Software QA Testing Process: Overview, Types, and Process Stages | TestFort Blog
Proofreading an email or content piece before sending it into the world saves you from embarrassing errors. Well, testing a software product for bugs, defects, and overall effectiveness saves you a lot of cash and damage to your reputation. How can you assure your product is good, and what does the QA testing process involve?
Let’s look at the steps in the software testing process and the different types and approaches QA specialists use, starting with a brief overview of what software testing is.
Software Testing: Brief Overview
Before we dive into the types of software testing, let’s get a quick overview of what it is and why it’s crucial to modern IT development.
What Is Software Testing?
Software testing refers to the process of evaluating a product to ensure it meets the requirements and to identify errors, missing specifications, and gaps between current and stipulated conditions.
Software testing often involves executing software manually or with automated tools to make sure it functions properly and provides a good user experience.
Quality Assurance (QA) vs. Quality Control (QC)
Quality assurance and quality control are two essential aspects of the software development life cycle that ensure the product satisfies the requirements. However, they differ in their approach to verifying the quality.
On the other hand, QC focuses more on ensuring that the software product complies with the requirements at a given moment. Unlike QA, QC is generally reactive and detects issues that already exist in the product.
In this article, we’ll focus more on the QA aspect of software testing.
Benefits of Software Testing
So, what are the benefits of quality assurance? There are many, but let’s single out just a few of the key points:
- Cost savings. QA makes the development process more cost-effective. By testing software before deploying it, you can avoid the higher repair costs that will emerge when issues are detected later.
- Improved software quality. It can help you to deliver high-quality software to your clients consistently. High-quality software plays a key role in building a positive brand image and attracting more customers.
- Enhanced productivity. Test-driven development often results in better understanding and familiarity with product requirements, leading to enhanced productivity with the development teams.
What Are the Different Types of Software Testing?
Software testing can be categorized in many different ways according to several criteria, such as the approach, method used, or level of tests performed.
When software testing is categorized by approach, the focus is on whether it is carried out with the knowledge of a system’s inner workings. When categorized by method, the focus is on how the testing is actually performed.
In this section, we’ll take a closer look at the different types of software testing by category, methodology, and approach. First, let’s outline the main categories.
Main Categories of Tests
There are two main categories of tests depending on who or what performs the actual tests.
This refers to verifying that existing features meet requirements by working through test cases manually, without the aid of automated tools.
While manual testing can become expensive in the long run, it’s usually cheaper at the outset since you can avoid the costs of automation tools. It’s often used for examining the user interface and other tests that require human intervention.
Automation testing involves the use of tools or scripts to verify software quality. It is ideal for regression testing, which involves repeatedly checking the software after modification to identify newly introduced defects. It’s also better suited for load and performance testing.
Automation is often used in conjunction with manual testing. While the initial investment is higher with automated tools, it will be less expensive and more efficient than manual in the long run.
Types of Software Testing by Method
By method, there are two types. The major difference between them is whether or not the software is running during the test.
Static testing, or verification, is a method that involves checking files and documents to verify requirements are being met without executing the software. It involves activities such as code inspections, technical reviews, and walk-throughs.
This type is often used in the early stages of the development process to identify and rectify bugs quickly. It can be carried out manually or with the aid of automation.
Dynamic testing, or validation, is a technique that involves executing a product to evaluate its behavior with dynamic variables. It ensures the software works consistently without any major defects.
Dynamic testing often discovers defects that cannot be found through static. It’s also essential for detecting and fixing critical issues, such as security loopholes.
Types of Software Testing by Approach
By approach, there are three types of tests based on a QA expert’s involvement in the code and knowledge of a system’s internals.
White Box Testing
White box testing involves verifying the flow of specific inputs through the program to ensure the software works properly. It requires an understanding of the source code and programming skills.
Though white box testing can be complex and time-consuming, it often results in highly optimized code with minimal errors. The white box can also be performed during early development before user interfaces are developed.
Black Box Testing
Black box testing, also known as behavioral or specification-based testing, involves checking software without knowing the internal design and structure of the code.
Black box testing is based on specifications and requirements and verifies that the software produces the expected outputs from different cases. Unlike white box testing, this approach does not require the QA specialist to have programming skills.
Black box testing can be subdivided into:
- Functional — focuses on ensuring that the software’s functionality matches the specified requirements.
- Non-functional — focuses on requirements such as usability, scalability, and performance of the software.
Gray Box Testing
Gray box testing is a combination of the white box and black box approaches. In this approach, QA specialists are partially aware of the inner workings of the software and have access to documentation of the algorithms and data structures implemented.
Gray box testing often improves the overall quality of the software product, as it leverages the input of both developers and QAs and allows the latter to create more intelligent test cases.
Types of Software Testing by Level
By level of product development, you can categorize QA into four types:
Unit testing is the lowest level and involves verifying individual units of software. A unit is the smallest component of software that can be tested independently; this verifies that each individual unit is functioning properly.
Unit testing is usually performed by the developers using automated tools. Writing unit tests makes it easier to find and fix fundamental issues quickly, thus improving the overall quality of the codebase.
Integration testing is the next level. It involves checking the flow of data between the different modules or groups of components in the application. It helps ensure that the interactions between the integrated units are error-free.
Integrated testing can be performed by developers or QA specialists and often involves automated and manual tests. They help secure interface defects, so they don’t escape to higher testing levels.