In the world of software development, quality assurance (QA) plays a critical role in ensuring that the end product meets the highest standards of functionality, reliability, and user experience.
At BrightMarbles, we take QA seriously, and our team of experts works tirelessly to identify and eliminate any bugs, glitches, or defects that might compromise the quality of our code.
In this article, we’ll take a closer look at the fundamentals of QA and explore how we leverage cutting-edge tools and methodologies to deliver flawless solutions to our clients.
What Is Software Testing?
QA, also known as software testing, refers to revising and verifying software that includes bug extermination, boosting performance, and keeping the development expenses as low as possible.
These actions are usually carried out by one or more teams of software testers. The number of teams and related members may vary based on project specifics and client requirements.
Typically, a team of testers examines code and software products, searching for errors or any other illogical features that may affect its functionality. The end goal of every testing project is to deliver a bug-free, seamlessly functional and fully operational software product.
BM Insight: While BrightMarbles is a politically impartial organization, we do strongly support certain biz policies. In QA testing, that’s the shift left testing policy. In other words, we’re convinced that the early tester catches the bug. So, we test as early and as often as possible. Learn more about our stance on early testing from the blog post Shift Left Testing: A Key for Improving Your QA Strategy, written by our experienced Test Engineer Bojana Šatara Anić.
Manual Testing vs. Automated Testing
QA testing is divided into manual testing and automated testing. Let’s see what each option brings to the table (and interface).
Manual QA testing refers to software testing carried out by a human tester rather than a machine. This person manually clicks through a software solution, searching for arbitrary or pre-scripted errors with adequate tools.
On the positive side, manual testing is more easily deployed than automated testing, which is suitable for smaller projects with a short lifecycle. It’s more effective in detecting the UX functionality of a software solution.
Conversely, manual testing is too slow for longer and more demanding development projects.
When a machine is inspecting code or product functionality, we talk about automated testing. It’s a broad term that may include various techniques, procedures, and levels of complexity. For instance, an automated testing sequence might test a single action or analyze a string of multi-layer procedures within a software solution. Testers and software engineers determine what each testing session will encompass, based on the general standards and project requirements.
BM Insight: Writing test automation scripts is an important aspect of QA testing. Ideally, it should be a joint effort between software engineers and test engineers. In her article Should Test Automation Be Left to Software Engineers, our well-versed QA Specialist Jovana Simić explains what each of them should focus on to prepare valid and effective automated tests.
Importance of Software Testing
Software testing is crucial because it’s both a business promise and a performance guarantee. It helps engineers ensure that the work of their hands (and minds) delivers the required quality, durability, and functionality.
Timely software testing is even more important, bringing a twofold benefit: the issues are discovered on time, and the total costs will be lower. Whatever defects, bugs, or malfunctions testers find in the early stages, it’s easier to make corrections and rewire the software solution, thus saving production time.
A thoroughly tested and well-prepared software system amounts to your business credibility, builds client loyalty, and keeps the company in question competitive in the volatile IT market.
BM Insight: At BrightMarbles, we say, “Test it often, test it fast.” From our experience, continuous testing from the first line of code adds to making less expensive and operationally excellent software solutions. Our Product and Delivery Manager Dunja Ibročić explains how testing within the Agile framework improves software development efficiency in her blog post Testing in Agile Development Techniques.
Types of Software Testing
Software testing comes in many different types and shapes. Here are the most typical testing genres that test engineers use in their daily practice.
Basic in their form and applicability, unit tests refer to testing separate functions of software modules, classes, and elements. They’re close to the source of an application and relatively inexpensive to run, especially via automated testing.
Functional testing is meant to analyze the business requirements of a software tool. It mainly focuses on the final result of a computing action rather than the features within the system necessary to carry out that particular performance.
Unlike integration testing, where testers confirm that the database can provide any query, functional testing needs to result in a particular value obtained from the database, based on the product specifications.
Besides the core software elements, their interoperability, and user-friendliness, QA testing must also cover software security, productivity, localization, and other features. All these are the subject of non-functional testing.
BM Insight: Our in-house QA testing policy advocates a holistic approach, covering every aspect of testing with equal care. In that light, our Scrum Master Tamara Petrović delves into non-functional testing in her article Non-functional Testing Explained.
When a tester or a testing team checks how various features and modules run together within a software product, we’re talking about integration testing. The aim is to verify that those components can seamlessly work together and provide top-notch user experience.
Since various individual elements of the software in question must be tested simultaneously, this testing lasts a bit longer and costs a few dollars more.
Acceptance testing means confirming that a software product or system meets the prescribed requirements. It includes analyzing the entire software tool in question while mimicking how end users would utilize it. The final objective is to make sure all the changes implemented during the production stage result are up and running within the system.
Every software system experiences different workloads at different times. The clients and the in-house technical staff – or, as we called them, the stackholders in our article From Scratch to Full Stack: The Business Lifecycle of Software Development – need to know the capability and capacity of the software solution being developed.
This is where performance testing gets in the spotlight. It analyzes a software solution’s scalability, responsiveness, speed, and reliability. Now all the stackholders understand how it will perform at peak times, what data loads it can process, and eventually identify the potential gridlocks along the way.
We don’t develop software solutions to keep them in a showcase but for practical use. Before any product sees the light of day, we must check how it actually reacts to user behavior.
For that matter, we use end-to-end tests. They imitate how users typically behave using the software in question by replicating actions such as verifying email notifications, logging in, loading web pages, and other relevant uses.
Due to its comprehensive nature, this testing is neither cheap nor fast, but it is a must.
User Acceptance Testing
Often confused with end-to-end testing, user acceptance testing (UAT) is also related to testing software features from the end-user’s perspective.
The main difference is that UAT is carried out by regular, business users, while end-to-end tests are executed by professional software testers.
Not all testing procedures are formalized or structurally specified. For instance, exploratory testing doesn’t include any pre-defined test plan or systematic methods.
In this testing technique, testers have the freedom of exploring software tools to identify any bugs or malfunctions on the go to eventually improve the quality of the software.
BM Insight: The dynamic and fast-changing nature of the IT industry forces testers and engineers to quickly adapt their skills to new challenges. Our Mibsters are on a never-ending streak of continuous learning. Find out how we keep our knowledge fresh and (ever)green in our blog post How to Stay up to Date as a Software Engineer.
The Final Word
QA testing and software development are two sides of the same coin. Software engineers and testers must work together to polish code and the entire software, producing user-friendly, fully operational, and error-free solutions, providing utmost excellence. Only such an approach to testing guarantees client satisfaction, reasonable development costs, and a meticulous business reputation for both engineers and their companies.