Software testing plays a vital part of the software development lifecycle that ensures the quality, reliability, and performance of all products. It involves evaluating a software application or system to identify defects, errors, or gaps that may impact its functionality. In this blog, we will explore the fundamentals of software testing, discuss the importance of testing, and differentiate between manual testing and automation testing, that are two widely used testing practices followed in the industry.
What is the Importance of Software Testing
- Ensuring Quality: Software testing is crucial for delivering a high-quality product. By identifying and resolving defects, testing ensures that the software functions correctly, meets user expectations, and provides a seamless experience.
- Enhancing User Satisfaction: Through testing, usability issues, compatibility problems, or performance bottlenecks can be identified and addressed. This results in improved user satisfaction and a positive user experience.
- Reducing Risks and Costs: Early detection and resolution of defects during the testing phase help mitigate risks and reduce the likelihood of expensive fixes or rework later in the software development lifecycle. This saves time, effort, and costs associated with fixing issues post-release.
- Security and Reliability: Software testing plays a critical role in identifying vulnerabilities and security loopholes. By performing security testing, organizations can ensure the confidentiality, integrity, and availability of user data and protect against potential cyber threats.
7 Building Blocks of Effective Software Testing
These seven principles serve as fundamental guidelines for effective software testing, helping testing teams make informed decisions about where and how to focus their efforts to deliver high-quality software products.
Testing Shows Presence of Defects: The first principle emphasizes that the primary purpose of testing is to identify defects or issues within the software. It demonstrates the existence of problems that could potentially affect the functionality, performance, or user experience. However, even if testing doesn’t find defects, it doesn’t guarantee that no defects exist. Testing provides valuable information about the quality of the software, but it can’t guarantee its perfection.
Exhaustive Testing is Impossible: It’s practically impossible to test every single input, scenario, or combination within a software application. The potential number of test cases is often immense, and time and resources are limited. Therefore, testing efforts need to be targeted toward the most critical and high-risk areas of the software. The goal is to achieve a balance between the level of testing and the level of risk tolerance.
Early Testing: This principle stresses the importance of starting testing as early as possible in the software development lifecycle. Detecting defects early helps in reducing the cost of fixing them later. It’s more cost-effective to identify and rectify issues during the initial stages of development than after the software has progressed further. Early testing also provides faster feedback to the development team, enabling them to make improvements before more work is added.
Defect Clustering: This principle suggests that defects are not evenly distributed across all parts of the software. In many cases, a small number of modules or components tend to contain most defects. By focusing testing efforts on these critical areas, testers can maximize the chances of identifying and fixing significant issues, thus improving the overall quality of the software.
Pesticide Paradox: The pesticide paradox warns that using the same set of test cases repeatedly can lead to a decrease in the effectiveness of testing. Over time, these tests become less effective and
finding new defects because the software evolves. To address this, testers need to continually update and create new test cases to ensure that different aspects of the software are being examined thoroughly.
Testing is Context-Dependent: This principle acknowledges that testing effectiveness is influenced by the context in which the software operates. Factors like the software’s complexity, its intended use, the environment it will be used in, and user requirements all play a role in shaping the testing strategy. Different software projects may require different testing approaches based on their unique contexts.
Absence-of-Errors Fallacy: Just because a specific aspect of the software has been tested and no errors were found does not imply that the software is entirely free of defects. Testing should cover both functional and non-functional aspects of the software, and a comprehensive testing approach is needed to gain confidence in the software’s quality and reliability.
What is Manual Testing?
Manual testing is a process in which test cases are executed manually without the help of any automated tool. It ensures that all the functions in the application are working, as defined in the requirement document. Since no tools are involved in Manual Testing, it is slow, repetitive, costly, and time-consuming.
Manual testing is helpful where human interaction is required and better suited. For example, User Acceptance testing is a type of manual testing performed when human intervention is necessary to test the ready-to-use product before releasing it in the market.
Manual testing always takes place when human intervention is needed and needs to test the application from a user perspective. Let’s look at an example below to understand better how Manual Testing works.
What is Automation Testing?
Automation testing involves using specialized software tools and scripts to perform repetitive test cases, validations, and verifications automatically. Unlike manual testing, which relies on human intervention, automation leverages pre-written scripts to execute tests, simulating user interactions and evaluating application responses. This approach streamlines the testing process, enhances accuracy, and significantly reduces the time required for repetitive tasks.
Manual Testing vs Automated Testing – Key Differences
The difference between manual testing and automated testing is that in manual testing, you perform the tests step by step without the help of tools, whereas in automated testing, tests are executed automatically using automation tools & frameworks.
|Automation Testing is faster than a manual testing.
|Manual testing requires human resources and is time consuming as well.
|Automation will not allow any random testing.
|It is possible in case of Manual Testing
|The initial investment for automation testing is higher.
|The initial investment for manual testing is lower.
|Automation Testing is more reliable, as it is performed by tools and scripts.
|Manual testing won’t be as accurate as there is a possibility of the human error.
|Investment is needed for testing tools and automation engineers.
|Investment is needed for human resources.
|Automation Testing is cost effective.
|Manual Testing is not cost effective as ROI is lower.
|In automation testing, all stakeholders check test execution results by logging into automation system.
|Manual Tests are usually updated in an Excel/Word, and test results are not readily available.
|Performance Tests like Stress Testing, Load Testing, Spike Testing, etc. must be done by an automation tool only.
|Performance Testing is difficult to do manually.
|It needs less complex test execution set up.
|Manual testing needs have a straightforward test execution setup.
|Automated Tests will not have risks of missing out any test deadlines.
|Manual Testing has a higher chance of missing out the test deadlines.
|Automation testing employs frameworks like Data Driven, Keyword, and Hybrid to speed up the automation process.
|Manual Testing won’t have frameworks but may use guidelines, checklists, and strict processes.
|When to Use?
|It is well suited for Regression Testing, Load Testing, Performance Testing, or repeatable functional test cases.
|It will be suitable for Usability, Exploratory, and Adhoc Testing.
Automation Testing Life Cycle
- Scope of Test Automation: Identifying which test cases are suitable for automation based on complexity, repeatability, and business impact.
- Selection of the Automation Tool: Choosing the appropriate automation tool that aligns with the application’s technology stack, features, and testing requirements.
- Test Plan Design and Strategy: Creating a comprehensive test plan that outlines objectives, scope, testing goals, resource allocation, and the overall strategy for automation testing.
- Test Environment Set Up: Establishing the necessary test environment, including hardware, software, databases, and configurations, to replicate real-world scenarios.
- Test Script and its Execution: Developing test scripts using the chosen automation tool, incorporating test logic, data, and interactions. Executing these scripts to perform automated tests.
- Test Results and Reports: Collecting and analysing test results to determine whether the application meets desired quality standards. Generating reports that provide insights into test coverage, pass/fail status, and any defects identified.
Why Automation Testing?
Automation testing offers numerous advantages over manual testing due to its ability to streamline the testing process, enhance efficiency, and improve the overall quality of software products.
Unlike manual testing, automation can execute a large number of test cases rapidly, providing quicker feedback on code changes and accelerating release cycles. It significantly reduces human errors inherent in repetitive tasks, ensuring consistent and reliable results. Automated tests can be run 24/7, allowing for continuous testing even during non-working hours.
Moreover, automation enhances test coverage by executing tests across different platforms, configurations, and scenarios that would be impractical to cover manually. While manual testing is essential for exploratory and user-centric testing, automation excels in regression testing, complex scenarios, and non-functional testing.
Overall, automation testing enables teams to optimize resources, detect defects early, and deliver high-quality software efficiently in today’s fast-paced development landscape.
Automation Testing Offers Several Benefits
- Automation testing allows for the rapid execution of many test cases, greatly accelerating the testing process. Automated tests can perform tasks in parallel and run 24/7, delivering quicker feedback on software quality and enabling faster release cycles.
- Automation eliminates the human factor from repetitive and monotonous tasks, reducing the likelihood of errors caused by fatigue, distractions, or oversight. Tests are executed consistently and precisely as programmed, minimizing the risk of manual mistakes.
- Automated tests can cover a wide range of scenarios and configurations that would be time-consuming or impractical to test manually. This comprehensive coverage ensures that various aspects of the application are thoroughly tested.
- Automated tests provide consistent and repeatable results every time they are executed. This consistency ensures that tests are not influenced by human emotions, biases, or variations in execution.
- Although there’s an initial investment in setting up and maintaining automation, the long-term cost savings are significant. Automated tests can be reused across projects and versions, reducing the need for extensive manual testing resources.
- Automation frees up human testers from repetitive and time-consuming tasks, allowing them to focus on higher-value testing activities that require critical thinking and analysis. This optimization of resources enhances overall efficiency.
- Automated tests are designed to detect defects precisely and consistently. They can identify subtle issues that might be missed during manual testing, leading to higher software quality and a lower chance of defects reaching production.
- Automation promotes collaboration between development, testing, and other cross-functional teams. It ensures that all team members have access to the same set of automated tests, leading to a shared understanding of the application’s behaviour.
- Automated tests can be integrated into the development process from the start, catching defects early in the development lifecycle. This early detection reduces the cost and effort of fixing bugs in later stages of development.
Stages of Automation Testing Life Cycle
1. Deciding the scope of Test Automation:
It refers to the ability to recognize the viability of automation. When assessing the feasibility, each point of view should be considered. The following items should be dealt with without disappointment at this stage:
- At this point, we determine which application modules can be automated and which cannot.
- Which test cases can be mechanized and how to mechanize them.
- Variables such as cost, team size, and ability should all be taken under consideration.
2. Choosing the Right Automation Tool:
Selecting the correct automation testing device is a basic stage for a Test Automation Life Cycle as testing profoundly relies upon automation devices. At the point when you are searching for the right tool you must remember the following things:
- Financial plan
- Advancements being utilized in the venture.
- Knowledge of the tool which will be used.
3. Plan, Design and Strategy
It is the most fundamental level of the automated testing life cycle technique, defining how to approach and achieve the goal of test automation. We create an Automation procedure and plan at this step. We must consider the following factors when creating this:
- Tools which we choose for automation.
- Recognize which design framework to be utilized after understanding the upsides and downsides of the testing tool.
- Construct a test suite for the Automation experiment in the device to test the executives.
4. Set Up Test Environment
Setting up a machine or a remote machine where test scripts will be executed is part of this phase of the Test Automation Life Cycle. The following are some of the most important aspects of the test environment to consider:
- Test Data
- Multiple Browser
- Automation Framework
- Tool configuration and license
- Selection of environment whether staging or live
5. Test Script Execution
It’s a great time to run the test script after we’ve set up the test environment. It is critical to ensure that all test cases are executed correctly. When the test content is properly developed, it should be implemented by keeping the following in mind:
- A test content ought to involve all practical angles as indicated by the experiment.
- It is important to run scripts in numerous conditions and over different stages.
- Batch execution can be performed to retain time and attempt.
- If the non-fulfilment happens because of some Error, compose a bug report.
6. Examine & Maintenance Approach
It’s the final phase of the automation testing process.
After a wide range of testing is carried out, the testing team examines to determine specific segments that experience an overall number of issue reports. The outcome of the examination proposes whether it requires an extra test attempt or not.
The maintenance approach is an automation testing stage that is used to check whether the new software functionality added to the product is working properly or not. It is used whenever new scripts have been added that need to be inspected and maintained to improve the power of automation scripts.
Automation Software Testing in the Life Science Domain
Automation software testing plays a crucial role in the life science domain, where accuracy, compliance, and safety are of paramount importance. The life science industry includes pharmaceuticals, biotechnology, medical devices, and clinical research, all of which require rigorous testing to ensure the quality and safety of products. Here’s how automation testing is utilized in the life science domain:
- Regulatory Compliance: The life science industry is heavily regulated by agencies like the FDA (Food and Drug Administration) and EMEA (Covering Europe, Middle East, and Africa, called as European Medicines Agency). Automated testing helps ensure that software systems adhere to regulatory requirements, reducing the risk of non-compliance and associated penalties.
- Data Integrity: Automated tests can verify data integrity within software applications, ensuring that critical patient and research data remains accurate and secure. This is vital for maintaining trust and complying with data protection regulations.
- Validation and Verification: Automated testing assists in the validation and verification of software systems used in research, manufacturing, and clinical trials. These tests confirm that software functions as intended, minimizing the potential for errors that could impact patient safety or research outcomes.
- Clinical Trials Management: Automation can streamline the testing of electronic data capture (EDC) systems used in clinical trials. Automated tests can simulate and validate data collection processes, ensuring that clinical trial data is accurate and reliable.
- Data Analysis and Reporting: Automated tests can validate the accuracy of data analysis algorithms used in medical research, preventing errors that could lead to incorrect conclusions or decisions.
- Efficiency and Time Savings: Automating repetitive testing tasks accelerates the testing process, allowing life science professionals to focus on high-value tasks like analysis, research, and decision-making.
Manual testing helps to identify minute issues easily, whereas automation testing would require complete test scripting and execution. Also, Automated testing assists in readily writing and running test cases for redundant tasks.
Which one, in such a case, should be your go-to testing approach, then?
You need to focus on a few requisites before deciding if the manual is right for you or if automation tools are your saviour. In almost every case, the combination of both works the best. Though Manual testing is time-consuming, repetitive, and costly, it can still be helpful in some cases. But automation helps you deal with multiple scenarios faster, and it is economical as well.
We at GenInvo, use both the techniques in all our Software Development products as part of our product testing activities.
Our mission is to use the best of technology to revolutionize the Life Sciences industry. We do this by providing innovative solutions and services within Testing areas to pharmaceutical companies and other players in the industry. This will help deliver high-quality treatments to patients faster and with greater accuracy, cost effectiveness to our partner organizations.
We know the global pharmaceutical market and understand that a culmination of the Software Testing team SMEs would best provide services to these organizations and provide efficient and effective services to the software development.
By: Abhinav Soni, Senior Analyst -Software Testing and
Sahil Sharma, Associate- Software Testing, GENINVO