software testing

Software testing: A basic guide to the different types

Written on September 20, 2021 by Jonathon Webley

The last thing you want when you are launching a new app is for release day to come, and for users to leave unforgiving reviews because it is riddled with embarrassing bugs.

How do you avoid this? Through software testing of course!

Making mistakes is human, we all know that, but every business has an end goal in mind for their product – and this comes with its own set of expectations.

Many businesses define the success of their end goal by the achievement of the outcome matching the expected result – but they will have to face the consequences of human error along the way.

There is no excuse, however, for businesses to say that their product is compromised due to manual errors. There has to be a process in place for this to be prevented. This is where software testing comes in, as an essential solution for software development companies.

What is software testing?

Software testing is the method that is used to check whether the actual software product matches expected requirements and is defect-free. The purpose of software testing, therefore, is to identify errors, gaps and missing requirements, through analysis, examination, evaluation, and observation of different aspects of the software.

This is why software testing should be the penultimate step before launching the product to market.

Professional software testers will use a combination of automated tools and manual testing, and then report their results to the product development and project management team. The end goal of software testing is to deliver a quality product to the customer, which is one of the reasons that software testing is so important.

Why is software testing so important?

It is common for many software startup companies to skip the testing phase for budget reasons, as they think that this won’t be a problem. However, for a product to make a great first impression, it needs to be top-notch – and for this reason, testing the product for bugs is critical.

Similarly, large businesses that are already established, need to maintain their customer base and market share, so they have to ensure the products they deliver to their end-user continue to be bug-free.

So, why is software testing so important for software development?

  • Enhances product quality ensuring businesses continues to bring value to their customers through the offer of bug-free software
  • Improvement in security meaning customers feel safe inputting their personal information into the product (especially important for banking or eCommerce apps)
  • The ever-increasing browser and device options available to customers means that software developers should ensure the app works on different devices and platforms

Types of software testing

Software testing can be categorised into many types, depending on several criteria.

The first two types of software testing are automated and manual testing, with automated testing being broken down into code-based, codeless or hybrid.

Tests can also be categorised depending on how much is known about the internal implementation of the system being tested – either black-box (where you have the least information about how a product is built and use the product as the end-user would), white-box (where you have most of the information about the product and want to make the code better), or grey-box (where you have partial information about the product and want to find bugs that the user wouldn’t know about).

Finally, we can also group software tests into functional or non-functional testing, depending on the business requirements for the application.

  • Functional testing concentrates on the behaviour of the software, and so the source code does not play a major role in this. The various types of functional testing include:
    • Beta / Acceptance testing where intended users try the product and report any bugs
    • Interface testing to check whether the communication between two software systems is correctly carried out
    • Integration testing of individual components or modules after they are combined in a group
    • Regression testing of old test cases after a new functionality has been implemented
    • Sanity testing related to the working of the programme
    • Smoke testing of simple and basic functionalities, such as logging in
    • System testing to verify the compliance of completed software with specifications
    • Unit testing of individual software components to see whether they behave according to the requirements
  • Non-functional testing looks at parameters such as performance, reliability, and usability – and includes:
    • Compatibility testing to see if the app is compatible with varying environments
    • Compliance testing to determine compliance with external and internal standards
    • Install testing to see if a product works according to expectations after installation
    • Load testing of an app under a huge workload
    • Localisation testing to check the behaviour of the product according to local or cultural environments or settings
    • Performance testing of the app under the required workload
    • Recovery testing to determine an application’s capacity to recover from crashes and failures
    • Reliability testing to see whether an application can perform a particular task without failure in a specified timeframe
    • Security testing to check whether the system is safeguarded against deliberate or sudden attacks from external sources
    • Stress testing to determine robustness beyond regular operation
    • Usability testing to explore the end-users ease of use
    • Volume testing of the system by loading it with an increased volume of data

As you can see, testing is an integral part of the software development cycle. If you want to be part of this cycle, or you are a business owner who wants to bolster their software testing team, then contact Agile Recruit today.