Software

Importance of Software Testing in the IT Industry

Software development companies dedicate a substantial amount of resources and workforce to develop applications according to requirements specified by enterprises or individuals. However, after developing such applications/software, companies are required to ensure that such software/applications perform by the client’s requirements. To ensure that any bugs in the software are identified before the deployment. The importance of this is directly related to the ability of software to measure up to its potential. If the new software is unable to perform the task it was designed for, the client might face severe losses due to the stoppage of work and also adversely affect the business of the software development company. The scope of these procedures is to facilitate identifying a problem in the software; fixing such problems is not within the scope of software testing. Some of the leading methodologies implemented by companies in the IT industry include General, Load, Functional, and Regression Testing. Genius Zone

General Testing

This refers to the general tests carried out on software/applications to ensure the functionality of newly developed software. Some of the common tests included as part of standard Quality Assurance procedures are web performance and usability testing. The web performance testing procedure is mostly engaged in evaluating the online performance of a web-based software application or a website. Usability testing is a mainly subjective approach, which ensures that the software can be utilized effectively in a given set of circumstances. The purpose is to identify the general operating capability of the software/application being tested and help developers determine some areas of improvement for the software. A software development company usually performs general testing of software/applications along with other more advanced methods to ensure that the software conforms to the pre-defined operational capabilities specified by the client/user group.

Load Testing

The load testing procedure simulates operating conditions of the software/application during periods of higher/normal load to gauge the effect of such changes on the functioning of the software/application. This is not the same as stress testing because load testing checks the operational capabilities in normal load and high load conditions. In contrast, stress testing attempts to induce errors in normal operations by using increased system load. This is considered a type of non-functional testing, which software development companies undertake to gauge the multi-user support capabilities of the application.

As a commonly employed practice in the software industry, its specific goals are widely disputed. The term is often utilized in conjunction with volume, reliability, software performance, and concurrency testing. By using load testing, developers can attempt to determine the reason for the slow performance of the software. The common reasons for such slow response commonly include load balancing between multiple servers, client-side processing, network congestion/latency, available database service, and/or bugs in the application server(s) or software. The use of load testing is recommended for software/applications, which are subjected to SLA (service level agreement) for ensuring that the software is capable of supporting multiple users. As the procedure simulates an increase in system load by using multiple virtual users, various software is currently available to carry out load testing. Some of the leading load-testing tools used by developers globally are IBM Rational Performance Tester, Apache JMeter, LoadRunner, etc. Additionally, a load testing tool commonly favored by software testing companies in India is available as part of Microsoft’s Visual Studio Ultimate Edition.

Functional Testing

This type of testing is a type of black-box testing based on the specifications of the software components being tested. The functions of specific components of the software are feeding inputs and checking the output thus obtained. In functional testing, the internal structure of the program is seldom considered. Hence, it is classified as a type of black-box testing. The key steps involved in functional testing include identification of functions, which the software is expected to perform, creation of input data according to specifications of the identified functions, determining output based on the specifications of those functions, executing the test scenario followed by the comparison of the obtained output vs. the expected output. Functional testing is not the same as system testing, as system testing involves the validation of a program compared to the published system or user requirements. In contrast, functional testing is carried out by checking a program concerning established specifications and available design documents for the software/applications.

Regression Testing

Regression testing refers to any software testing, which attempts to identify bugs present in functional or non-functional areas after modifications such as configuration and patch changes. The key function of regression testing is to ensure that the use of a patch or upgrade does not lead to introducing a new bug into the existing system. Additionally, regression testing helps ensure that the changes in one section of the software do not induce changes in another part of the software’s code. Some of the commonly applied regression testing methods include the use of earlier tests to check for alterations in program operation and the search of any previously fixed bugs, which had re-emerged after introducing the new code.

Fixed bugs in software often re-emerge. Regression testing is one of the leading methods to ensure that such re-emergence is identified and easily controlled before any lasting damage occurs. Software development companies repeatedly perform regression testing of software/applications after any change in coding, such as the use of patches, etc., to ensure that the application’s functionality is unimpaired. Such repetitive testing is usually automated using an external tool such as Bamboo, TeamCity, Jenkins, Hudson, Tinderbox, or BuildBot. The QA team generally performs this type of testing in the case of leading software development companies. However, smaller companies are often engaged in outsourcing such services to companies specializing in software QA and testing.

What’s Next?

As new technologies emerge, more testing procedures are being developed and implemented by organizations worldwide to ensure that new software performs according to their requirements and specifications even when stress or when additional functionality is introduced into the software. The emerging testing solutions, powered by new technology, are designed to reduce the time and resources required for testing to streamline the quality control/quality assurance services associated with software development. Some additional types of testing, which are currently used in the software industry are white box testing, system testing, non-functional testing, acceptance testing, and integration testing. Each of these testings was developed to identify and resolve application/software limitations in a specific set of conditions; hence they are useful for software testing carried out in specific quality assurance and testing procedures.

Abhishek is currently working with extend code Software Systems India, an offshore software development [http://www.extendcode.com/] company based at Gurgaon in India, which provides software solutions Web Enabled Solutions, Quality Assurance Services [http://www.extendcode.com/Services/QualityAssuranceServices.aspx], business intelligence solutions and Mobile Solutions, etc. He has worked in the field for over 2 years and authored many articles related to the IT and software industries.