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Software Application Testing | What it is, Types & How to do?

November 13, 2023Aaron Thomas
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Software Application Testing is a critical phase in the software development lifecycle, ensuring that applications function correctly and meet user expectations. It encompasses various processes and methodologies that identify defects, improve software quality, and enhance user satisfaction. This comprehensive guide explores the fundamentals of software application testing, including its definition, types, and step-by-step instructions on effectively conducting testing. Whether you’re a seasoned tester or new to the field, this resource will provide valuable insights into software testing.

Table Of Contents

What is Software Application Testing?

Software Application Testing, often called software testing, is a systematic process of evaluating software applications to identify and rectify defects or issues. It involves assessing an application’s functionality, performance, security, and usability to ensure it meets the intended requirements. This process is essential to guarantee the reliability and quality of the software before it is released to end-users.

Software Application Testing Process: How to Test a Software Application?

Software Application Testing involves well-defined steps to ensure thorough evaluation and validation. Here are the key stages:

1. Test Planning

Test planning is the initial phase, defining the testing objectives, scope, and resources. Test plans outline what needs to be tested, the testing environment, and the schedule.

2. Test Design

During this phase, test cases and test scripts are created. These documents outline the specific scenarios and conditions that will be tested to ensure comprehensive coverage.

3. Test Execution

In the execution phase, the actual testing takes place. Testers follow the predefined test cases and input data and assess how the software responds to different inputs and conditions.

4. Defect Identification and Reporting

Testers identify defects, including bugs, errors, and issues, and document them. Clear and concise reporting is crucial to ensure developers can understand and rectify the problems efficiently.

5. Defect Retesting

After developers address reported defects, the testing team retests the affected areas to confirm that the issues have been resolved successfully.

6. Regression Testing

Regression testing ensures that new code changes or fixes have yet to introduce new defects or impact existing functionality.

7. Test Closure and Documentation

Once all testing phases are complete, a final report summarizing the testing process, results, and any open issues is generated. This documentation is essential for decision-making and auditing.

By following these steps, software application testing helps guarantee the quality and reliability of software, ensuring that it functions as intended and meets user expectations while minimizing the risk of critical defects affecting end users.

Application Testing methodologies

Application testing methodologies are structured approaches to testing software applications. They help ensure thorough evaluation and validation of software functionality. Here are some key methodologies, each explained in detail:

Black Box Testing

Black Box Testing is a methodology where the tester assesses the functionality of a software application without knowing its internal code or structure. Testers focus on the inputs and outputs of the application, testing it as a whole. This approach simulates how an end-user interacts with the software. Automation can greatly enhance Black Box Testing efficiency. For example, using a tool like Testsigma, you can automate test cases that mimic user actions. For instance, in an e-commerce application, you can automate the testing of the checkout process to ensure that it works correctly.



White Box Testing

White Box Testing, or structural or code-based testing, involves examining an application’s internal code and logic. Testers often use code coverage metrics to verify the code functions correctly and efficiently. For example, you can automate testing specific functions or modules within the software to check if they produce the expected outcomes based on the code logic.

Gray Box Testing

Gray Box Testing is a combination of Black Box and White Box Testing. Testers have partial knowledge of the application’s internal code and use this knowledge to design test cases. Automation can also be beneficial here, especially when dealing with complex systems. With Testsigma, you can create test scripts that utilize external inputs and internal code knowledge to ensure comprehensive testing. For example, in a banking application, you can automate testing a user’s account balance update process, considering both external input data and the internal code logic.

Types of Software Application Testing

Let’s discuss the categories of software applications and the types of testing in the Software Development Life Cycle (SDLC). Let’s elaborate on each of these aspects:

Manual Testing:

Description: Manual Testing involves human testers interacting directly with the software application to assess its functionality. Testers manually execute test cases, explore the application’s features, and identify issues or defects.

Use Cases: Manual testing is often employed in the initial phases of development to test specific features, perform ad-hoc testing, and evaluate one-off scenarios.

Benefits: It allows for exploratory testing, uncovering unexpected issues. It’s also useful when test cases change frequently.

Drawbacks: Manual testing can be time-consuming and subject to human error. It might need to be more efficient for repetitive or extensive testing.

Automated Testing:

Description: Automated Testing involves software tools and scripts to execute predefined test cases. Testers create test scripts that simulate user actions and automate the testing process.

Use Cases: Automation is most effective when fully developed software applications. It’s used to evaluate usability, functionality, performance, and regression testing.

Benefits: Automated testing is efficient, repeatable, and can be scheduled for regular execution. It’s ideal for extensive and repetitive test scenarios.

Drawbacks: It requires an initial time investment for script development. Not all testing scenarios can be easily automated.

Software applications are broadly categorized into:

  • Web Applications: These are accessed through web browsers, including websites and web-based software.
  • Mobile Applications: These are designed for mobile devices and can be further categorized into:
    • Native Apps: Developed for specific mobile platforms (e.g., iOS, Android).
    • Hybrid Apps: Combining elements of both web and native apps.
    • Progressive Web Apps (PWAs): Web apps that provide a native app-like experience.
    • Desktop Applications: Installed and run on desktop or laptop computers.

Functional Testing:

Description: Functional testing assesses whether the software application’s functions perform according to specified requirements. It checks if individual components or features of the application operate correctly.

Manual/Automated: This can be performed both manually and through automation tools.

Example: Testing a login feature to ensure authorized users can access their accounts.

Unit Testing:

Description: Unit testing involves testing individual units or components of the software in isolation. It ensures that each unit functions as expected.

Manual/Automated: Typically automated using testing frameworks like JUnit or PyTest.

Example: Testing a specific function or method within the code to verify its correctness.

Integration Testing:

Description: Integration testing examines the interactions between various components or modules within the software to ensure they work together seamlessly.

Manual/Automated: Often automated using tools to simulate component interactions.

Example: Testing how different modules of an e-commerce website, like cart and payment processing, integrate and function together.

Performance Testing:

Description: Performance testing evaluates the system’s speed, responsiveness, and stability under various conditions, such as high user loads or extreme data volumes.

Manual/Automated: Typically automated with tools like JMeter or LoadRunner.

Example: Assessing how a web application handles simultaneous user requests during a flash sale event.

Cross-Browser Compatibility Testing:

Description: This testing ensures that a web application functions consistently across different browsers and their versions.

Manual/Automated: Often performed manually with real browsers or automated using browser testing tools.

Example: Verifying that a website looks and works the same way in Chrome, Firefox, and Safari.

Sanity Testing:

Description: Sanity testing is a quick, focused testing effort to ensure that specific functionalities or code changes have not adversely affected the system’s basic functionality.

Manual/Automated: This can be done manually or through automated test scripts.

Example: After a minor code update, check if the core features of an application still work as expected.

End-to-End Testing:

Description: End-to-end testing assesses the entire application workflow from start to finish to ensure that all components and systems work together seamlessly.

Manual/Automated: Typically automated to simulate real user interactions.

Example: Testing a complete online shopping process from product selection to payment and order confirmation.

Exploratory Testing:

Description: Exploratory testing is a free-form testing approach where testers explore the application, learn about it as they test, and identify issues on the fly.

Manual/Automated: Primarily a manual testing technique.

Example: A tester navigates through a new application, trying various inputs and actions to discover unanticipated bugs.

Visual Regression Testing:

Description: Visual regression testing ensures that visual elements of an application, such as layout and design, remain consistent after code changes.

Manual/Automated: Typically automated using visual testing tools.

Example: Comparing screenshots of an application before and after an update to detect any unintended visual changes.

Monkey Testing:

Description: Monkey testing involves randomly or systematically testing the application by inputting unexpected or random data to uncover potential vulnerabilities.

Manual/Automated: This can be done manually but is often automated using randomized input generators.

Example: Entering random characters or values into a search field to assess how the application handles unexpected input.

Non-Functional Testing:

Description: Non-functional testing focuses on aspects like security, usability, scalability, and reliability of the software rather than its specific features.

Manual/Automated: Varies depending on the specific type of non-functional testing.

Example: Security testing to identify vulnerabilities or usability testing to assess the application’s user-friendliness.

Test Plan for Application Testing

Creating a test plan specifically for automated application testing is essential to ensure the effectiveness and efficiency of automated testing processes. Below are the critical steps for crafting a comprehensive test plan focused on automation:

Step 1: Define Automation Objectives and Scope

Begin by clearly defining the objectives of automation testing. What are you trying to achieve through automation? Define the scope of automation, including which parts of the application will be automated and any specific functionalities or features to focus on.

Step 2: Identify Stakeholders

List all the stakeholders involved in the automation testing process. This typically includes automation engineers, developers, project managers, and other relevant parties. Identify their roles and responsibilities in the automation process.

Step 3: Determine Automation Strategy

Choose the appropriate automation strategy based on the nature of the application. Determine whether you will use script-based automation, record and playback tools, or both. Define the rationale behind your choice.

Step 4: Select Automation Tools

Identify and select the automation tools and frameworks that align with your automation strategy. This could include tools like Selenium, Appium, or proprietary automation solutions.

Step 5: Create Automated Test Scripts

Develop detailed automated test scripts that cover all aspects of the application. Each script should include test objectives, preconditions, steps, expected results, and any necessary test data. Consider creating reusable components or libraries for efficiency.

Step 6: Prioritize Test Cases for Automation

Prioritize test cases based on factors such as criticality, risk, and frequency of use for automation. Focus on automating high-impact and frequently executed test scenarios.

Step 7: Define Entry and Exit Criteria for Automation

Establish entry criteria for automation, specifying conditions that must be met before automation testing begins. Define exit criteria to determine when automated testing is considered complete.

Step 8: Configure Test Environment

Set up the automation testing environment, including hardware, software, and network configurations. Ensure that it mirrors the production environment as closely as possible.

Step 9: Allocate Automation Resources

Determine the resources required for automation testing, including automation engineers, testing tools, and any additional equipment. Assign roles and responsibilities within the automation team.

Step 10: Develop Test Data and Test Data Management

Create or acquire the test data required for automated testing scenarios. Implement a strategy for managing and maintaining test data throughout the testing process.

Step 11: Schedule and Parallelize Automated Tests

Create a testing schedule for script development, execution, reporting, and maintenance. Consider parallelizing tests to optimize execution time.

Step 12: Reporting and Monitoring

Establish a reporting mechanism to document automated test results, including pass/fail statuses and any identified defects. Monitor the automation process and adjust scripts as needed.

Step 13: Test Data Cleanup and Restoration

Implement procedures for cleaning up and restoring test data and application states after automated test execution to ensure test repeatability.

Step 14: Test Execution and Reporting

Execute automated test scripts according to the defined schedule. Generate automated test reports and communicate them to relevant stakeholders.

Step 15: Defect Management

Define procedures for reporting and tracking defects identified during automated testing. Establish criteria for defect severity and priority.

Step 16: Review and Approvals

Ensure the automated test plan is reviewed and approved by all relevant stakeholders, including the automation team, project manager, and developers.

Step 17: Automation Test Maintenance

Develop a strategy for maintaining automated test scripts to accommodate application or testing requirements changes. This includes version control for scripts and regular updates.

Application Testing Tools

Testsigma:

Description: Testsigma is an AI-driven test automation platform that simplifies test creation and maintenance. It allows testers to create test cases in simple English language, reducing the need for extensive programming knowledge. It supports web, mobile, and API testing.

Use Cases: Testsigma is particularly useful for automating test scenarios in web applications, mobile apps, and APIs.

Benefits: Testsigma’s AI-powered test scripting significantly accelerates the test creation process. Its cloud-based approach facilitates collaboration among testing teams.



Selenium:

Description: Selenium is one of the most popular open-source test automation frameworks for web application testing. It offers Selenium WebDriver, which allows testers to automate browser actions.

Use Cases: Selenium is primarily used for automating web application testing, including cross-browser compatibility testing.

Benefits: Selenium’s wide community support and compatibility with multiple programming languages make it a versatile choice for web testing.

Appium:

Description: Appium is a popular open-source automation framework for mobile applications. It supports both native and hybrid mobile apps on Android and iOS platforms. It can also automate testing for desktop applications (Windows and Mac).

Use Cases: Appium is ideal for automating mobile application testing across different platforms.

Benefits: Appium provides a unified framework for mobile app testing, making it easier for QA 

teams to work on cross-platform projects.

Cypress:

Description: Cypress is a modern end-to-end testing framework designed for web applications. It excels in asynchronous testing and provides a simple API for assertions.

Use Cases: Cypress is particularly useful for web application testing, especially when dealing with JavaScript-heavy applications.

Benefits: Cypress’s real-time reloading and interactive debugging capabilities make it a preferred choice for web developers and testers.

Percy:

Description: Percy is a visual testing platform that helps ensure the visual consistency of web applications. It captures and compares screenshots of web pages to detect visual regressions.

Use Cases: Percy is mainly used for visual testing, ensuring UI elements appear correctly across different environments and configurations.

Benefits: Percy helps identify subtle visual discrepancies that may not be caught by traditional functional testing.

In any comprehensive quality assurance process, a combination of automated and manual testing is often employed.

Automated testing tools like Testsigma, Selenium, and Appium streamline repetitive and regression testing, while manual testing ensures that the software appeals to human users and meets their expectations, especially in terms of aesthetics and user experience.

Best practices for Application Testing

Effective application testing is essential to ensure the quality and reliability of software. Here are some best practices to follow:

Early Testing: Begin testing as early as possible in the software development life cycle (SDLC). This helps identify and address issues early, reducing the cost of fixing defects later.

Test Planning: Develop a comprehensive test plan that outlines the testing objectives, scope, resources, and schedule. Having a well-defined plan ensures that testing efforts are organized and focused.

Test Automation: Implement test automation for repetitive and critical test scenarios. Automation helps in faster and more accurate testing, especially for regression testing.

Continuous Testing: Integrate testing into the CI/CD pipeline to perform continuous testing. Automated tests should run automatically with each code change to catch issues early.

Test Data Management: Ensure proper management of test data. Maintain a clean and consistent test data environment to avoid false positives and negatives in test results.

Defect Tracking: Use a robust defect tracking system to log, prioritize, and manage defects effectively. Clear documentation of defects aids in their efficient resolution.

Test Environment: Maintain a stable and representative test environment that resembles the production environment. This helps in simulating real-world scenarios.

Traceability: Establish traceability between test cases and requirements. Ensure that each test case can be linked back to a specific requirement, facilitating coverage analysis.

Regression Testing: Regularly perform regression testing to verify that new code changes do not introduce defects into existing functionality.

Performance Testing: Conduct performance testing to assess the system’s scalability, speed, and responsiveness under different load conditions.

Application Testing Challenges

Application testing can be challenging due to various factors. Here are some common challenges:

Complexity of Software: Modern software applications are often complex, with intricate architectures and numerous integrations, making testing more challenging.

Changing Requirements: Frequent changes in project requirements can disrupt testing efforts and lead to scope creep.

Test Data Management: Managing and maintaining test data can be complex, especially when dealing with sensitive or confidential information.

Time Constraints: Tight project schedules may limit the time available for thorough testing, potentially leading to inadequate coverage.

Resource Constraints: Limited resources, including skilled testers and testing tools, can hinder testing efforts.

Test Environment Issues: Consistent or stable test environments can result in reliable test results.

Communication Challenges: Effective communication between developers, testers, and stakeholders is crucial but challenging, particularly in geographically distributed teams.

Test Automation Challenges: Implementing and maintaining test automation can be challenging due to the need for skilled engineers and evolving technologies.

Non-Functional Testing: Testing non-functional aspects like security, usability, and performance requires specialized expertise and tools.

Test Maintenance: Keeping automated test scripts up to date as the application evolves can be resource-intensive.

Testsigma for software test automation

Testsigma is a robust test automation platform that seamlessly integrates into the software development process, ensuring efficient and reliable testing. In a real-world scenario, let’s consider a web-based e-commerce application. Here’s how Testsigma plays a pivotal role:

Test Case Creation: Test engineers use the Testsigma platform to create test cases for various critical functionalities of the e-commerce site. These test cases include actions like product search, adding items to the cart, and checkout processes. The intuitive interface of Testsigma allows testers to create these cases with ease.

Test Data Management: Within Testsigma, testers manage and maintain test data, ensuring that the application is tested under various scenarios. This data includes product details, user information, and payment methods.

Test Execution: Test execution is automated using Testsigma. Test engineers schedule test runs to simulate real user interactions with the application. Testsigma interacts with the application’s front end, just like a human user, to perform actions like selecting products, adding them to the cart, and completing a purchase. It captures screenshots and logs for each step.

Defect Reporting: Testsigma automatically generates detailed reports and sends notifications to the testing team if any discrepancies are detected during testing. The platform’s screenshot-capturing feature allows testers to visualize issues, making identifying and fixing them easier.

Regression Testing: Whenever code changes or updates are made to the e-commerce site, Testsigma plays a vital role in regression testing. It re-runs the previously created test cases to ensure new changes have not introduced defects into existing functions.

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Conclusion

In conclusion, effective application testing is a cornerstone of software development, ensuring that software meets quality standards and user expectations. It involves various methodologies, tools like Testsigma, and best practices to identify and rectify defects, ultimately delivering robust and reliable applications to users.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is application testing with an example?

Application testing evaluates software applications to identify and rectify defects or issues, ensuring that they function correctly and meet user requirements. For example, in a banking application, application testing would involve verifying that users can log in securely, perform transactions accurately, and access their account information without any errors.

Are application testing and software testing the same?

While the terms are often used interchangeably, there is a subtle difference. Application testing is a subset of software testing specifically testing individual software applications (e.g., a web application, mobile app, or desktop application). On the other hand, software testing encompasses a broader scope, including testing software systems, components, and integrations at various levels, such as unit testing, integration testing, and system testing.

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