Types of Tests Used in Software Development
There’s a lot that goes into developing a software application-including software development testing.
Software development testing is broken down into two very broad categories: Functional testing and non-functional testing.
Functional testing includes testing your software’s functionality, i.e., coding, modules, compliance, etc. Functional testing is carried out both manually and via automated testing using tools. However, a developer or programmer doesn't always fill these specific testing roles.
Non-functional testing includes aspects such as performance, reliability, usability, and so on. These tests allow for the developing team to polish their software, so to speak, in terms of making the application in question more user-friendly and accessible overall.
Here’s a list of some of the most common functional and non-functional tests involved in software application development:
Unit testing involves testing each component or module of your software—as in every unit of code written.
This type of testing requires a great deal of programming knowledge and therefore can only be carried out by programmers rather than regular testers.
Integration testing refers to checking whether your combined modules work together. This test is performed after integrating your modules, and it’s less rigorous compared to unit testing.
End-to-end testing is a form of functional testing for your entire software system—hence the name. End-to-end testing is carried out far less than integration tests, and tools, are often used to conduct this type of test.
When you need to test your software application’s user interface, you’ll need to conduct a user interface (UI) test. These tests ensure that the user interfaces have been developed properly according to the specifications outlined at the beginning stages of the application’s creation.
Most importantly, UI tests also ensure that your application’s user interface is intuitive and user-friendly as well as aesthetically pleasing.
By law, all software applications and websites must be ADA compliant. Therefore, you must test your software to see if it’s accessible to disabled people via accessibility testing.
Accessibility testing covers the blind, color blind, deaf, and more ensuring that your application can be used by everyone.
Alpha testing was designed to search for all the possible errors and issues within your entire software application. It’s typically carried out as the second-to-last phase of app development and is performed by the developers before a product launch to ensure error-free usage.
The only caveat to alpha testing is that it’s done in a virtual environment that only resembles a real environment versus performing the test in a real environment. However, alpha testing is still quite accurate.
Beta testing takes place after the alpha testing, making it the last phase of app development before the product launch.
Unlike alpha testing, beta testing is carried out in a real user environment, but only by a limited number of users. This is to ensure that the software is 100% error-free and functions properly.
Additionally, beta testing involves collecting feedback from the chosen users so that developers can make the appropriate changes. This is why new software applications are often listed as beta versions, meaning they’re test versions. Once the testing is complete, the software can officially be released to the public.
Ad-hoc testing is performed as is, meaning there aren’t any test cases, plans, documentation, or systems involved. It also means that the testing isn’t systematic like the other types of testing.
Ad-hoc testing is primarily effective for detecting technical issues that cannot be uncovered using test case approaches. These tests can also be carried out by any person involved in the software’s creation.
Compatibility testing is critical as it involves checking the compatibility of your software with the various operating systems, web browsers, network environments, hardware, etc., in current use.
For example, web applications such as Grammarly are tested to ensure they’re not only accessible but also functional among the different versions of the most commonly used browsers.
Backward compatibility testing is used to ensure that new or updated versions of software applications are compatible with older versions of operating systems and web browsers in current use.
Most of the time, applications are updated to specifically match the standards and style of the newest operating environments. When this happens, backward compatibility support becomes necessary to ensure that the latest version of applications can still function properly in the particular environment in use.
Browser compatibility testing ensures that your web application is compatible with the various browsers in use. This type of testing also ensures that your web app can be easily accessed from whichever major web browser is being used.
Performance tests evaluate your software application’s performance. It lets you know whether the performance is good or bad, and depending on the testing tool you use, it’ll analyze the issues that crop up so you can figure out the best way to fix them.
Load testing is a type of performance test. This type of test in specific measures the amount of load a system can take before your software’s performance begins to take a dive.
Therefore, load tests aren’t meant to measure the functionality of your software but its load-bearing capacity. With dashboards like those in RevDeBug you could see what is the current load, if your system has problems and set up notifications based on identified metrics that will help your team react in the right time.
Recovery testing is used to check whether your software application can recover from crashes and how quickly it recovers.
Crashes are inevitable, regardless of software quality. Recovery testing allows you to implement the necessary procedures that’ll get your application up and running with minimal downtime.
When you need to make changes within your software whether it be modules, functions, or other components, you have to retest the system to ensure your modifications worked.
This is where regression testing comes into play as it’s meant to test the entire application system post-modification to ensure that everything is working as it should be.
Agile testing follows the rules of agile methodology. This type of testing in particular is carried out by your quality control team from the perspective of the user. That means features are tested as they’re developed.
API testing is another form of code testing, much like unit testing. However, unlike unit testing, API testing is carried out by the quality control team.
Black box testing is also performed by the quality control team. This test is used to check the application’s functionality, however, technical knowledge of the application and its coding or internal structure isn’t necessary.
White box testing is essentially the opposite of black box testing as it requires knowledge of the application’s internal structure and coding logic. Therefore, it must be carried out by the development team.
Security testing is performed to ensure that security breaches can be prevented. These tests are always conducted by security experts to find any security weaknesses within your application so that they can be addressed.