than money, it damages a company’s reputation badly. History is full of such examples when a small bug in software resulted in a huge monetary and human loss for companies.
caused the cancellation of 100 flights resulting in thousands of passengers waiting at airport queues.
due to a software glitch, affecting around 300,000 stock traders.
60 percent of stores in the US and Canada due to the failure of its POS machines.
resulted in 1 million of its cars being called back from the market
saw their third-party vendors’ product pricing went down to 1 paisa.
the software failure in military SLV cost $1.2 billion to the US army.
If software testing is not performed correctly, errors may arise in application which may lead to rework, costly failure, or even worse. Apart from an organization’s reputation and business, sales and revenue are also largely impacted by testing. Users prefer buying a competing, high-quality product over a solution that has poor quality or is full of errors. Hence, ensuring a product is reliable, secure, and bug-free is important for organizations before launching a new product in the market.
Project managers often ignore testing activities during agile development. It is seen as a cost center, rather than a profit source in startups. This is one area where startups fall miserably in software development. Instead of making the most profitable software, the focus should always be on creating a quality product first. By performing quality testing, the following benefits can be achieved:
By doing quality assurance at every step, the mounting task of building a quality product becomes easier. Delivering a high-value product also improves your company’s market reputation and brand image.
Delivering a product that meets customer needs and performs exactly how users want is a priority for every business. Testing lets you achieve this goal by ensuring quality, from start to finish.
People always look for secure and trusted products. One they can use without any fear of privacy or data loss. Testing helps you build products that are safe, secure, and with minimum data loss risk.
Quality assurance means the implementation of a product that’s trustworthy, reliable, and efficient. This leads to higher product sales and profit for any company.
The primary aim of software development is to build a product that satisfies customers’ needs. Users want easy navigation and quick response during product interaction. Testing lets you constantly fix product errors and deliver quality at every step.
Faulty software triggers rework, work pressure, and miscommunication between teams, which no one wants. By performing QA activities at every major step, development teams can stay organized with a clear timeline resulting in higher productivity.
The seven popular principles of software testing are as follows:
Software Testing Helps Identify Bugs Testing any software or enterprise app reveals a few bugs that often go unnoticed in the eyes of developers. The second person opinion or review of work analogy applies in testing. That being said, testing alone can’t confirm a project or product is free from human errs.
Exhaustive Testing Isn’t possible: This principle takes forward the previous concept which says testing lets you identify bugs in software. But, with an exception. Sometimes it is not possible to test all feasible sets of data, modules, and scenarios. Be it iOS app testing, web app testing, or game testing - finding all the errors is not possible.
Early Testing: It’s important to start testing activities at the early stages of the software development lifecycle. Finding and fixing bugs at initial phases increases the possibility of an end-product that’s of top-quality.
Defect Clustering: This principle states the majority of the defects in software arise due to its multiple modules or components. Pareto principle of testing also says that 80 percent of bugs in software reside inside 20 percent of its modules.
Pesticide Paradox: it's important to regularly review and revise test cases used in manual and automated testing to find new bugs and make them effective, instead of performing the same tests again and again.
Testing Depends upon Context: Software or application testing methods used relies on the context of the system being developed. For instance, testing tools or methods applied for ecommerce sites will be completely different from the way to test a critical healthcare application.
Absence of Error-fallacy: Making a software 99% bug-free still doesn't guarantee the fulfillment of user requirements. Hence, it's important to fulfill all user demands to make the end product useful.
Now that we’ve covered the basics of software and application testing, let's move ahead and look at the lifecycle of software testing:
STLC stands for software testing life cycle. It refers to a series of activities that are performed by the testing team to ensure development of a high-quality, bug-free product.
In other words, STLC denotes activities that are carried out to perform software testing. Contrary to popular belief, software testing is not just an individual activity, i.e., testing. It has multiple activities that are undertaken logically to verify and validate a product.
STLC also provides a blueprint for when to carry out each activity and what to accomplish as part of that activity. Each activity is carried out in a planned manner with different goals and deliverables.
The different phases of software testing life cycle are as follows:
It is the first step involved in the testing life cycle, In this phase, the quality assurance (QA) team tries to study the user requirements from a testing point of view to trace testable requirements. Things like what needs to be tested and how it will be tested are analyzed here.
It's the important phase of STLC for every software testing and quality assurance company. In this phase, the cost and efforts required to finish the entire project are determined. Testing goals and objectives are also established.
Once the test strategy is set, the QA team starts writing detailed test cases in this phase. Test data is also prepared. After test cases are ready, it's reviewed by peer members or QA lead.
A test environment refers to the combination of software, hardware, and network configuration that is used to execute test cases. It’s an important part of STLC.
The next phase of STLC is Test Execution. Here the test cases are implemented to analyze differences b/w actual and expected results. Test scripts are executed based on the test strategy set at the start of the project.
In this final phase of STLC, software testers conduct meetings to evaluate the cycle completion criteria based on the test coverage, software quality, cost, time, and crucial business objectives.
After navigating through different STLC phases, you might have obtained a clear understanding of how software verification and validation is done by any QA and software testing company.
Manual Testing: it is the most common form of Software Testing where QA teams write and execute test cases manually without the assistance of any automation tools. The application is examined manually to verify all the features specified in the required documents. Tests need to be performed in every environment with different data sets. Such type of testing requires extensive knowledge, logical skills, creativity, and intuition. For more details on manual testing, visit the link.
Automation testing primarily relies on automation tools to identify bugs in software. Test scripts are executed and results are recorded using automation testing tools like Selenium, QTP, etc. It speeds up the testing process, reduces manual efforts, and boosts team productivity.
There are primarily three types of software testing approaches:
White Box Testing: It is also known as Clear Box Testing or Open Box Testing or Glass Box testing or Structural Testing. In white-box testing, the internal code structure and design are examined by the tester, instead of focusing on how the application looks or functions. (unit, integration, system)
Black Box Testing: In black-box testing, the analogy of viewing software or application as a BlackBox is applied. This simply means the application will be viewed from outside by analyzing its behavior without focusing on its internal design/structure. Identifying errors like User interface issues, performance bottlenecks, etc. is the main focus here.
Grey Box Testing: It is a combination of both Black Box and White Box Testing. The QA team focuses on adopting a mixed approach for writing better test cases. Access to software design documents is crucial during grey box testing.
Software testing is carried out during different phases of the software development life cycle which includes various levels of testing like:
Unit Testing: It is executed to verify individual modules of software are working alright. Each unit or module of the application is tested separately by software testing teams in the development environment.
Integration Testing: It refers to the testing approach where connectivity and data exchange b/w separate modules or components of software are examined. It is further divided into a Top-Down, Bottom-Up, and Sandwich Approach.
System Testing: It is a part of black-box testing. A fully-integrated application is tested here, which is also known as scenario testing. Here the testing team ensures the application is running expectedly on supported platforms.
Acceptance Testing: This testing strategy focuses on getting customer approvals faster by examining an application from the user’s point of view. Alpha, Beta, and Gamma testing are sub-categories here.
Functional testing: Functional testing verifies every function or module of an application or software. QA and testing company verify software functionality as per the specified requirements. Application code doesn't matter much here - as it is a type of black-box testing- checking system behavior is more important.
Non-Functional Testing: Testing system performance is the main focus of non-functional testing. Software testers assess the application of various aspects like performance, stress, load, security, scalability, etc. to improve user experience.
There are tons of testing tools available in the market today. Identifying which one suits your projects the best is becoming difficult. To solve this complexity, a handful of popular, well-known, and industry-certified software testing tools are listed below under the following categories:
Selenium is one of the most popular web application testing tools. You can check cross-browser compatibility, run parallel test scripts that are highly complex with ease using open-source tools. It supports most of the popular programming languages, browsers, and platforms (Window, Mac, and Linux).
This is a popular open-source testing tool, used to automate web application testing. This ruby of rails library powered testing tool supports most of the applications written in languages like C#, Java, Python, and more. It’s extremely lightweight, easy to use, and syncs easily with your project databases.
eggPlant is a popular automation tool that is used for both GUI testing and application testing, It is available in two variants: eggPlant Functional and eggOn. eggPlant uses an image-based approach, unlike the object-based approach used by most test automation tools.
Appium is a widely used, open-source mobile test automation tool. It is used to test all native, hybrid, and mobile web apps based on Android and iOS. It's a great choice for mobile app testing as it supports almost all different app/web types and is fully customizable too.
This is an open-source, Java automation tool used for load testing and functional testing of different software. Functional behavior and performance of web applications and a variety of services can be analyzed in stress conditions like server overload, concurrent user traffic, and more. using this Apache tool.
It is the best cross-browser testing tool for both desktop and mobile applications. You can perform automated and manual cross-browser testing in languages like Python, Java, Go, and more. Testing duration gets reduced to half with this tool which also offers features like geo-blocking, geo-targeting, etc.
This is a popular project management and agile testing tool, developed by Atlassian. It is actively used for defects tracking, planning, report generation, and managing most of the agile software development processes.
This agile testing tool made by SmartBear company is used for functional testing of web services like web services invoking, web service development, etc. It’s free, open-source, and can be used during agile development.
This is a modern-day, cloud-based test management tool to track, manage, and coordinate your testing efforts. It integrates seamlessly with other popular tools like JIRA, Selenium, etc.
It's a popular test management tool in QA and software testing services companies. It has the ability to execute both manual and automated scripts. Integration with popular testing platforms like JIRA, Jenkins, etc. is available too.
A test case can be simply understood as a set of instructions that are executed by a QA to confirm the functionality of a software application. It basically includes a set of preconditions (input/action), postconditions (expected results), test data, and test steps that are required for a specific test scenario to verify any requirements.
A test can have one or multiple test scripts. When you use a collection of test cases, it is known as a test suite.
Before writing your first test case, it's important to gather comprehensive knowledge about test case parameters, test scenarios, test case design techniques, and test management tools.
As a tester, one needs to also translate manual test cases into automation scripts and how to select correct test cases for automation testing.
To get in-depth knowledge about how to write test cases with practical examples, visit the link here.
The primary objective of software development is to build a high-quality product that’s bug-free and satisfies the end-user and business requirements. Both QA and software testing are applied to ensure a high level of software quality. Due to a high degree of interrelation, both these terms are often used interchangeably across development companies, but in reality, there exist significant differences.
Essentiality refers to a set of activities that are carried out to ensure the end product fulfills all its stated specifications like SRS, BRS, and FRS. The focus of QA is to ensure all the activities, techniques, methods, and approaches designed for projects get implemented correctly.
Unlike QA, quality control is product oriented. It is the function of software quality where the focus is to ensure a result that is expected. While QA is proactive (tracking bugs at first and finding ways that they don't appear again), QC is reactive. It focuses on checking a product against preset requirements and confirming that the product meets those needs.
Is a subset of QC. It is the process of exploring defects or bugs in software. Various testing methods are applied to locate bugs and check if they can be fixed. It is usually a product-oriented and time-limited process, and comes under the sphere of QA.
Overall, you can think of this arrangement as a product assembly line. QA ensures all the process is an assembly line works correctly, while QC checks products coming off from the assembly line are designed as per the given requirements and quality level. Lastly, testing verifies the labeling given to a product build as per specification is correct.
|Aspect||Quality Assurance (QA)||Quality Control (QC)||Testing|
|Definition||It includes activities that ensure the implementation of process, activities, and standards to build quality software as per intended requirements||Activities that validate software is built as per documented specifications.||Activities that detect the presence of bugs/error/defect in the software|
|Focus Areas||It focuses on processes and procedures that are followed for development and testing instead of actual testing of a system||It focuses on actual testing of the system in an attempt to identify bugs, errors, or defects.||It focuses on actual system/application testing|
|Activity Type||Process-oriented||Product-oriented||Product Oriented|
|Subset||It is a subset of software testing life cycle (STLC)||It is integral part of Quality Assurance (QA)||It falls under the Quality Control (QC)|
Manual vs.automated testing is often a popular query thrown by the nascent software testers. As we’ve already covered topics: what is manual testing, what is automation testing? Let’s jump right into the differences:
The primary difference between manual testing and automation testing lies in the implementation of the test case. In manual testing, test cases are written and executed by QA teams. Whereas, in the case of automation testing, tools like Selenium are used.
In manual testing, the functionality of key features of the software is validated by the human testers. They keep executing test cases and create error reports without the use of any specialized test automation tools.
On other hand, automation testing speeds up test execution and test coverage for QA teams. It's more efficient, time-saving, and easier.
Here’s a quick comparison table of the differences between manual vs. automation testing
|Testing Aspects||Manual Testing||Automation Testing|
|Test Execution||Manually by the QA team||Automatically using automation tool and scripts|
|Task Type||Most tasks are done manually||Mostly automated with real-time simulations|
|Test Coverage||Lesser coverage||Higher coverage|
Despite automation testing offering more benefits in areas like test coverage, execution speed, and resource utilization, it cannot replace manual testing. Handling complex test cases, requiring human intelligence and undivided attention is still not possible using automation tools.
The next-evolution in test automation is continuous testing. It is a modern-day testing approach. In case of continuous testing vs test automation, the difference lies in product turnaround time. Test automation improves upon the capabilities of manual testing, but continuous testing takes it to the ultimate finish line. In agile development, it protects your brand reputation and improves user experience - without sacrificing delivery. By implementing continuous testing, you reap benefits like:
Companies struggle to choose the right option when it comes to in-house vs. outsourced testing. Most enterprise software development companies prefer hiring in-house quality assurance and software testing teams. But, when it comes to startups and medium-scale businesses, they struggle to identify the right option.
Let's discuss the benefits of each approach before revealing which one you should pick for your business:
Firstly, if we discuss managed software testing services, you get access to a global, talented pool of software testers, which are often missing inside your office. Varying testing skill sets and lack of in-house bias by freelance testers enhance your testing processes. It is also cost-effective and time-saving, allowing you to focus on core business. The drawbacks of outsourcing testing are lack of operational control, cultural barriers, and security concerns.
In case of in-house testing, communication with QA teams becomes much better as all activities are performed inside the firm. Frequent collaboration, engagement, and alignment with business objectives provide better testing results. Chances of breach of sensitive project data and company information become less. But, hiring in-house testing teams is time and resource-intensive. Also, the lack of expert testing resources can bring down success rates in complex projects.
The decision to choose between in-house and outsourced testing teams should be taken as per your company-specific situation.
It's impossible to deliver such an algorithm that helps you decide what's the right approach for your business (yes, AI fails too sometimes). It's possible you might need to use both approaches in projects with varying degrees of complexity. So, make your decision after analyzing the pros and cons of both approaches, as well as their impact on your internal project teams.
The decision to choose the QA and software testing services company should be taken carefully as it can affect the outcome of your project. When you choose the right testing partner, it's highly likely that you end up building software of the highest quality with minimum errors.
Hope you have gained comprehensive knowledge about software testing and quality assurance and its importance in product development from this detailed guide. If you’re looking to work with an experienced QA and software testing company, then team up with A3logics. Our quality assurance teams have a decade long experience in delivering proven testing services to clients across industries. Drop us a line to know more about how we can help you build a quality software solution.