What is a Test Case in Software Testing? [Definition + Types Described]

What is a Test Case?

A test case is a set of conditions or actions designed to verify whether your software application or system is functioning correctly or not.

A test case includes information like a set of inputs, dummy data, necessary steps of test execution, and an expected result or output.

What is the Purpose of Writing Test Cases?

The core purpose of writing test cases is to validate that the software application meets its requirements and functions correctly under various conditions. Test cases provide a structured and organized approach to testing throughout the software testing life cycle, which helps in identifying defects, ensuring quality, and improving the reliability of the software.

Understanding the software testing life cycle helps you to better understand each component that plays an important role in testing. Explore our complete guide on the software testing life cycle. Develop a strong understanding of STLC and different components that play an important role in the entire journey of software testing.

Moreover, a test case template is also used to write test cases in a standard format that becomes easy to understand for developers, designers, and stakeholders.

Let’s learn what are the different attributes of which a test case is made up.

8 Different Components of a Test Case

A test case is made up of different components and each component is necessary to create a reliable, concise, and effective test case. Learn about the different attributes that help to create test cases.

  1. Test case ID: Add a unique identifier to track the status and results of a particular test case.
  2. Test case description: A detailed description of the test case that includes the objective, steps to execute, and expected result.
  3. Test case preconditions: Contains a set of preconditions that must be met before executing a test case.
  4. Test steps: Includes detailed incremental test steps that need to be taken to execute a test case.
  5. Test data inputs: The test data that must be provided to execute a test case.
  6. Expected results: The expected output that should come when executing a test case.
  7. Actual result: Include the actual result which you have got after running an actual test case.
  8. Test case status: Add the current status of the test case such as fail, pass, or not executed.

Check the next section on the different types of test cases.

5 Types of Different Test Cases

  1. Functional Test Cases

    When focusing on testing the functional aspects of software, functional test cases are created as a part of the test plan. These test cases ensure that individual features and components work correctly according to the requirements.

    A test plan includes information on the application’s ability to perform tasks like creating user accounts, searching for information, or updating records. Do you want to learn more about a test plan? Here is a short article on what the test plan is.

  2. Usability Test Cases

    When evaluating the user-friendliness, intuitiveness, and overall user experience of a software application, usability test cases are created. Under different test scenarios, you ensure that your software is easy to navigate, understand, and interact with, ultimately resulting in a positive experience for the end user.

  3. Performance Test Cases

    When assessing the efficiency, responsiveness, and scalability of a software application, performance test cases are created. These test cases help identify bottlenecks, measure response times, and ensure that the software can handle the expected user load without compromising its functionality or user experience.

  4. Regression Test Cases

    As changes are made to the software, regression test cases verify that existing functionality remains unaffected. A subset of previously executed test cases is re-run to ensure that new code or bug fixes haven’t introduced any unintended side effects. Regular regression testing is essential for maintaining software quality over time.

  5. Security Test Cases

    When evaluating the protection and resilience of a software application against potential threats, security test cases are created. These test cases focus on identifying vulnerabilities, safeguarding sensitive data, and ensuring that the software adheres to security best practices to maintain the integrity, confidentiality, and availability of the system.

Next, let’s learn about the benefits of creating test cases.

5 Advantages of Writing Test Cases

When it comes to software testing, writing test cases provide several advantages. Here is a list of advantages you gain by creating test cases.

  1. Improved Quality

    By executing well-designed test cases, software quality is improved. This way, you ensure that your software meets the end user’s requirements and expectations.

  2. Effective Team Communication

    Creating test cases helps you to develop a common understanding between developers, testers, and other stakeholders. In addition, everyone in the software development team is on the same page and the proper process is executed.

  3. Perform Comprehensive Testing

    Writing test cases provide a systematic approach to testing that ensures that all functional and non-functional requirements of the software are tested, providing comprehensive testing coverage.

  4. Early Issue Identification

    If you write test cases, it helps you to identify defects and issues at the early stage of your software development cycle. So, there are likely fewer chances of your software failure.

    For a deeper dive into the challenges faced during this phase and strategies to overcome them, explore our dedicated blog post on software testing challenges.

  5. Reduce the Risk of Failure

    When you write test cases, it helps you to reduce the risk of your software failure. Because executing different test cases helps you to identify the potential threats or issues that might result in a financial loss.

For performing testing of any application, test cases are important as it helps to ensure the proper functioning and quality of the application. In addition, test cases help to establish effective communication between team members and enable you to find the bugs at an early stage of software development. Therefore, it reduces the ultimate risk of software failure and financial losses.

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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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