Testing plays an important role in any field. May it be machines, software, tools, home cleaning detergents, soaps, refrigerators, name it all. Any product must be thoroughly tested before releasing it to the market.
The same goes for software. Software must be thoroughly tested before launch. But why is software testing important?
Well, a lot of fields use software for the benefit of human beings. Some of these fields can even save a life. For example, in the medical field, specific software is used in ventilators. This software is programmed to act or replicate inhalation and exhalation.
In this case, if the software is faulty or not tested enough, it can cause life. Hence, it is important that software testing is done. It will allow manufacturers to see the faults before releasing them for medical use.
Another example is when building machines. They undergo numerous safety and usability testing. The goal of such testing is to ensure the quality of the machines. It must be safe for users and it must work as intended before its release.
The list of industries that needs software can go on and on. But whatever the intended use of your software is, testing is vital.
Manual and Automation Testing
Testing has evolved with time. Back then, all tests are done manually. Manual testing involves people assigned for quality assurance. They perform a series of tests to detect errors. This is done without any help from tools or scripts.
In manual testing, the tester acts as a consumer or end-user. They enter tests cases opposite to what the software is expected to do. They also go over many different test-case scenarios to eradicate loopholes.
Now, as technology progresses, the methods of testing weren’t left behind. Innovations led to the creation of multiple software that made automation for testing possible. Test automation is done by creating scripts or using tools for testing.
An automation tester assures that the scripts and tools mimic the process of manual testing. These scripts contain test case scenarios that can be re-used and re-run infinite times. These tests also finish in a short amount of time.
Of course, it wasn’t easy at first. Not everyone opened their doors to automation and some lack knowledge to implement it. Thankfully, tutorials such as this automation testing guide and forums are available. This made life easier for beginners and new learners.
When Should You Automate?
Automation testing is often used when handling large projects. Huge projects are hard to test manually and can take a lot of time. Also, software that involves forms, databases, and field validations is best tested automatically.
Uses of Software Testing
1. Quality Assurance
Testing helps determine the functionality and stability of the software. It is used to quality check and to see if the software passed for efficiency, usability, maintainability, and sometimes, even portability.
2. Product Development
Testing will also open your doors for improvement. By testing a product, you will see its flaws and errors. Hence, you can also strategize on how to fix those errors and flaws.
3. Time and Cost Effectiveness
Testing in the early stages of development will help you detect errors early on. This will save you a ton of time and a lot of money. You can easily pinpoint what went wrong with the product. Automating the tests could also save testers time while checking the quality of a product.
Software Testing Methods
In software testing, it’s not always better to know everything about the code of a software. Knowing more might add extra weight to the tester’s shoulders. How much the tester should know will depend on the software testing method to be used.
Whether you want to test manually or automatically, you have different ways to do so. Of course, each one of the methods has its own strengths and weaknesses. You must also keep in mind that different test subjects require different testing methods.
But how will you know which testing method should you use?
1. Black-Box Testing
Black-box testing gives no knowledge of the system architecture to the tester. The tester will not know how the software was made and will blindly test the product. The tester will be kept in the dark, hence, the name black-box testing.
In this method of testing, a tester will only interact with the user interface provided by the system. He shall provide input and check if the output of the software is correct or not.
This method will be best if you do not want the tester to access the code. It can also provide a realistic user experience when the software is launched. This is also the least time-consuming method.
However, it is not fit for algorithm testing and can only be done through a series of trial-and-error.
2. Gray-Box Testing
Unlike black-box, gray-box testing provides limited knowledge of the software to the tester. In this technique, a tester can access a few files such as the database. With this, the tester will have an idea of what inputs the software takes.
Having a few insights about the software will help the tester prepare better test case scenarios. It will also be beneficial if you wanted the test done from a user’s point of view.
Performing such tests can also be done by someone without programming knowledge. This expands your options for testers. However, like black-box testing, this method is not suitable for algorithm testing.
3. White-Box Testing
White-box testing must be done by testers and developers. This is because the method grants the tester full access to the data and code of the software. Hence, it is only right that the testers know and understand how the code works.
The tester needs to go through the source code and determine which lines or blocks are producing errors. This can help optimize the code and database. They can also design test cases and scenarios that have a high probability of producing errors.
Out of all the methods, this technique is the only one that requires testers to have programming knowledge. It is also the only one that can offer algorithm testing.
However, since this type of testing has a lot more to cover, it is the most time-consuming of the three methods.
Is Software Testing For You?
There are a lot of things to consider when performing software testing. You need to set a goal for the product you want to be tested. By doing so, you will know which method of software testing will be beneficial.
Software testing and automation can be intimidating at first. But once you get a hang of it, every second you spent on learning will be worth it.