Software companies in Sri Lanka have long since been well established within the global software outsourcing market as a reliable source for building cost-effective yet scalable applications. As teams strive to constantly be in lockstep with trending technologies, an equal amount of focus needs to be directed towards meeting clients’ end requirements.
In a business environment that is fast-paced and aggressive, requirements may shift in short notice – making even the most seasoned software companies scramble in order to recalibrate processes and incorporate new feedback in equally short notice. With workloads ever increasing in volume and challenges getting complex by the day, software teams need an approach that is nimble enough to meet scaling demands, while maintaining an unwavering quality in end outcomes.
This is where software testing comes in. Usually known for detecting and reporting bugs to the development team, software quality assurance specialists now form integral components of any software development team to do so much more. Owing to the holistic nature of their involvement in modern software development projects, software quality assurance specialists today collaborate well before any code is written.
Being a software development company ourselves, EFutures understands the magnitude of software testing – as well as the teams that make it possible. In this article, we cover everything you’ll need to get started with software testing, as well as some tips on how to improve existing workflows for improved productivity.
Although quality assurance in general is self-explanatory, it offers a multitude of benefits in the area of software development that aren’t always directly obvious. With software development in Sri Lanka deeply emphasising on impeccable product quality in the interest of meeting client requirements, some key benefits of software quality assurance include:
This is a no-brainer, as software quality assurance, if done right, will lead to an application that functions as intended, while meeting client goals in turn. From intelligent navigation journeys to clutter-free interfaces, keen attention to detail during the testing phase can help developers build a final product that adds genuine value to their end user base.
The pleasant side-effect of a software product that has been mindfully tested and implemented. Software that is easy to access and use is bound to be a hit with your customers, thereby making diligent testing an effort that is worthwhile.
Regular and thorough testing, especially when done by keeping security protocols and loopholes in mind can enable quality assurance specialists to identify any gaps that cyber attackers could use in order to exploit an enterprise network. Identifying such security gaps can enable developers to fix them well ahead of time, and significantly mitigate any future risk.
Functional testing focuses on software documentations, specifications and any other protocols. Non-functional testing, on the other hand, focuses instead on end results, such as usability, speed, performance and stress. Both forms of software testing are important, and need to be used in conjunction with one another.
Examples of non-functional testing include:
Black box testing examines a software application based on the outcomes it generates upon interaction, while white box testing checks source codes for bugs. As a result, white box testing requires programming expertise to be able to identify any errors within source code, while its black box counterpart can be executed by interacting with the software from the front-end.
Although being two different types of software testing, black box testing and white box testing are both sides of the same coin; while the former takes an outside-in approach, the latter looks from the inside and out. This makes both black box testing and white box testing indispensable, as a combination of the two can deliver most clarity in terms of how accurate and aligned your final product is.
Static testing examines source codes for bugs before execution, while dynamic testing examines application outputs upon execution. A static approach to software testing functions as a preventive measure, by catching glitches well before codes are compiled. Dynamic testing follows from that point onwards, so software testing teams can perform a variety of functional and non-functional tests to detect any errors.
While both static and dynamic testing need to be used for comprehensive software testing, each has their pros and cons. Static testing may feel more complex in the beginning as it involves going through codes and documentations with utmost attention to detail, but can reap significant cost benefits as errors are detected and corrected early. The opposite can be said for its dynamic counterpart; faster turnarounds, but the possibility of incurring high costs, owing to detecting bugs at a much later stage.
While manual testing involves human intervention to detect bugs, automated testing ensures this is done programmatically. Many basic forms of testing such as unit tests can be accurately automated, which helps save time and frees software testers to focus on test tasks that are unique or complex in nature. Many leading software testing platforms enable testers to build test scripts which can then be automatically run to detect bugs, significantly helping minimise human errors in bug detection as well.
It is always wise to break larger goals into smaller, bite-sized ones, and software testing is no exception. As is the case with most software development projects, factors such as scope creep, resource bottlenecks and even changing deadlines can inundate teams that are already under pressure.
Approaching software testing with individual components or capabilities in mind can make a significant difference in the quality of decision making, while initiating test practices as early as possible during the software development life cycle ensures alignment of all operations in accordance to client/user end objectives that were determined at the start of the project.
User Acceptance Testing (UAT) is a final testing layer that is incorporated after all other forms of testing have concluded, by having end users or the client test the software for themselves. Upon approval, the code is then transferred into production, for eventual deployment. Although UAT is conducted after software development teams are done with their own testing, it can be useful to involve end users earlier on during the process as well.
Whether it’s by inviting your client to test parts of the software during the development stage or by introducing new capabilities as beta features to end users, software testing teams can help invite fresh perspectives from the very user base they are building for.
Regression testing involves testing existing functions and capabilities of an application in the wake of a security patch or software update. As updates could render malfunction within existing code, regression testing becomes vital for ensuring that new changes made don’t impact an application’s existing functionalities, thereby enabling smoother improvements at scale.
Executing different types of software tests with security in mind can enable software testers to uncover loopholes well ahead in advance, so they can be fixed proactively. This enables the development of a software or application that is resilient in the face of cyber attackers, as it helps prevent undue exploitation (or significantly mitigate any ill effects, in the least).
Software testing is more than just the routine check of bugs and errors in an application before it is deployed into a live environment; it is a crucial component that determines the overall health of your software, while ensuring that every capability is in line with product specifications. Paying great emphasis on product quality, software testing can also ensure improved customer satisfaction, as user-generated feedback can be escalated to improve product capabilities in turn.
With different types of software testing available, there isn’t a one-size-fits-all solution in terms of which method to apply. However, some basic forms of testing such as unit tests can be essential tasks for even the smallest of software development teams to execute. Ideally, incorporating all major forms of software testing (which include both functional and non-functional types) in combination with one another is advisable, as each can offer a specific angle of insight into the workings of your software product.