A Comprehensive Guide to the Different Types of Software Testing

After completing a software project, the application needs to be tested. But why should one care about testing a software application?

Software testing is crucial to ensure that the software, product, or application performs correctly and meets specific requirements.

The primary objectives of software tests are to eliminate bugs and enrich the software regarding user experience, performance, security, and so on.

Depending on the specific goal, type of software and other considerations, different types of software testing can take place.

This article divides the wide range of software tests into broad categories and then discusses each type, its meaning and its significance for the software industry.

So, let’s get started.

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Types of Software Testing: Primary Categories

Before we move on to the details of each type of software test, it is essential to divide software testing into two main categories. These are functional testing and non-functional testing.

Functional testing implies testing the practical aspects of a software application. The QA team must test every functionality to see if you obtain the desired results.

Functional tests can be performed both manually and with the use of automation tools. Manual testing is easy, but one must use the right tools.

Non-functional testing is testing the non-functional aspects of an application, such as usability, reliability, performance, and security. Non-functional tests follow the functional tests.

With non-functional testing, you can improve the software quality to a great extent. Non-functional tests enable further polishing of the software. Non-functional tests are not manual and need specific tools to be executed.

What Are 4 Different Types of Functional Software Testing?

The four main types of functional testing are:

1. Unit Testing

Unit testing is software testing done on an individual unit or component to test its corrections. Unit testing is typically done by the developer at the application development phase. Each unit testing unit is viewed as a method, project, function, or object.

Unit testing is vital because many application defects are detected at the unit test level. The automation tools used for test execution are JUnit, Xunit, and NUnit.

2. Integration Testing

This is a type of software testing where two or more modules of applications are logically grouped and tested as a whole. The focus of this test is to identify defects in communication, interface, and data flow among the modules. While integrating the modules into the whole system, the top-down or bottom-up approaches are used.

For example, consider a user buying a flight ticket from an airline website. He can check the flight details and the payment information though these are two different systems. Integration is done while integrating the airline website and the payment processing system.

3. System Testing

In system testing, the tester evaluates the entire system against specific requirements.

4. Acceptance Testing

Acceptance testing is software testing where the business/client/customer tests the software with real-time business scenarios.

The client accepts the software when all the features and functionalities work as expected. Also called the UAT testing, this is the last phase of testing, after which the application goes into production.

What Are 4 Different Types of Non-Functional Software Testing?

The four main types of non-functional software tests are:

1. Security Testing

A specialized testing team carries out Security Testing. As hacking methods can easily penetrate the system, security testing is done to check how and to what extent the software application is secure from internal and external threats.

The tests include evaluating how much software is secure from malicious programs and viruses and how safe and robust the authentication and authorization processes are.

Security testing also checks the behavior of the software against hacker attacks and malicious programs. The goal is to determine how the software maintains data security despite an attack.

2. Performance Testing

Performance Testing tests an application’s response time and stability by applying load.

By scalability, we mean the ability of an application to withstand the presence of a load. Response time is how fast an application is available to the users. Performance testing is carried out with tools like JMeter, LoadRunner, and Loader. I.O.

3. Usability Testing

Usability testing is testing an application from the user’s perspective to check the extent of user-friendliness.

For instance, let’s consider there is a mobile app for stock trading, and the tester is performing usability testing. Testers can check the scenario to find out if the mobile app is easy to operate with one hand or not. Aspects like the scroll bar, background color etc. are also checked.

The primary idea of usability testing is to ensure that the users can open the app fast and take a glance at it.

4. Compatibility Testing

Compatibility Testing validates how software behaves and runs in a different environment, hardware, web servers and network.

Compatibility testing ensures that the software runs on different databases, configurations, browsers, and versions.

Other Types of Software Testing

Some other significant software tests are standard and frequently executed by testers and QA specialists. These are:

Ad-Hoc Testing

As the name suggests, these tests are performed on an ad-hoc basis, which means they have no reference to the test case nor any plan or documentation to back them up.

The purpose of ad-hoc tests is to identify the defects and break the application by executing any flow of the application or random functionality.

Ad-hoc testing is an informal test method that anyone in the project can perform. It is challenging to find defects without a test case, but it is possible to find some during this test that might not have been detected using the existing test cases.

Back-End Testing

Back-end testing is an integral part of the agile software development process. When data is entered on the front-end application, it is stored in the database, and the testing of this database is called back-end testing.

The testing database involves testing the table structure, stored procedure, schema, data structure, and so on. There are several databases such as MySQL, SQL Server etc. In back-end testing, there is no GUI, and the testers directly connect to the database.

They can seamlessly verify data with proper access by running a few quarters on the database.

Through back-end testing, one can detect issues like deadlock, data loss, data corruption, etc., and fixing them before the software goes live is critical.

Browser Compatibility Testing

This is a sub-type of compatibility software testing executed by a specialized team.

Browser compatibility tests are performed for web applications, ensuring that the software can run with a combination of different browsers and operating systems. This test validates whether a web application runs on all versions of all browsers.

Backward Compatibility Testing

Backward compatibility testing validates whether the newly developed or updated software works well with the older environment or version.

Backward compatibility testing checks whether the new version of the software works appropriately with the file format created by the older version. It also applies to data files, tables and structures created by that older software version.

These software tests are relevant for software configuration management.

Types of Software Testing Takeaway

However, all the software testing types mentioned above are part of testing.

There are still over 100 software tests, but their usability is restricted to the types of projects. Hence, the standard software tests will primarily be used in a software testing life cycle.

Also, different organizations can use different definitions and alternative software testing processes, but the basic concept remains the same. The implementation method of the tests changes as per the change in project scope and requirements.

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