What Is Software Testing – Definition, Types, Methods, Approaches
Reliable software is easy to come by nowadays, but it wasn’t always this way. Businesses would have to work extremely hard to find the tools and applications they needed, often resorting to building them for themselves. This has changed in recent years, and this is largely thanks to proper software testing methods becoming wide-spread across the tech industry.
What is Software Testing?
As a piece of software gets more complicated, the number of issues it can face will increase exponentially. Functions and other code snippets can interact with each other in unexpected ways, while certain systems may not be compatible with the code a developer has used, but it will be impossible to find these issues without any software testing.
Software testing is the process of assessing a piece of software to make sure that its functionality meets the initial requirements of the project. Naturally, this will also involve ironing out any defects that are found before launch, though many developers continue to release updates into the future.
Why is Software Testing Important?
Without software testing, many of the digital products used by businesses and individuals alike would heavily defective upon release. While a program might work on one machine, even the smallest difference in system configuration can make a huge difference in the way that a piece of software operates, causing bugs in some cases. This makes it crucial that developers have the chance to test every aspect of their work in a range of different environments.
What are the Benefits of Software Testing?
Video games stand out in the world of software, with many game development companies doing relatively little testing of their games before they are released. Instead, players are left to do the bulk of the testing, complaining and submitting bug reports when something goes wrong. For pieces of software that have a more functional purpose, though, proper testing comes with a huge range of benefits.
- Security: Untested software can easily have security issues that go undetected until they cause problems. Proper testing will always ensure that software is as secure as possible upon release.
- User Experience: Users won’t be happy to use software that has bugs or doesn’t work properly, and this means that testing can improve user experience.
- Product Quality: Making a quality product is an important part of software development, but this will be impossible without adequate testing.
- Cost-Effectiveness: Software testing can solve problems that will cost a lot to fix if they are left until the future.
Types of Software Testing
There are two main types of software testing found in the modern world; manual and automated testing.
- Manual Software Testing: Manual software testing involves performing tests and exploring a piece of software’s capabilities by hand. Sometimes, this will be done by developers looking to test all of their work, but it can also be done from the perspective of an end-user.
- Automated Software Testing: There are a lot of automated software testing tools on the market that can use special scripts to run through pre-determined software tests. This can enable developers to get a lot of results very quickly.
Of course, though, software testing gets deeper than this once you start to look into it. Alongside manual and automated testing, you will also find static and dynamic testing. Static testing is used to check over documents and files to make sure that the software product is being made according to its specifications, while dynamic testing used to uncover issues in real-world scenarios.
These basic testing types can be split into three further groups; White box testing, black-box testing, and grey-box testing.
- White Box Testing: White box, or clear box, testing is based on an applications functional code. Test cases are designed around a developer’s skills, using their insight into the software to ensure that it functions as expected.
- Black Box Testing: Black box testing works very differently to white box testing. The tester won’t have any idea how the software works or how its code functions, providing a real-world test case.
- Grey Box Testing: Grey box testing combines the two previous methods, taking a tester with little knowledge of the software while giving them a detailed design document to work from.
Why do we need Software Testing?
Software testing is essential in the modern world as it provides a means to ensure that software functions correctly. This can improve security, user experience, and can make a piece of software go from unusable to a high-quality product. The software testing lifecycle can be long and complicated, but the software testing tools you have available only make this easier.