Basic types of software tests - Edge1S

Basic types of software tests

Each software, regardless of its complexity and functionality, must be properly tested before being released to the market. Thoroughly conducted tests allow you to detect possible errors in operation, stability or performance of given functions. However, the software testing process goes significantly beyond this range of applications. Software testing is crucial throughout the entire software life cycle – from its production and implementation, through maintenance and development, to withdrawal from the market.

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Key types of software testing: overview and application

Software testing is a key element in the process of creating high-quality software. They help identify problems at an early stage, which in turn translates into reduced repair costs and increased customer confidence in the product. Software testing is an iterative process that requires consideration of many aspects such as functionality, performance, security and usability. In this material we present basic information about software testing.   

Introduction to software testing

Software testing was introduced due to the need to ensure high quality of the created software while minimizing the risk of errors in the final product. Software testing has become increasingly important over recent years due to the significant increase in software complexity. For complex projects, the cost of fixing bugs in the later phases of software development is much more expensive than implementing a software testing process.

Many modern software delivery organizations have recognized the need to bring high-quality software to the market. Poorly developed applications with errors, bugs and stability problems can lead to the loss of customers, the organization’s reputation and costly and time-consuming failures. The introduction of quality standards by the European Union, such as the ISO 9000 standard, has encouraged organizations to implement software testing processes as an integral part of the production process. Also, the increased awareness of consumers who expect increasingly higher quality software has forced companies to invest in software testing to meet customer requirements.

Increasingly, software supported by artificial intelligence and machine learning is responsible for automatic critical decision-making. Accidents, failures and problems resulting from software errors in embedded systems, including the firmware of cars, construction machines and security systems in aircraft, have forced an increase in awareness of the importance of software testing.

All these factors together have led to the development of the field of software testing as a key process in creating and maintaining software quality. Today, testing is an essential part of the software lifecycle, helping to ensure that products delivered to market are reliable, secure, and in line with user expectations.

The text below presents the most popular and universal types of software tests that are currently used. The FAQ section contains answers to the most popular questions related to software testing.

Unit tests: what are they and why are they important?

Unit testing is the basic and one of the most common types of software testing. As the name suggests, they focus on examining individual software elements/components or code units – functions, methods or classes. The purpose of unit testing is to check whether small software elements that are tested work properly in isolation from other program/application elements.

Unit tests are performed by programmers at an early stage of the software development process and have a number of advantages, including:

Early error detection – Unit testing allows developers to quickly detect and fix errors early in the code development, which reduces the cost of repairs later in the project.

Isolation of problems – By focusing on individual units of code, unit testing makes it easier to identify which specific parts of the software contain errors.

Checking source code integrity – Unit tests make sure that changes made to the code have not negatively impacted existing features.

Can be part of documentation – Well-written unit tests are also a type of code documentation.

CI/CD support – Unit testing is an important part of continuous integration and delivery (CI/CD) practices. Automating these tests (more on this later) allows you to quickly check the quality of the code with each change.

Unit testing helps identify and solve problems at an early stage, saving time, money and increasing confidence in the final product.

Integration tests: how to check the interoperability of components?

Another type of popular testing is integration testing. Unlike unit tests, they do not focus on a specific piece of software. Integration testing is used to test the interoperability of various components or modules within a larger system. They check how individual elements of the software source code work together and whether they are fully compatible with each other to provide a given functionality.

Integration tests are performed to:

Verify interactions – They allow you to quickly check whether individual software components work together.

Identify inconsistencies – When integrating components, inconsistencies can often arise that are difficult to detect at the level of individual units. Integration testing helps detect such incompatibilities and problems.

Avoid problems in the production environment – integration tests help prevent errors in the production environment that could potentially cause problems for software/application users.

Increase the stability of the system – integration tests are also used to identify minor source code compatibility problems that affect the stability of the software.

Optimize performance – Integration testing allows you to identify potential performance issues and helps optimize interactions between components.

Minimize regression – Integration of new components or changes to existing ones may cause regression, i.e. the return of previously fixed errors. Integration testing helps prevent regression by detecting possible errors.

Integration testing is an essential step in the software testing process that helps ensure that individual components work harmoniously as a cohesive system. Their implementation contributes to the delivery of stable, efficient and reliable software.

System testing: testing the overall operation of the application

System testing focuses on thoroughly testing the entire system or application as a coherent whole. They are intended to confirm that the product meets specific business and technical requirements. These tests are performed after unit and integration testing is completed and before the product or application is deployed.

During system testing:

The full functionality of the solution is checked – System tests cover all functions, modules and components of the system, including various usage scenarios and interactions between them, checking the functioning of the system in real scenarios.

Test environment is close to production conditions – System tests are performed in an environment as close as possible to the target production environment. This helps identify potential configuration, scalability and performance issues.

Compliance with business requirements is checked – System tests are carried out in such a way as to assess whether the system meets the assumed business requirements.

Compatibility with end devices is tested – System tests verify whether the system works properly on various platforms, operating systems, browsers and other technological elements.

Compliance with legal regulations is verified – If the system (e.g. a banking application) is subject to regulations or industry standards, system tests check whether the system meets these requirements.

The quality of the software is checked before it is implemented in the production environment -System tests are carried out before the product is implemented to ensure that the system is ready for use and meets the expectations of customers and users.

System testing is an important step in the software quality assurance process that ensures that the system performs as intended and expected, both functionally and non-functionally.

Acceptance testing: does the software meet user expectations?

Acceptance testing is a type of software testing that aims to confirm whether the software meets specific user requirements and expectations and whether it is ready for implementation and use by the customer. These tests are performed after system, integration, and unit testing is completed and before final deployment of the product or application for end use.

Acceptance testing takes place at a key moment in project development – very close to the moment of confirming that business requirements are met and the ready solution is delivered. The characteristics of acceptance tests allow you to obtain confirmation or denial of whether the tested solution meets the requirements.

During acceptance testing:

Finally, compliance with business requirements is confirmed – acceptance tests confirm whether the software meets specific business, functional and non-functional requirements.

The quality of the solution is verified – acceptance tests allow you to check whether the software is sufficiently stable, efficient and useful for users.

Typical usage scenarios are examined – acceptance scenarios simulate real usage scenarios to confirm that the system is working as users expect.

Effects of work are consulted with the client – acceptance tests may require active cooperation with the client or end users to ensure that the software meets their expectations.

Acceptance tests take place at a key moment in software development, allowing you to assess whether it is ready for production implementation. At this point, tests are also carried out by the client and verification of compliance with the business assumptions established before the project implementation begins.

Load Testing: How efficient is your software?

Load testing, unlike unit, integration, system and acceptance tests, does not focus on finding errors in software logic. Their mission is to thoroughly test and evaluate the performance, stability, and scalability of a system or application under load conditions that exceed the typical or maximum number of users, transactions, or operations. The purpose of these tests is to identify potential performance issues and find the limits of the system when operating under heavy load.

Load tests are performed to: 

Identify bottlenecks – these allow you to identify which parts of the system or components exhibit problems when operating under load.

Optimize resources – indicate whether the system is optimized in terms of the use of resources such as memory, processor or network bandwidth.

Examine scalability – They show how the system scales as the load increases, i.e. whether adding resources allows for maintaining performance.

Determine system limits – They help determine the maximum load the system can handle and identify when it begins to lose performance. 

Prevent failures – thanks to their implementation, it is possible to identify potential problems and errors that may only appear during heavy load, which allows them to be repaired before being put into production.

Usability testing: is your software intuitive for the user?

Usability testing is a type of testing that does not focus on the software, but on the users who will use it. They allow you to assess how users may use a given product or application and identify potential user interface problems. The purpose of usability testing is to ensure that the software is intuitive, convenient to use and meets user expectations.

During usability testing:

The quality of the user interface is assessed – These tests focus on assessing the interaction between the user and the software interface, including navigation, layout, icons, buttons, and other interface elements.

User feedback is collected – Users are asked to complete real-world tasks that reflect typical usage scenarios to see how easily and efficiently they can navigate the app.

User satisfaction levels are measured – Usability testing allows you to assess whether users are satisfied with the interface and overall usability of the software.

Thanks to usability testing, you can be sure and confirm that the interface is easy to use, intuitive and meets user expectations. The suitability of the software is also verified in terms of usability and the functions used in it.

Test automation: Speeding up the testing process

Test automation is the process of using special tools, scripts and software to automatically perform software tests. Instead of performing tests manually, automation allows you to program tests in a way that allows them to be executed automatically, verify the results, and compare the results with the expected results.

Automating the software testing process allows you to:

-Increase test execution efficiency;

-Create repeatable and reliable tests;

-Get quick feedback;

-Detect errors early;

-Integrate the testing process with CI/CD;

-Save time and resources;

-Increase accuracy;

-Minimize the risk of errors caused by the human factor;

The use of test automation accelerates the testing process by increasing the speed, efficiency, repeatability and scalability of tests, which allows you to achieve high product quality in less time.



What tools are the most popular in software testing?

There are many software testing tools on the market. The most popular programs include: JUnit, TestNG, NUnit, xUnit, pytest, Mocha, PHPUnit, Jest, CppUTest, Google Test, Docker, Cucumber, Katalon Studio, GitLab, SoapUI and Jenkins. Each of the above-mentioned tools differs in the type of compatible tests or the technologies in which they are created.

What is the difference between manual and automatic testing?

Manual tests are better at identifying unusual errors and are better suited to unpredictable environments. They also allow for a subjective assessment of the user interface and experience of using the software.

Automated tests are faster and more effective. They perform better in repetitive scenarios that are tedious for humans. They are also less susceptible to human errors. These types of tests are great for performance and load testing.

Manual testing is valuable where intuition and subjective judgment are needed, while automated testing is irreplaceable in checking repeatable aspects and performance.

Why is software testing so important in the project lifecycle?

Software testing plays an important role throughout the project lifecycle because it allows you to verify requirements on an ongoing basis, ensure quality maintenance, reduce the risk of errors and ensure compliance with the requirements set by the Product Owner. Software testing fits perfectly into modern software delivery methods based on CI/CD processes.

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