Life of a Software Product under Test
The lifecycle of a product starts once the business requirements are obtained from the client. The concerned team which is responsible for it will do a thorough analysis of the same and further design the technical specifications.
These specifications will help the technicians or developers to kick-start their job in software development. Steps involved here are explained below for your easy understanding.
Step 1: Based on high-level product description, a software product is categorized into different modules and then into components or units. These units are developed independently so that their development can continue in parallel by engaging multiple developers.
Once developed, these units are tested individually which will fall under Unit Testing.
Step 2: Individual validation ensures that all the units of a system are performing as expected on functional as well as feasibility grounds. These components, modules or sub-systems are integrated with the next level and then tested as an integrated unit in Integration testing.
Step 3: System Testing comes into the picture in this step where the integrated product would be tested first time as a whole in a pseudo-production environment. This level of testing is performed to check the compliance against functional as well as non-functional business requirements.
Step 4: It is a level of testing that is performed for client acceptability and hence, called as Acceptance Testing. This will be performed just before handling the software to the client, which is the Production environment.
Why is System Testing Important?
System testing is required as developers/testers need to check on the few aspects before moving to the next level.
Few aspects include:
- Needs to be sure of the operation of the software as a unit.
- Needs to check if a product doesn’t skip any functional & non- functional requirements.
- Needs to test the product in a production-like environment.
- Needs to check the product with production-like data.
System Testing includes scenarios based on business risks, use cases or high-level description of the product behavior. Cases related to interactions with different system resources should also be a part of system testing.
Hence, it should be conducted by someone who has a complete knowledge of the required product both at architecture-level as well as business level. Internal knowledge at coding level is not required but system knowledge is mandatory for the tester.
Generally, a separate team would be assigned with the task of System Testing and team will design their own system test-plans & system test cases, which will be different from the ones performed earlier in terms of test coverage. If required, multiple iterations of system testing can be performed in several environments.
What is End-to-End Testing?
Testing a software is an important parameter of Software Quality Assurance. A good quality product always gives a higher level of satisfaction to both the inventors as well as the buyer. To put it, in other words, a qualified or a premium product is a result of thorough regression and removal of the defect at every level.
As explained by the name itself, end-to-end testing is one of the testing levels where an application flow is tested in conjunction with the dependent systems. This is done to ensure smooth interaction with the backend & front-end applications such as databases or GUI using network channels and hence is referred as Chain Testing as well.
Unlike System testing, user interface testing does not play any significant role here but the check is on the underlying data that puts the interface in functioning mode. End-to-end testing is usually performed once the product qualifies System Testing.
Why is End to End Testing Important?
End-to-End testing plays an important role when the developed product needs to be a distributed system and is required to function collectively with the other systems in various environments. In such scenarios, a 360-degree check is required to ensure accurate interaction across different platforms & environments.
The main objectives of end-to-end testing include:
To make sure that the developed product is well coordinated with any of its sub-systems, which may or may not be owned by us.
To check on all of the systems flows from the source systems to the destination systems.
To validate the requirements from an end-user perspective.
To identify issues in the environments that are heterogeneous.
If required, repeatable tests should be conducted to keep a check on the health of the application. At times situation may arise where we see a conflict between the developer and tester on the grounds of understanding the impacted application areas due to minor code changes.
Developers might think the change as minimal but that evolution is significant enough to re-execute the end-to-end test scenarios for a complete system. However, this possibly pushes the delivery dates & may increase the costs as well.