Why do you need software testing and which type to choose?

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You definitely should have heard about testing, unless you spent last 10 years in a nuclear vault. Software testing is not a gimmick or customer’s whim, but an integral part of an IT industry. Globalization and the Internet have made customer the king. Thousands of websites, mobile apps and services jostle with each other for customer’s attention. It takes them only one click or tap to get rid of your product and choose the one of your rivals. There are a lot of factors that can make user stay with you and flawless quality is the main one. You may ask – how to ensure that your product won’t fail while being used? It’s…testing!

Testing in a nutshell is a check whether the software meets some special requirements and functions as planned. The problem is that it’s not just “it works or not”. It could work slower, perform unwanted actions and don’t perform wanted ones, freeze up or whatever. The more sophisticated the system is – the more sophisticated and diverse are the methods of testing its functions.

The most common software testing methods

  • Functional testing – The correspondence of the product to the functional specification is tested.
  • Exploratory testing – User freely explores the product and finds unpredicted (from the developer’s point of view) problems.
  • Regression testing – Ensures that modifications that developers implement neither add new bugs nor bring eliminated ones back to life.
  • Test cases – This kind of testing refers to scripted scenarios with specific steps that users should go through and verify that everything works as described.
  • Usability testing – Checks the user acceptance of the product, how your potential end-user will perceive it.  That’s where the “user-friendliness” is tested!
  • Performance testing – Is your product able to manage high load (you are waiting for thousands of users, aren’t you?) and perform as intended.
  • Security testing – The data breach of your product can be a catastrophe, so it is necessary to secure it to prevent leaks of sensitive private information of your users.
  • Localization testing – Optimizes the product’s appearance and language correspondence to different regions.

In general, testing has two main approaches: manual and automated. Manual is performed by a person, automated is performed by a script created by a person. Recently, a trend of automated testing popularization has emerged. It is even said that in some time automated testing will replace manual entirely. From one point of view, scripts are efficient, reusable and once developed easier to handle than a live person. But as the end-users of all this software are people, not robots, it is only a human who can check crucial points.

There are the cases when manual testing is the best option:

Running short-term – Automation is an investment into a more skilled and expensive specialist, in developing scripts and methods. They will be compensated in the course of time, but if you have a development dash – it is useless.

Exploratory testing – Scripts can’t mimic the user’s behavior and reactions (praise God they still can’t!).

Visual issues/artifacts – It’s only a human that can detect visual distractions, incorrect text, wrong contrast and other appearance problems.

Localization testing – Obvious. Scripts can’t verify the conformance to the human standards.

Dynamic environment – Whether the source code changes, the script has to be changed too. Imagine adjusting your automated scripts with each modification which you often do. Changing the product frequently – test manually. That’s it.

Robots were constructed to help people, so the automated scripts were. They are irreplaceable when you have to perform iterative and time-consuming routine testing where a manual QA engineer can overlook something. In fact, the holy war about which testing type: manual or automated is better, is pointless. The wise decision will be to take advantage of both approaches.
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