A software product’s functionality is crucial to a business’s reputation. This is why companies worldwide are constantly looking for reliable testing teams to ensure their applications are flawless. As a result, the Software Testing market is expected to reach $70 billion by 2030. However, failing to test software properly can lead to costly bugs and errors, potentially damaging a business’s reputation. As a result, the demand for software testers, QA, and developers will increase by 25% between 2021-2031. If you’re interested in learning about the different types of testing and how to select the best one for your project, or the advantages of specific testing techniques, this blog will serve as a helpful guide.
Different Types Of Software Testing
There are two main categories for Software Testing: functional and non-functional testing. Every type of Software Testing can be placed under one of these categories. We’ll begin by defining functional testing.
Functional Testing: An Overview
Functional testing is the process of evaluating a software system or application against its applicable requirements or specifications. This testing type focuses on a process’s intended outcome rather than the process itself. Functional testing aims to determine if the software works as intended.
There are four main objectives of functional testing:
- Testing the core functions of the application.
- Testing the primary navigation and usability of the application without any hindrance.
- Checking the accessibility of the system for the user.
- Testing for error conditions and ensuring that appropriate error messages are displayed. Functional testing is typically performed at four levels: Unit, Integration, System, and Acceptance. Each active testing group serves a specific purpose and provides a deeper understanding of the software’s functionality. Let’s take a closer look at the different types of functional testing and their particular levels.
Types Of Functional Testing
White Box And Black Box Testing
White box testing is a technique that can be applied at three levels of functional testing: unit testing, integration testing, and system testing. This method lets the tester know the software’s internal infrastructure and code. It tests the core aspects of the software, such as input and output, decision branches, loops, statements, etc. In contrast to white box testing, black box testing is conducted in an environment utterly unknown to the tester. The tester needs access to the internal code or prior knowledge about the software. Black box testing can be applied to all four levels of functional testing. It is primarily used for functional testing but can also be used for various types of non-functional testing.
Unit testing is functional testing that validates the functions of individual parts or units of software. It is typically performed during the early stages of software development to catch and fix errors before the later stages of the software development life cycle (STLC), saving time and money.
There are four primary techniques used in unit testing:
- Branch Coverage: This technique tests all logical paths and conditions, such as an if-else statement or nested for loops. It ensures that each decision condition from every branch is executed at least once.
- Statement Coverage: This is an essential coverage criterion that calculates the number of statements in the code executed.
- Boundary Value Analysis: This test analyzes boundary values, such as testing values outside of the expected range (e.g., 0 and 32) for invalid conditions.
- Decision Coverage: This technique reports the outcomes (true or false) for each boolean phrase in the source code.
The advantages of unit testing include the following:
- Granular testing that makes it easier to pinpoint defects.
- Enhancing understanding of a particular function through documented outcomes of unit testing.
- The ability to test as independent modules without worrying about other system components.
Component testing, also known as module testing, is similar to unit testing in that it assesses individual parts of an application. While developers typically carry out unit testing, component testing is performed by quality assurance (QA) professionals using a black-box format. QA professionals may also use stubs and drivers to simulate the interaction between components that rely on each other. For example, QA professionals can begin testing in an extensive web application before the entire application can take place. Instead, as soon as the login page is developed, QA can start executing test cases to ensure that the login page functions as desired.
The advantages of component testing include the following:
- Testing the usability of the user interface (UI) during the early stages of development.
- The ability to test the application against SQL injections for security reasons.
- Faster delivery of the software product by reducing development life cycles.
Integration testing is the process of testing how software modules interact and function as a group. After unit testing, different software modules are combined, and integration testing is performed to validate their interaction as expected.
There are three types of integration testing:
- Top-Down approach: In this method, the top-level module is tested first, and then the lower-level modules are integrated.
- Bottom-Up approach: In this method, the lower-level modules are tested first, and gradually higher-level modules are added.
- Hybrid approach: It is a combination of both the above approaches. Testing begins at both levels in the hybrid approach and converges in the middle.
The advantages of integration testing include the following:
- The ability to test many parts simultaneously with at least two endpoints.
- Tracking system defects early in the Software Testing Life Cycle (STLC).
- The ability to test the interaction of modules with API and third-party tools.
After individual modules have been tested for integration, system testing is performed to evaluate the entire system for failures or errors. The primary objective of system testing is to assess end-to-end system specifications.
This type of testing is subdivided into 50 different types of tests, but every Software Testing company uses 3 basic tests, namely:
- Regression testing: This test ensures the integrity of the whole system throughout the development process and checks that old bugs don’t reappear after adding new software modules.
- Functional testing: This test ensures no missing function within the system. • Recovery testing: This test checks the reliability of the system and its ability to recover successfully from possible system crashes.
The advantages of system testing include the following:
- Ensuring that the system performs optimally without crashes.
- Offering a broader perspective of the end product.
- Assuring stakeholders by showcasing the project’s ability to deliver business goals.
Acceptance testing is the final phase of functional testing before the software is made available to the end user. In this phase, the client tests the system for acceptability by verifying if the product performs flawlessly in compliance with business requirements and functionality. The final decision to release the product into the market lies with the client.
There are three main types of acceptance testing:
- Alpha testing: This is a subset of acceptance testing carried out by internal team members. The goal of alpha testing is to detect significant bugs in a yet-to-be-stable project version.
- Beta testing: This is where the application is made available to a selected number of end-users for feedback. Beta testers, being end-users, have no prior knowledge of the application. This helps get an unbiased opinion from a specific set of end-users.
- User acceptance testing: Also known as end-user testing, this type of testing determines whether the application works as intended for the end user. It explicitly checks functionalities that are often used by an end-user.
Advantages of acceptance testing include:
- Omitting misalignment between technical teams and management.
- Identifying red flags that can save from financial and reputational losses.
- Building confidence in stakeholders and business owners.
Besides the six main types of functional testing mentioned above, three other types of testing are performed periodically to check the software’s reliability, performance, and stability. These are:
- Interface testing: This type of testing checks the communication between two software systems through an interface. It ensures software security and the ability to handle network failures.
- Smoke testing: An end-to-end Software Testing technique used to evaluate the core functionalities of the software. It helps detect 80% of bugs during the early stages of the STLC and also assists in faster troubleshooting of regression bugs.
- Sanity testing: This testing is performed to check for any functional issues in the software after introducing new features or changes. It helps to identify missing dependent objects.
Non-functional testing is the second primary type of Software Testing. It is conducted after functional tests and focuses on assessing the application’s readiness from a non-functional perspective. This testing deals with all the non-functional aspects of the application, such as performance, reliability, scalability, etc.
The advantages of non-functional testing include the following:
- Optimizing the product’s performance
- Collecting performance metrics for internal research and improvements
- Testing the application’s behaviour
- Ensuring faster loading and application responsiveness
- Adding a higher level of security.
Types Of Non-Functional Testing
Volume testing is a non-functional testing that ensures that the application responds as intended when dealing with high volumes of data. This type of testing is essential because coping with large data sets can impact the system’s performance. Volume testing ensures that the system’s impact is within a tolerable limit according to testing standards, and it can act as a benchmark to calculate the current system’s scalability.
Advantages of volume testing include:
- Preparing the system for future scalability in terms of data
- Reducing the maintenance of the system by identifying failures arising from data volume
- Decreasing the overall risk of failure due to the sheer volume of data
When software is developed for global use, localization testing is performed as one of the non-functional tests. The purpose of localization testing is to test the linguistic and regional aspects of the application according to a specific geographic location. This type of testing checks if the software is customized for the targeted country. The testing process is thoroughly checked against parameters such as local language, currency, date format, etc. Content and UI are the two major areas that are affected by localization testing.
Advantages of localization testing include:
- Reducing the overall support cost
- Improving flexibility and scalability
- Generating end-user loyalty by providing the best user experience and regional language support.
Performance testing is a series of tests to check whether the software performs optimally. It is classified as a non-functional testing type as it deals with the performance testing of the whole application rather than focusing on functional errors. It is a crucial test as it can improve traffic retention by fine-tuning the app’s performance.
There are multiple types of testing under the domain of performance, but here are five commonly used types:
- Load testing – In this type of testing, the QA induces an expected load on the application and analyzes its performance. Load testing gives a generic idea of an application’s behaviour under normal conditions, latency, and throughput.
- Stress testing – To check the system’s reliability, the system is subjected to more than the expected workload in stress testing. This gives a clear idea about the difference between its intended usage limits and design limits.
- Scalability testing – This type of testing verifies the scalability factor of the software. By gradually increasing the number of users, data, and transactions, the evaluation gives a rough idea of the software’s potential scalability factor for future reference.
- Spike testing – Unlike load and stress testing, where the workload is gradually increased, the system is tested under a burst of load in spike testing. It analyzes how the system will function under sudden traffic spikes.
- Soak testing – Soak testing is elongated load testing, where the application is analyzed for long-term effects like memory leaks, storage problems, etc. The duration of soak testing can last up to several hours.
Advantages of performance testing include:
- Improving the application’s potential to scale
- Ensuring that the application delivers the vision of the project
- Ensuring that the users receive a final product that they can use without frustration.
Usability testing is a method of assessing a product or service by testing it with expected users. The goal is to identify usability issues, collect feedback, and make design improvements. This testing is conducted to ensure the software is easy to use and understand for the end user. It covers user interface design, navigation, and workflow processes.
Advantages of usability testing
- Provides insight into how users interact with the software and how it can be improved
- Ensures that the software meets the needs and expectations of the target users
- Helps to identify and resolve usability issues before the software is released to the market.
Monkey testing is a unique form of non-functional testing where random inputs and values are inputted into the application to ensure it does not crash from unexpected inputs. No specific test cases are prepared for this testing, as randomness is crucial.
Advantages of monkey testing
- It helps in discovering unexpected errors.
- The randomness of monkey testing helps find bugs that can cause system failures.
- It can be performed by anyone, regardless of their knowledge of the system.
Security testing is conducted to identify potential threats to the application and evaluate the overall risk. This analysis helps security experts implement measures to protect against hackers and data breaches. Security testing can be divided into four types: vulnerability scanning, penetration testing, risk assessment, and security audit.
Advantages of security testing
- It tests the effectiveness of cyber defences.
- Reveals unknown vulnerabilities.
- Provides an expert third-party opinion.
Reliability testing is a type of testing that assesses the ability of the software to perform consistently and without failure over a specific period. Reliability testing aims to determine how dependable the software is under normal usage conditions. The QA team performs this type of testing and involves running the software through a series of tests to identify any potential issues or repeating failures.
Advantages of reliability testing
- Ensures that the software can perform consistently and without failure over a set period
- Checks each operation of the software to ensure it works as intended
- Helps identify any repeating failures that may occur in the software, reducing post-deployment costs.
This testing evaluates the software’s performance in various environments, including browsers, operating systems, platforms, and screen resolutions. The main goal of compatibility testing is to ensure that the software is supported across all environments the targeted users may use.
Advantages of compatibility testing
- Improves the software development process by identifying compatibility issues early on.
- Helps detect UI defects, font and colour variations, broken tables and frames, etc.
- Ensures compatibility across different browsers and devices.
When an application is built, it is essential to consider its ability to be ported to different environments in the future. Portability testing is a non-functional test that assesses the feasibility of moving an application from one server to another. This testing is crucial to ensure that the application is adaptable and can quickly move to new environments.
Advantages of portability testing
- Ensures that the application can be easily scaled in the future
- Helps identify dependencies between different applications
- Ensures that the application performs seamlessly across various browsers and devices.
Testing is a crucial aspect of software development, and managers and CTOs need to understand the different types of testing available. This article overviewed the major testing types and categories commonly used in the IT industry. By understanding these other testing techniques, managers and CTOs can make informed decisions on how to utilize them to ensure the quality and functionality of their software. Understanding the different types of testing can help managers and CTOs to make more informed decisions on how to ensure their software meets the needs of their users. Which testing technique did you find the most interesting?
Project Manager at WTA Process oriented tech enthusiast with a key eye on project metrics