Software testing is an investigation conducted to provide stakeholders with information about the quality of the product or service under test. Software testing also provides an objective, independent view of the software to allow the business to appreciate and understand the risks of software implementation. Test techniques include, but are not limited to, the process of executing a program or application with the intent of finding software bugs. Software testing can also be stated as the process of validating and verifying that a software program/application/product meets the business and technical requirements that guided its design and development and works as expected and can be implemented with the same characteristics. Software testing, depending on the testing method employed, can be implemented at any time in the development process. However, most of the test effort occurs after the requirements have been defined and the coding process has been completed. As such, the methodology of the test is governed by the software development methodology adopted. Different software development models will focus the test effort at different points in the development process. Newer development models, such as Agile, often employ test driven development and place an increased portion of the testing in the hands of the developer, before it reaches a formal team of testers. In a more traditional model, most of the test execution occurs after the requirements have been defined and the coding process has been completed.
At Felagi we test all our development firmly according to the scenarios below. However, not all of them applies for all types of solutions. Testing is allways done based on a test plan and executed either by our own QA team or an external QA team brought in by the customer.
Software testing methods are traditionally divided into white- and black-box testing. These two approaches are used to describe the point of view that a test engineer takes when designing test cases.
White box testing: White box testing is when the tester has access to the internal data structures and algorithms including the code that implement these.
Black box testing: Black box testing treats the software as a "black box"—without any knowledge of internal implementation. Black box testing methods include: equivalence partitioning, boundary value analysis, all-pairs testing, fuzz testing, model-based testing, exploratory testing and specification-based testing.
Grey box testing: Grey box testing is the combination of black box testing and white box testing. Grey box testing (American spelling: gray box testing) involves having knowledge of internal data structures and algorithms for purposes of designing the test cases, but testing at the user, or black-box level. Manipulating input data and formatting output do not qualify as grey box, because the input and output are clearly outside of the "black-box" that we are calling the system under test. This distinction is particularly important when conducting integration testing between two modules of code written by two different developers, where only the interfaces are exposed for test. However, modifying a data repository does qualify as grey box, as the user would not normally be able to change the data outside of the system under test. Grey box testing may also include reverse engineering to determine, for instance, boundary values or error messages.
Tests are frequently grouped by where they are added in the software development process, or by the level of specificity of the test.
Unit testing: Unit testing refers to tests that verify the functionality of a specific section of code, usually at the function level. In an object-oriented environment, this is usually at the class level, and the minimal unit tests include the constructors and destructors. These type of tests are usually written by developers as they work on code (white-box style), to ensure that the specific function is working as expected. One function might have multiple tests, to catch corner cases or other branches in the code. Unit testing alone cannot verify the functionality of a piece of software, but rather is used to assure that the building blocks the software uses work independently of each other. Unit testing is also called component testing.
Integration testing: Integration testing is any type of software testing that seeks to verify the interfaces between components against a software design. Software components may be integrated in an iterative way or all together ("big bang"). Normally the former is considered a better practice since it allows interface issues to be localised more quickly and fixed. Integration testing works to expose defects in the interfaces and interaction between integrated components (modules). Progressively larger groups of tested software components corresponding to elements of the architectural design are integrated and tested until the software works as a system.
System testing: System testing tests a completely integrated system to verify that it meets its requirements.
System integration testing: System integration testing verifies that a system is integrated to any external or third-party systems defined in the system requirements.
Regression testing: Regression testing focuses on finding defects after a major code change has occurred. Specifically, it seeks to uncover software regressions, or old bugs that have come back. Such regressions occur whenever software functionality that was previously working correctly stops working as intended. Typically, regressions occur as an unintended consequence of program changes, when the newly developed part of the software collides with the previously existing code. Common methods of regression testing include re-running previously run tests and checking whether previously fixed faults have re-emerged. The depth of testing depends on the phase in the release process and the risk of the added features. They can either be complete, for changes added late in the release or deemed to be risky, to very shallow, consisting of positive tests on each feature, if the changes are early in the release or deemed to be of low risk.
Acceptance testing: Acceptance testing can mean one of two things: A smoke test is used as an acceptance test prior to introducing a new build to the main testing process, i.e. before integration or regression. Acceptance testing performed by the customer, often in their lab environment on their own hardware, is known as user acceptance testing (UAT). Acceptance testing may be performed as part of the hand-off process between any two phases of development.
Beta testing: Alpha testing is simulated or actual operational testing by potential users/customers or an independent test team at the developers' site. Alpha testing is often employed for off-the-shelf software as a form of internal acceptance testing, before the software goes to beta testing.
Beta testing: Beta testing comes after alpha testing and can be considered a form of external user acceptance testing. Versions of the software, known as beta versions, are released to a limited audience outside of the programming team. The software is released to groups of people so that further testing can ensure the product has few faults or bugs. Sometimes, beta versions are made available to the open public to increase the feedback field to a maximal number of future users.
Special methods exist to test non-functional aspects of software. In contrast to functional testing, which establishes the correct operation of the software (correct in that it matches the expected behavior defined in the design requirements), non-functional testing verifies that the software functions properly even when it receives invalid or unexpected inputs. Software fault injection, in the form of fuzzing, is an example of non-functional testing. Non-functional testing, especially for software, is designed to establish whether the device under test can tolerate invalid or unexpected inputs, thereby establishing the robustness of input validation routines as well as error-handling routines. Various commercial non-functional testing tools are linked from the software fault injection page; there are also numerous open-source and free software tools available that perform non-functional testing.
Software performance testing and load testing: Performance testing is executed to determine how fast a system or sub-system performs under a particular workload. It can also serve to validate and verify other quality attributes of the system, such as scalability, reliability and resource usage. Load testing is primarily concerned with testing that can continue to operate under a specific load, whether that be large quantities of data or a large number of users. This is generally referred to as software scalability. The related load testing activity of when performed as a non-functional activity is often referred to as endurance testing. Volume testing is a way to test functionality. Stress testing is a way to test reliability. Load testing is a way to test performance. There is little agreement on what the specific goals of load testing are. The terms load testing, performance testing, reliability testing, and volume testing, are often used interchangeably.
Stability testing: Stability testing checks to see if the software can continuously function well in or above an acceptable period. This activity of non-functional software testing is often referred to as load (or endurance) testing.
Usability testing: Usability testing is needed to check if the user interface is easy to use and understand.It approach towards the use of the application.
Security testing: Security testing is essential for software that processes confidential data to prevent system intrusion by hackers.
Internationalization and localization: The general ability of software to be internationalized and localized can be automatically tested without actual translation, by using pseudolocalization. It will verify that the application still works, even after it has been translated into a new language or adapted for a new culture (such as different currencies or time zones).
Destructive testing: Destructive testing attempts to cause the software or a sub-system to fail, in order to test its robustness.
Traditional CMMI or waterfall development model: A common practice of software testing is that testing is performed by an independent group of testers after the functionality is developed, before it is shipped to the customer. This practice often results in the testing phase being used as a project buffer to compensate for project delays, thereby compromising the time devoted to testing. Another practice is to start software testing at the same moment the project starts and it is a continuous process until the project finishes.
Agile or Extreme development model: In counterpoint, some emerging software disciplines such as extreme programming and the agile software development movement, adhere to a "test-driven software development" model. In this process, unit tests are written first, by the software engineers (often with pair programming in the extreme programming methodology). Of course these tests fail initially; as they are expected to. Then as code is written it passes incrementally larger portions of the test suites. The test suites are continuously updated as new failure conditions and corner cases are discovered, and they are integrated with any regression tests that are developed. Unit tests are maintained along with the rest of the software source code and generally integrated into the build process (with inherently interactive tests being relegated to a partially manual build acceptance process). The ultimate goal of this test process is to achieve continuous deployment where software updates can be published to the public frequently.
Although variations exist between organizations, there is a typical cycle for testing. The sample below is common among organizations employing the Waterfall development model.
Requirements analysis: Testing should begin in the requirements phase of the software development life cycle. During the design phase, testers work with developers in determining what aspects of a design are testable and with what parameters those tests work.
Test planning: Test strategy, test plan, testbed creation. Since many activities will be carried out during testing, a plan is needed.
Test development: Test procedures, test scenarios, test cases, test datasets, test scripts to use in testing software.
Test execution: Testers execute the software based on the plans and test documents then report any errors found to the development team.
Test reporting: Once testing is completed, testers generate metrics and make final reports on their test effort and whether or not the software tested is ready for release.
Test result analysis: Or Defect Analysis, is done by the development team usually along with the client, in order to decide what defects should be treated, fixed, rejected (i.e. found software working properly) or deferred to be dealt with later.
Defect Retesting: Once a defect has been dealt with by the development team, it is retested by the testing team. AKA Resolution testing.
Regression testing: It is common to have a small test program built of a subset of tests, for each integration of new, modified, or fixed software, in order to ensure that the latest delivery has not ruined anything, and that the software product as a whole is still working correctly.
Test Closure: Once the test meets the exit criteria, the activities such as capturing the key outputs, lessons learned, results, logs, documents related to the project are archived and used as a reference for future projects.
Many programming groups are relying more and more on automated testing, especially groups that use test-driven development. There are many frameworks to write tests in, and continuous integration software will run tests automatically every time code is checked into a version control system. While automation cannot reproduce everything that a human can do (and all the ways they think of doing it), it can be very useful for regression testing. However, it does require a well-developed test suite of testing scripts in order to be truly useful.
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