Software testing is conventionally a process that entails the execution of a program or system with the aim of evaluating and determining whether it meets the business and technical requirements that guided its development and design. However, despite the crucial role that it plays in the IT industry, software testing still remains a skill because of the limited understanding of its complexity. Developing software that can accurately test another program cannot be achieved with modest complexity.
All human inventions are prone to error, and unlike most physical systems that may suffer from wear and tear if mistakes are made, most errors in software development stem from design errors and not engineering faults. The software will not change until upgrades are made, or until it is no longer in use, therefore, once the flawed software is shipped, the bugs or design flaws will be buried in and remain covert until activation.
Despite its complex nature that limits its understanding, software testing is very vital in the world of information technology. The evolving technologies are constantly challenging the testing techniques and there is always a new scope for development globally.
There are two basics of software testing: black box testing and white box testing.
- Black box Testing
Black box testing is a testing mechanism that overlooks the internal tools of your system and place emphasis on the production generated against any input and implementation of your system. It is also referred to as functional testing.
- White box Testing
White box testing, unlike black box testing, is focused on the structure and flow of the software under test. Its testing plans are made in line with the details of the software application, and its test cases are acquired from the program construction. It is also referred to as glass-box testing or structural testing.
Black box testing is done to offer validation whereas white box testing is done to offer verification.
There are a number of tests that include but not limited to:
- System Testing
System testing is done to validate that the software will still work when it is placed in different environments. It falls under the black box testing and is done with complete system application and an environment.
- Integration Testing
Integration testing may be done to prove both validation and verification. It entails testing a number of combined components to produce output. If your software and hardware have any relation, their interaction is also tested.
- Unit Testing
Unit testing is a done for verification purposes. It entails testing a single unit or an assortment of related units. Unit testing is commonly done by programmers to ensure that the units or unit implemented is producing the expected output against the given input.
- Functional Testing
Functionality testing is done for validation purposes. Running your software through the test ensures that the range of operations that can be run by the system work.
- Stress Testing
Stress testing is a validation test done to assess how your system will behave under uncomplimentary conditions.
- Security Testing
Software quality, reliability, and security are compactly attached. Intruders have the capability of exploiting the flaws in your software to open security holes. Following the advancement of the Internet, software security issues have been on the rise. The aim of security testing is to identify and remove any flaws in your software that may lead to violations of your security system. The test is done by simulating security attacks to identify any loop holes.
Software testing is a fundamental part in software development that should be widely arrayed in every phase of your development cycle. Normally, more than 50 percent of your development time will be spent testing your software.
Testing is done for the following reasons:
- To improve quality
Software bugs can lead to you undergoing a devastating loss. Software defects in critical systems have led to incidents such as disruption of the stock exchange market, airplane crashes among others. Releasing software that has bugs may lead to disasters in a world where Information Technology is almost everywhere.
Improving quality entails confirmation to the specified design requirement. Good quality software, when tested, will perform as programmed under identified circumstances. Debugging, therefore, is done to identify any defects in the software.
- For verification and validation
Another important reason why software’s are tested is to verify and validate them. A number of tests are run to either validate or verify your software. Tests that are run with an aim to validate your software are referred to as clean tests or positive tests. The only limitation is that these tests can only validate the specified test cases. Your software does not have to be run through a number of tests to identify whether it will work for all situations; only a single failed test is enough to show that the software will not work.
Dirty or negative tests are those tests that are run to show whether or not your software will work in all situations.
- For reliability estimation
The reliability of your software has significant relations with a number of aspects of your software including the organization and the number of tests that your software has been exposed to. Testing, therefore, serves as a statistical sampling method to collect failure data and estimate the reliability of your software.
Software testing is also ultimately done to ensure that the relationship between software developers and their consumers remains intact. Software that contains a lot of errors, is unreliable, of low quality and constantly keeps failing may cause a rift in that relationship. As a software developer, you owe it to the people that will use your product to ensure that they can use the final output with as little difficulty as possible.
Although the software is not yet mature, it is fundamentally important for your software. It can be expensive, but not running your software through tests incurs more expenses during future development stages, and for critical systems that can place lives in harm’s way.