Software is essential to many systems and devices used in the modern world. It controls the performance of networks, the web, and other technologies. Because of its sheer importance, developers make sure that their software is tested effectively and thoroughly before they are rolled out to the public.
What is Software Testing?
Software testing refers to the activities performed by a developer to ensure that software works as it should. It is done to guarantee that there are little to no bugs or defects. These bugs and flaws within the system typically occur when the system is poorly-coded or when errors in the code could not be intercepted, yielding unexpected results.
Why Should We Test Software
No matter how hard we try, software cannot be created without bugs and errors. This is especially true when the software is to be delivered within a short amount of time. That is basically where software testing comes into play.
Basically, all pieces of software are created with a purpose – some more important than most. Because of this, malfunctioning software can result in severe losses of money and in extreme cases, human life:
- Airports and Airlines – No pilots for the holidays. American Airlines nearly missed fifteen thousand flights due to a glitch in their scheduling software. Because of the glitch, they mistakenly informed many of their pilots to take a week off for Christmas.
- Fiat Chrysler – Threatening life recall. On May 2017, a mistake in the software code caused Fiat Chrysler to take back over 5.3 million trucks. The trucks had temporarily disabled airbags and seatbelt functionality.
- Suncorp Bank – Vanishing Cash. After an upgrade to the Suncorp Bank's software, customers reported problems with their accounts. Some accounts lost money, some locked out their owners, and others have been withdrawn out.
The Principles of Testing
There are principles that govern testing such as the following:
- When testing the software, make sure that it can always be traced back to the requirements given by the user.
- The testing activities should include a third party.
- It is impossible to test the software exhaustively. Instead, the testing should be performed based on a risk assessment.
- All testing activities should always be planned before it is performed.
- Testing should follow the Pareto Rule. The rule states that 80% of the errors come from 20% of the components of the program.
- Begin with testing the small parts before moving on to the larger parts.
Software Testing Basic Steps
Software testing is performed as follows:
- Think of scenarios or test cases of all the things a user can do with the software that you have designed.
- List the possible inputs of the end user per case as well as the expected outputs.
- Run the software and use all the possible inputs.
- Prepare a report detailing what had happened during the test activities.
Basic Approaches to Software Testing
There are two basic approaches to software testing: black box testing and white box testing.
- The Black Box Testing
The black box testing focuses more on the output based on the tests done. It ignores the internal workings of the software. This approach is for validating user requirements.
- White Box Testing
The white box testing treats the internal mechanics of the software as important. In comparison to the black box testing, this approach is for verifying that the software behaves the way that it should.
What Types of Software Testing Exist
There are many types of testing that can be used for different development processes. The common ones are as follows:
Unit Testing refers to the testing of only a small part of the software. This is to check if the unit will have the expected output with the input given.
Integration testing is the opposite of unit testing. It tests a group of combined components to produce output instead of testing a single unit. In other cases, it checks the interaction between related software and hardware components.
Functional testing ensures that the software performs according to its specified functionality.
System testing places software in different environments like Operating Systems or Browsers. It will check if it can still work no matter where it is tested.
Stress Testing evaluates how the software would behave under unfavorable conditions. It checks if the software can still carry on as usual.
Performance Testing checks the effectiveness and speed of the software. It makes sure that the software generates the expected output within a specific time.
Usability Testing focuses on how the software addresses the user’s needs. It’s more than just user-friendliness and ease of use. It’s more on how well suited is the software to the needs of the end user.
Acceptance Testing deals with user requirements. The user will check if the software works as they intended it to.
Regression Testing is for when software updates. This is to see if the software still performs like before despite the new updates/changes.
Beta Testing is the tasks of the users or beta testers. It helps the main testers to discover unexpected errors that they did not notice earlier.
Each of the software testing types falls on the two basic approaches as seen on the table below:
How to Implement Software Testing In the Development Process
Software Testing goes through stages as well. To ensure that it succeeds, one should do the following:
1. Plan the testing process.
The testers should ensure that test processes are well planned, defined, and documented. This will help them to be able to know the kind of tests they need to perform and how it should be performed. It will also help the testers to communicate bugs or defects with the developers easily.
2. Ensure a suitable work environment for the testers.
The testers should be involved with the development process as early as possible. This will let them have an idea of how the software works. If they know, they would have a clear image of how to plan their activities and know how to communicate them well.
3. Always have code quality metrics.
The quality of the software is always documented, tracked, reviewed, and measured. Create metrics to give a clear definition of how the software should be measured when it comes to quality. These metrics should be easy and simple enough to follow.
4. Report bugs as early as possible.
Defects or bugs are a serious problem so as early as possible report one when spotted. Reporting early will make the development process easier and effective. It will also minimize potential risks in the future.