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Software Testing Fundamentals: Guide to Concepts and Processes

May 10, 2024Dilpreet Johal
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Software Testing Fundamentals Guide to Concepts and Processes
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Whenever you open an app or use software, you expect it to work. But have you ever thought about what ensures that smooth experience? It’s all thanks to software testing. 

In this guide, you’ll discover the ins and outs of software testing. Why is it so important? How does it ensure that the apps you rely on daily do what they’re supposed to? 

If you’ve ever been curious about the behind-the-scenes process that gives you a bug-free experience, you’re in the right place. Let’s dive in and explore the world of software testing together.

What is Software Testing?

As per the definition from Wikipedia, “Software testing is the act of examining the artifacts and the behavior of the software under test by validation and verification.” But let’s break that down a bit. 

In simpler terms, think of software testing as a quality check for software. Just as you’d inspect a new gadget before using it, software testing ensures that an application or system works correctly and is glitches-free. 

It’s all about ensuring the software does what it should and provides users with a seamless experience. By testing, we ensure potential issues are spotted and fixed before the software reaches your hands.

Why Software Testing?

So, we’ve established that software testing is like a quality check, ensuring everything in the software is up to mark. But why go through all this trouble? Why not just release the software and fix problems as they come up? 

Well, there are some pretty compelling reasons to test software before it reaches you:

  • Quality Check: It’s not just about ensuring the software works; it’s about ensuring it works perfectly every time you use it. 
  • Happy Users: Remember the last time an app crashed on you? Annoying, right? Testing aims to prevent such frustrations.
  • Saving Money: Think of it this way: it’s cheaper to spot a leak and fix it than to mop up the water later. Similarly, finding and fixing software issues early on is more cost-effective. Learn more about the cost implications of errors in our guide on common software testing mistakes beginners make and how to avoid them.
  • Staying Safe: Just as you wouldn’t want a toy with sharp edges, you wouldn’t want software with security risks. Testing helps keep things safe and secure.
  • Good Reputation: When things work smoothly, it builds trust. And trust is everything in the digital world.
  • Staying Updated:  The world of software testing is ever-evolving. To understand its current landscape and anticipate future challenges, staying updated with the latest trends is essential. Check out the top software testing trends to get a glimpse of what’s shaping the future of testing.

What are the fundamentals of software testing?

Now that we’ve understood the “why” behind software testing, let’s dive deeper. You might wonder, “What exactly are we looking for when testing software?” Great question!

Think of software testing as preparing a meal for a special occasion. You’d select the best ingredients, follow the recipe carefully, and taste-test. Similarly, software testing fundamentals revolve around ensuring the software’s reliability, efficiency, and usability.

It’s not just about finding bugs; it’s about ensuring the software is perfectly “cooked” to meet specific standards and delivers a consistent, high-quality “taste” for users like you, ensuring you have a delightful experience every time.

You can explore this software testing strategy guide for a deeper dive into the strategies behind these fundamentals.

Objectives of Software Testing

​​Drawing from our food analogy, if software testing is like preparing a meal for a special occasion, what are our primary goals or objectives for this preparation? Why do we put in all this effort? Here are the direct objectives of software testing:

  • Ensure Reliability: Just as you’d want your dish to be consistently delicious every time you prepare it, we test to ensure the software is dependable and won’t disappoint you when needed.
  • Verify Functionality: It’s like ensuring all the ingredients in a recipe come together ideally. In software, we verify that every feature functions as intended.
  • Identify Defects: Before serving a dish, you’d want to ensure it tastes right and has no unwanted elements. Similarly, testing helps spot and fix any issues or bugs in the software. It’s essential to be aware of common pitfalls, as highlighted in our article on software testing errors to look out for.
  • Assess User Experience: Just as the presentation and taste of a dish enhance your dining experience, a user-friendly software interface ensures a delightful digital journey.
  • Maintain Quality Standards: Just as dishes must meet specific culinary standards, the software has quality benchmarks it needs to meet.

Consequences of NOT performing Software Testing

Imagine preparing a meal for guests without tasting it first. Sounds like a recipe for disaster, right? Just as that meal might not turn out as expected, skipping software testing can lead to some significant issues. If we don’t test software, here’s what could happen:

  • Frequent Breakdowns: Untested software can crash or freeze, disrupting your tasks and causing frustration, much like serving a dish that’s too salty or undercooked.
  • Security Risks: Without testing, the software might have vulnerabilities that hackers can exploit, putting your data at risk, akin to leaving food out in the open and attracting pests.
  • Increased Costs: Addressing software problems after release can be costlier than catching them during testing, just as fixing a ruined dish at the last minute can be time-consuming and wasteful, leading to additional ingredients or even an entirely new preparation.
  • Poor User Experience: Untested software might have glitches or design flaws that make it hard to use, similar to trying to enjoy a meal that is missing key ingredients.
  • Damaged Reputation: Buggy software can harm a company’s reputation and user trust, much like a chef known for inconsistent dishes might lose customers.

When Is The Software Testing Done?

You might be wondering, “When exactly do we test software in its lifecycle?” Great question! Software testing isn’t just a one-time event, it’s an ongoing process. 

It starts as early as the design phase, continues during development, and even extends after the software is released to users. 

This continuous approach ensures that any issues are caught and addressed promptly, giving you a seamless experience every time you use the software.

What are the Steps of Software Testing?

Steps of Software Testing

Software testing follows a structured process to ensure that every aspect of the software is thoroughly checked. Here are the key steps involved in software testing:

  • Requirement Analysis: Just as you decide on a recipe based on the ingredients you have and your guests’ preferences, this step involves understanding what needs to be tested and the criteria it must meet.
  • Test Planning: Like gathering all your ingredients and tools before you start cooking, this step involves organizing resources, setting timelines, and deciding on the testing tools and environment.
  • Test Design: This is where we decide on the ‘recipe’ for testing. It involves creating detailed test cases, scripts, and procedures.
  • Test Execution: Just as you’d follow the cooking process, the actual tests are run on the software here.
  • Result Analysis & Reporting: You’d adjust the seasoning or cooking time after tasting the dish. Similarly, after tests are run, results are analyzed, and any defects or issues are reported for fixing.

How Often Do We Need To Do Software Testing?

Software testing is an ongoing process not limited to just one development phase. The software should be re-tested as new features are added, updates are made, or even when bugs are fixed. 

This ensures that changes haven’t introduced new issues and the software continues functioning as expected. 

Additionally, integrating automation testing can be a significant time-saver, allowing for more frequent and efficient testing cycles. We’ll explore this in greater detail later in the blog. 


In essence, software testing is done frequently throughout the software’s lifecycle to maintain its quality and reliability. 

What Are Software Testing Standards?

When we talk about standards in the software testing world, it’s like having a trusted recipe when you’re cooking. You want to ensure you’re following guidelines proven to work. 

The ISO 29119 standard set by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) is our go-to recipe in software testing. It offers a detailed approach to software testing, covering everything from the basic concepts and definitions to the nitty-gritty of test processes, documentation, and techniques. 

So, when testers and developers stick to this standard, it’s like chefs following a tried-and-true recipe. Hence resulting in fewer errors and software that truly meets the needs and expectations of its users.

What Is Software Testability?

Software testability is the ease with which a software application can be tested to identify defects. It is like checking if a chicken is fully baked by inserting a thermometer. If the chicken (software) is easily testable, you’ll quickly know if it’s done right. The more testable a software is, the simpler and more efficient the testing process becomes.

Testability Determining Factors:

  • Control: How easily can testers control the software’s operating conditions?
  • Observability: Can testers observe the outcomes of their tests?
  • Stability: Does the software behave consistently under the same conditions?
  • Complexity: Is the software’s structure and logic simple or intricate?
  • Documentation: Is there clear documentation available to guide the testing process?

Different Types of Software Testing

Types of software testing

Diving deeper into the testing world, each software testing type has its specific purpose, and knowing when to use it is crucial. Let’s break down some of these for you:

  • Manual Testing: This is all about testers rolling up their sleeves and checking the software manually without any automation tools.
  • Automation Testing: Automation is essential in today’s fast-paced development cycles. Tools like Testsigma stand out in this domain, offering a seamless way to handle repetitive tasks and providing a user-friendly approach and robust capabilities.

Here is a Guide that talks more about Test Automation

Check-it-out
  • Performance Testing: This tests how fast your software can run and how much load it can handle.
  • Functional Testing: Does the software do what it’s supposed to? This type checks if every function of the software works as intended.
  • Usability Testing: Is the software easy and intuitive to use? This type ensures that the user experience is up to the mark.
  • Security Testing: This ensures no intruders can break into our software fortress, keeping user data safe and secure.

Of course, there are other testing types, such as integration, regression, acceptance, alpha & beta testing, and more. But the ones we’ve highlighted are some of the primary tools in our testing toolkit.

If you’re preparing for a role in software testing or just curious, here’s a list of software testing interview questions to check out.

Approaches to Automated Software Testing: Traditional vs. Codeless

When it comes to automated software testing, there are two main ways to go about it:

Traditional Coding Approach: This is how testers write code to test software. Some popular tools for this are:

  • Selenium: Great for testing web apps supporting various languages
  • WebdriverIO: Another popular tool for web, mobile, and desktop automation.
  • Appium: Perfect for mobile automation.

Codeless Testing: As the name suggests, this approach doesn’t require traditional coding. Instead, it uses tools that allow testers to design and execute tests without writing scripts. One standout tool in this category is Testsigma. It offers a natural language-based approach, making automation testing seamless even for those without a coding background.

Both approaches have their merits. While the traditional method offers flexibility and control, the codeless process is more user-friendly and reduces the entry barrier for newcomers.

Different Levels of Software Testing

Diving further into software testing, it’s not just about the types of tests but also the levels at which they are performed. Each group targets a specific testing objective and phase in the software development process. Let’s unpack these levels for you:

  • Unit Testing: This is the most basic level of testing, where individual components or units of the software are tested in isolation. It’s like checking each ingredient before adding it to a dish.
  • Integration Testing: Once individual units are tested, they are combined and tested as a group. Consider blending different ingredients in a mixer to ensure they come together perfectly.
  • System Testing: The entire software system is tested as a whole. It’s similar to baking the dish in the oven, ensuring every part is cooked evenly and thoroughly.
  • Acceptance Testing: This is the final hurdle before the software is delivered to the client or end-users. It’s like a final taste test to ensure the dish meets the diner’s preferences and expectations before serving.

Each level of testing has its significance, ensuring that every aspect of the software, from individual components to the entire system, is thoroughly vetted and validated.

Conclusion

We’ve talked a lot about software testing and its importance. Just like you expect your food to taste good every time, software testing ensures your apps and software work right every time. It’s the behind-the-scenes magic that makes your digital life smooth. 

And speaking of smooth, if you’re curious about making software testing even more accessible and efficient, look at Testsigma. Think of it as your friendly helper that ensures everything in your software works perfectly without you having to do all the heavy lifting. 

So, the next time you enjoy an app without any hiccups, remember there’s a world of testing behind it, and tools like Testsigma make it even better. Why not give it a try?

Frequently Asked Questions

What is SDLC in software testing?

SDLC stands for Software Development Life Cycle. It’s the process that software undergoes from idea to release. In software testing, SDLC ensures testing happens at every phase, from planning to deployment.

What are the seven principles of software testing?

The seven principles of software testing are:

  • Absence of Errors Fallacy: A bug-free software might not necessarily meet user needs.
  • Testing Shows Presence of Defects: Testing can find defects but cannot guarantee their complete absence.
  • Exhaustive Testing is Impossible: It’s impractical to test every possible scenario due to constraints.
  • Defect Clustering: Most bugs might be found in just a few modules.
  • Pesticide Paradox: Running the same tests repeatedly might not uncover new bugs.
  • Early Testing: It’s beneficial to start the testing process early in development.
  • Testing is Context-Dependent: Different types of software require different testing approaches.

What is regression testing in software testing?

Regression testing checks that recent code changes haven’t negatively affected existing features. It ensures new changes have kept existing functionality intact.

What is exploratory testing?

Exploratory testing is an unscripted testing approach. Testers explore the application without predefined tests, discovering defects through a learn-as-you-go method.

What’s the difference between black-box, white-box, and grey-box testing?

  • Black-box testing: Tests software’s external behavior without considering its code.
  • White-box testing: Tests software knowing its internal code.
  • Grey-box testing: Combines both black-box and white-box with partial code knowledge.
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