The Importance of Testing Your Software Code
Testing software code is a critical function of information technology product validation. If the process of testing is not followed, the end use product may be defective and potentially put a business or organization at risk. Detecting and fixing bugs in software development is a way to ensure the end quality of products.
What is Software Testing?
There are a variety of interpretations of how and what to test in the development of software. Testing can be done manually or via automation. A good working definition is provided below from Wikipedia:
“Software testing is an investigation conducted to provide stakeholders with information about the quality of the software product or service under test. Software testing can also provide an objective, independent view of the software to allow the business to appreciate and understand the risks of software implementation. Test techniques include the process of executing a program or application with the intent of finding failures and verifying that the software product is fit for use.
Software testing involves the execution of a software component or system component to evaluate one or more properties of interest. In general, these properties indicate the extent to which the component or system under test:
meets the requirements that guided its design and development,
responds correctly to all kinds of inputs,
performs its functions within an acceptable time,
is sufficiently usable,
can be installed and run in its intended environments
achieves the general result its stakeholders desire.”
Software testing, like any engineering plan, begins with formulation of a process. According to ANSI/IEEE 1059 standard – “A process of analyzing a software item to detect the differences between existing and required conditions (i.e., defects) and to evaluate the features of the software item”. Testing is a process rather than a single activity and involves a variety of components. It can involve both static and dynamic testing. Static testing includes reviewing of the documents (including source code) and static analysis. Dynamic testing of the software code is executed to demonstrate the result of running tests.
Stages of Software Testing:
Although there can be many strategies and choices for software testing, the basic stage flows include: 1) Unit Testing, where individual units/components of a software/system are tested to validate that each unit of the software performs as designed, 2) Integration Testing where individual units are combined and tested as a group to expose faults in the interaction between integrated units, 3) System Testing where a complete, integrated system/software is tested is to evaluate the system’s compliance with the specified requirements,
and Acceptance Testing where a system is tested for acceptability to evaluate the system’s compliance with the business requirements for delivery.
Software testing Life Cycle:
Software testing is integral in the process for software development that is called the Software Development Life Cycle (SDLC). When a software development project is evolving, you need to be able to identify and mitigate errors may appear in any phase of the life cycle. SLDC is a framework for defining and organizing tasks. The common SLDC international standard for software life-cycle processes is called ISO/IEC 12207. The graphic below provides a visual of what is entailed in the SDLC framework and verification process.
Software Testing Methods:
Blackbox testing is he technique of testing without having any knowledge of the interior workings of the application. Typically, while performing a black-box test, a tester will interact with the system's user interface by providing inputs and examining outputs without knowing how and where the inputs are worked upon.
White-box testing is the detailed investigation of internal logic and structure of the code. To perform this type of testing on an application, a tester needs to know the internal workings of the code.
Grey-box testing is a technique to test the application with having a limited knowledge of the internal workings of an application. In grey-box testing, the tester has access to design documents and the database.
Benefits of Software Testing:
For most companies, software testing is used for quality assurance purposes that brings value to the users. The testing checks alignment, user interface, and functionality of the products that ultimately translates to customer satisfaction. If you are planning to launch an application, it is a must to check the compatibility and performance of the same in a wide array of operating systems and devices. Testing is a reputational enabler that helps ensure that quality products and any troubling issues are fixed before they are brought to the marketplace.
Testing also is a budget issue because it is cost-effective. It allows for planning and saves money in the software development process where bugs and misconfigurations can be caught and fixed in early stages of the software development lifecycle.
Security is another factor for the need for software testing. If security capabilities are built into the products in development, it builds trust for the users. Product security is a fundamental requirement for both industry and government, especially with the heightened sophistications of cyber threat actors.