Understanding Software Testing

Test suite

Test suite

The most common term for a collection of test cases is a test suite. The test suite often also contains more detailed instructions or goals for each collection of test cases. It definitely contains a section where the tester identifies the system configuration used during testing. A group of test cases may also contain prerequisite states or steps, and descriptions of the following tests.

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Test case

Test case

A test case in software engineering normally consists of a unique identifier, requirement references from a design specification, preconditions, events, a series of steps (also known as actions) to follow, input, output, expected result, and actual result. Clinically defined a test case is an input and an expected result. This can be as pragmatic as 'for condition x your derived result is y', whereas other test cases described in more detail the input scenario and what results might be expected. It can occasionally be a series of steps (but often steps are contained in a separate test procedure that can be exercised against multiple test cases, as a matter of economy) but with one expected result or expected outcome. The optional fields are a test case ID, test step or order of execution number, related requirement(s), depth, test category, author, and check boxes for whether the test is automatable and has been automated. Larger test cases may also contain prerequisite states or steps, and descriptions. A test case should also contain a place for the actual result. These steps can be stored in a word processor document, spreadsheet, database, or other common repository. In a database system, you may also be able to see past test results and who generated the results and the system configuration used to generate those results. These past results would usually be stored in a separate table.

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Manual testing

Manual testing

Manual testing is the oldest and most rigorous type of software testing. Manual testing requires a tester to perform manual test operations on the test software without the help of Test automation. Manual testing is a laborious activity that requires the tester to possess a certain set of qualities; to be patient, observant, speculative, creative, innovative, open-minded, resourceful, unopinionated, and skillful.

Repetitive manual testing can be difficult to perform on large software applications or applications having very large dataset coverage. This drawback is compensated for by using manual black-box testing techniques including equivalence partitioning and boundary value analysis. Using which, the vast dataset specifications can be divided and converted into a more manageable and achievable set of test suites.

There is no complete substitute for manual testing. Manual testing is crucial for testing software applications more thoroughly.

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Test automation

Test automation

Test automation is the use of software to control the execution of tests, the comparison of actual outcomes to predicted outcomes, the setting up of test preconditions, and other test control and test reporting functions. Commonly, test automation involves automating a manual process already in place that uses a formalized testing process.

Another important aspect of test automation is the idea of partial test automation, or automating parts but not all of the software testing process. If, for example, an oracle cannot reasonably be created, or if fully automated tests would be too difficult to maintain, then a software tools engineer can instead create testing tools to help human testers perform their jobs more efficiently. Testing tools can help automate tasks such as product installation, test data creation, GUI interaction, problem detection (consider parsing or polling agents equipped with oracles), defect logging, etc., without necessarily automating tests in an end-to-end fashion.

Test automation is expensive and it is an addition, not a replacement, to manual testing. It can be made cost-effective in the longer term though, especially in regression testing. One way to generate test cases automatically is model-based testing where a model of the system is used for test case generation, but research continues into a variety of methodologies for doing so.

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Unit test

Unit test

In computer programming, unit testing is a method of testing that verifies the individual units of source code are working properly. A unit is the smallest testable part of an application. In procedural programming a unit may be an individual program, function, procedure, etc., while in object-oriented programming, the smallest unit is a method, which may belong to a base/super class, abstract class or derived/child class.

Ideally, each test case is independent from the others; Double objects like stubs, mock or fake objects as well as test harnesses can be used to assist testing a module in isolation. Unit testing is typically done by software developers to ensure that the code they have written meets software requirements and behaves as the developer intended.

The goal of unit testing is to isolate each part of the program and show that the individual parts are correct. A unit test provides a strict, written contract that the piece of code must satisfy. As a result, it affords several benefits. Unit tests find problems early in the development cycle.

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Test-driven Develpment

Test-driven Develpment

Test-Driven Development (TDD) is a software development technique consisting of short iterations where new test cases covering the desired improvement or new functionality are written first, then the production code necessary to pass the tests is implemented, and finally the software is refactored to accommodate changes. The availability of tests before actual development ensures rapid feedback after any change. Practitioners emphasize that test-driven development is a method of designing software, not merely a method of testing.

Test-Driven Development is related to the test-first programming concepts of Extreme Programming, begun in the late 20th century, but more recently is creating more general interest in its own right.

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Load testing

Load testing

Load testing generally refers to the practice of modeling the expected usage of a software program by simulating multiple users accessing the program's services concurrently. As such, this testing is most relevant for multi-user systems, often one built using a client/server model, such as web servers. However, other types of software systems can be load-tested also. For example, a word processor or graphics editor can be forced to read an extremely large document; or a financial package can be forced to generate a report based on several years' worth of data. The most accurate load testing occurs with actual, rather than theoretical, results.

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Stress testing

Stress testing

Stress testing is a form of testing that is used to determine the stability of a given system or entity. It involves testing beyond normal operational capacity, often to a breaking point, in order to observe the results.

In software testing, stress testing often refers to tests that put a greater emphasis on robustness, availability, and error handling under a heavy load, rather than on what would be considered correct behavior under normal circumstances. In particular, the goals of such tests may be to ensure the software doesn't crash in conditions of insufficient computational resources (such as memory or disk space), unusually high concurrency, or denial of service attacks.

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Beta testing

Beta testing

Beta testing comes after alpha 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.

The users of a beta version are called beta testers. They are usually customers or prospective customers of the organization that develops the software. They receive the software for free or for a reduced price, but act as free testers.

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