What is Software Testing? [A Complete Guide]

What is Software Testing?

Software testing is the process of evaluating and verifying that software or a system meets its specified requirements, functions correctly, and performs as intended. Software testing is an essential part of the software development life cycle (SDLC) and helps to identify defects, errors, or other issues that may affect the overall performance, reliability, and usability of the software.

Testing involves the evaluation of software components with various manual and automated testing tools. Ultimately, software testing helps you reduce software development costs and improve the performance of the software solution. However, if you want to learn how the software testing helps to improve performance, here is our complete guide on the software testing life cycle. Check this guide to learn how testing works and its importance to build high-quality products.

Apart from these benefits, software testing has its importance, which we will discuss in the next section.

What is the Importance of Software Testing?

There are 4 reasons why you need to test a software solution. Let’s quickly discuss the importance of software testing one by one. However, the reasons mentioned below are briefly described. But, if you want to learn in detail about the reasons of software testing importance, read these 7 reasons why software testing is important.

  1. Enhances Security of Your Software

    Security is one of the crucial reasons why you need to consider testing software. To ensure the safety of your users’ personal information and details, the software must undergo testing.

    Software testing will uncover vulnerabilities of software and help you resolve the errors before it goes live and harms the user system and data.

  2. Ensures Quality of Your Software Solution

    Testing software also ensures that it is working according to expectations. Software should function in a way that delivers the best customer experience and shows great compatibility with the device.

    Testing will help you identify whether the solution is compatible enough with a wide array of operating systems and devices or not.

  3. Improves the Development Process

    When finding any issue in the software, the development team quickly needs to fix it. Hence, the development team and the quality team need to work parallelly.

    Working together and being transparent help the software development team to simplify the process and resolve the issues early on to accelerate the development procedure.

  4. Determine the Software’s Performance

    You would definitely not want your software to function slowly or compromise its performance. There are chances that poor quality software may lead to bad branding for your organization.

    So in case you introduce your software in the market without testing, it will not match the performance that users expect and stop using it immediately.

    Thus, software testing is considered to be the best option to determine the performance of the software. To perform testing, there are different types that you can consider according to the requirements. Let’s discuss the software testing types in detail.

Which are the Different Types of Software Testing?

There are various types of software testing. However, it is mainly divided into 2 types, which are as follows.

  • Functional Testing
  • Non-functional Testing

Look at the following image to see how functional and non-functional tests are classified.

We are also going to discuss these tests in detail, along with examples. Check the following table for this.

Functional Testing
Testing TypeDescription
Unit TestingThis testing is performed on an individual unit to make corrections. Typically, it is performed during the development phase (unit test level) using the automation testing tools like NUnit, Xunit, and JUnit.
Integration TestingIn this, 2 or more modules are composed together to perform the test as a whole. It helps you find the defect in the interface, communication, and data flow among modules using the top-down or bottom-up approaches.
System TestingIn system testing, you perform the tests to evaluate the whole software against the specified requirements.
Acceptance TestingUser acceptance testing (UAT) is known for testing software against real-time business scenarios. As it is important to get the expected functionalities, you perform acceptance testing in the last phase before the software goes into production.
Non-Functional Testing
Testing TypeDescription
Security TestingA security test is performed to determine how much the software is protected from internal or external threats, such as malicious programs and viruses. It also includes penetration testing.
Performance TestingPerformance testing helps you identify the stability and response time by applying the load. To perform this testing, you can test automation tools like Loader.IO, JMeter, and LoadRunner. It includes load testing, stress testing, scalability testing, volume testing, and endurance testing.
Compatibility TestingCompatibility testing will help you determine how the software will behave in a certain environment, web servers, and hardware. This will ensure the software runs seamlessly on different configurations, databases, browsers, and versions.
Usability TestingThe usability test simply helps you check the look and feel, and user-friendliness of the software. This includes exploratory testing, cross-browser testing, and accessibility testing.
Regression TestingRegression testing will help you identify any changes in the features, deleting/updating features, or bug fixes that do not impact the working software.

You also need to know how the software testing life cycle functions and how many stages there are. To throw some light on it, we have discussed the next section.

What is the Software Testing Life Cycle?

Software Testing Life Cycle (STLC) is a process that you follow to ensure that the quality standards are met for the developed software. Software testing is carried out systematically over various phases, from gathering requirements to test cycle closure. This cycle is performed multiple times to ensure the software is suitable for release.

6 Stages of Software Testing Life Cycle

Here are the following sequential phases of the software testing life cycle.

Testing Life Cycle StagesDescription
Requirement AnalysisFeature requirements are collected in this stage after discussing with the team and stakeholders and identifying whether it is functional or non-functional.
Test PlanningA test strategy is outlined in the test plan document. It will include testing tools, testing steps, and roles & responsibilities. Moreover, cost analysis and timeline are also defined in this stage.
Test Case DevelopmentTest cases are created at this stage, where each test case defines test inputs, procedures, execution conditions, and anticipated results. Automation test scripts are also created in this stage if required.
Test Environment SetupThe testing environment will be configured and deployed for this stage. You also might need to set up test servers. Once deployed, smoke testing will be performed to expect the intended functionality.
Test ExecutionAll the features of the software will be deployed in the real environment with the test cases. The gathered test results are compared with the expected results and delivered to the development team.
Test Cycle ClosureThis is the last stage of the STLC, where the test report is prepared. It includes the entire software testing process and the comparison between the actual and expected results, including time and cost spent, objectives met, and any defects found.

These 6 phases are carried out systematically to ensure the quality of the software. Moreover, you can also focus on the approaches of the testing to simplify the overall process. Let’s check.

Which are the Important Testing Approaches?

You can use various testing approaches for the fast and efficient verification of the software. Let’s quickly discuss 3 top testing approaches that you definitely need to consider.

  1. Static, Dynamic, and Passive Testing

    These three approaches are generally clubbed together. However, all the approaches differ from one another. Let’s discuss all the approaches in the following table.

    Static TestingDynamic TestingPassive Testing
    In static testing, you are responsible for reviewing, walking through and inspecting the software.In dynamic, you may begin testing the software even before it is 100% complete and test some of the sections of code.Passive testing lets you verify the system’s behaviour without interacting with software.
    Static testing is often implicit, like proofreading the text editors and checking source code structure or compilers (pre-compilers).Dynamic testing is done to simplify the development process, and it involves validation.Here, you will not provide any test data but look for the logs of the system and traces.
    This also includes the check syntax and data flow as static program analysis.Moreover, executing programmed code with a set of test cases is known as dynamic testing.You will identify the patterns and specific behaviour to make any decision.
  2. Exploratory Approach

    Exploratory testing is one of the approaches that you consider to test software simultaneously to learn, test designs, and test execution.

    This approach gives you complete freedom and responsibility to optimize software performance by treating test-related learning and test designs.

    Mainly, it focuses on identifying uncovered defects and relies on guidance that is not easily covered in the other test scopes.

  3. The “Box” Approach

    The traditional box approach is divided into white box testing and black box testing. However, apart from these two approaches, we are also going to discuss gray box testing, which is a hybrid approach. Let’s discuss all the types of box approaches.

    3.1 White Box Testing
    The white box testing approach is used to find loopholes in the internal structure or code of the software. These are accessible to you in order to find the faults in business logic. Some examples of white box testing are statement coverage and decision coverage.

    Techniques used in the white-box approach include

    • API Testing
    • Code Coverage
    • Fault Injection
    • Mutation Testing
    • Static Testing

    3.2 Black Box Testing
    In the black-box testing approach, you are responsible for focusing only on the input and output of test objects. Contrary to the white box approach, you will not have access, and the test is performed without knowing the internal structure, design, or code of a system.

    3.3 Gray Box Testing
    Gray box testing is a hybrid approach, a combination of white box testing and black box testing.

    Black Box + White Box = Gray Box Testing

    You will have partial knowledge of the internal structure or code in order to search and identify the defects because of the improper code structure and usage of the software.

    Now, let’s move ahead to find the best practices that you can implement for testing a software solution. These practices will actually help you to build quality software.

    Which are the Best Practices for Software Testing?

    Here are the following practices you must follow throughout the entire software development life cycle.

    • Create separate testing teams for determining the security and performance of software, as this will dilute the capabilities of your individual team members
    • Run software or simulate it in the real environment to identify the issues and opportunities to enhance the software quality
    • Focus on the code changes where you made significant changes to fix bugs or change the functionality of the software
    • Go for a two-tier testing approach where first you need to run quick sanity checks and then continue to run more regression testings
    • Choose the correct testing metrics to monitor the impact of the test results and appropriate actions

    Following these best practices helps you to avoid major software testing challenges. If you are curious to learn about core testing challenges, here is a blog post on the key software testing challenges.

    Want to Hire Experienced Software Testers?

    Space-O is a top software development company in Canada and the USA. We have experienced developing over 300 software solutions.

    All the information you have gone through in this guide will help you to test the software efficiently. While testing the app, follow the step-by-step procedure using the best testing types that suit your project requirements perfectly. As you know the importance of testing software, ensure that you are deploying the software with a complete testing process.

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Rakesh Patel

Written by

Rakesh Patel is the Founder and CEO of Space-O Technologies (Canada). He has 28 years of IT experience in business strategies, operations & information technology. He has expertise in various aspects of business like project planning, sales, and marketing, and has successfully defined flawless business models for the clients. A techie by mind and a writer at heart, he has authored two books – Enterprise Mobility: Strategy & Solutions and A Guide To Open311

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