Software applications over the last decade have become increasingly valuable in the operations of businesses, where they serve as a crucial tool for optimizing employee productivity, enhancing customer experiences, and driving revenue growth. However, developing such software applications can be a resource-intensive process, requiring significant investments of time and money. In fact, the costs of custom software and mobile app development can vary greatly, ranging from $5,000 to well over $500,000, making it essential for businesses to maximize their return on investment (ROI) for such endeavours.
To address this concern, top software development firms have placed a greater emphasis on software quality assurance testing. By thoroughly evaluating the quality of software solutions, businesses can save between 30 and 100 times the costs associated with undetected bug fixes and ensure that their applications are ready for successful commercial deployment upon completion.
In this article, we will delve into the 6 proven software quality assurance tests that high-performing applications undergo, helping businesses to optimize their investments and achieve their desired outcomes.
Unit Testing: The Foundation of Effective Software Quality Assurance
Unit Testing is a software quality assurance process that evaluates the smallest testable parts of a software application, known as units, in isolation from the rest of the solution. This initial stage of testing is conducted to assess a unit’s ability to meet application functionality requirements before being introduced to the greater software system. The objective of unit testing is to identify and isolate any defects or errors early in the development process when they are much easier and less expensive to fix which helps to mitigate against compounding bugs throughout the application.
The unit testing role is primarily performed by a developer immediately after unit creation to assess functionality before moving on to another component. During quality assurance testing, the developer will write several test cases to verify the performance of the software unit through an automated testing tool. After testing is complete, the developer will review the results and refactor the code to address any software errors. Retesting is then performed to confirm the corrections are successfully implemented.
Consider the calculator app on your smartphone, specifically the addition component. This unit allows users to add two variables together and identify the sum of their parts (i.e. A + B = C). To assess the unit performance, a developer may substitute values into the formula, including positive, negative, and mixed numbers, to ensure the software produces the proper calculations.
Integration Testing: Verifying Compliance of Software Functionality
Integration Testing is a method of verifying the functionality of different software modules or units when integrated together. This type of quality assurance testing is critical for enterprise-based projects that may have several developers working on separate modules that need to work together to achieve a desired goal. As the second stage of software quality assurance testing, integration testing intends to expose errors in the data communication between units of code and verify that module interactions are consistent with system requirements.
In contrast to unit testing, integration testing is predominantly performed by a dedicated Quality Assurance Test Engineer after each development sprint to confirm system functionality before the next sprint cycle. In the process of integration testing, the test engineer will start by identifying the units that need to be integrated, the order in which they should be integrated, and the expected results of the integration. After writing several test cases, the QA test engineer will conduct automated tests to verify the expected outcome. Following this, a report detailing identified defects will be compiled and presented to the development team for refactoring, with retesting performed after to confirm successful changes.
Imagine you have an application with a login page, a user dashboard, and a settings page. To test the integration of the units with one another, a QA test engineer might perform the following tests:
- Check the link between the Login page and the User Dashboard by entering the Login credentials and clicking the Login button, which is expected to direct the user to the User Dashboard.
- Check the link between the User Dashboard and Settings by selecting the Settings icon from the User Dashboard, which is expected to direct the user to the Settings.
- Check the link between the Settings and the User Dashboard by toggling from Light Mode to Dark Mode, which is expected to change the User Dashboard display from Light Mode to Dark Mode.
Regression Testing: Safeguarding Software Features from Codebase Changes
Regression Testing is a practice that aims to verify the functionality of existing software modules after a new module is introduced to an application. Due to the high level of interconnectedness and complexity of software systems, the introduction of new code carries the risk of unforeseen side effects that can negatively impact existing feature sets. By implementing regression testing at the end of new code integration, development teams can mitigate these performance risks and safeguard their clients against project delays and inflated costs.
In this stage of software quality assurance testing, a QA test engineer will begin by identifying and selecting the software modules that require regression testing. Selection is based on an assessment of the changes made, including the importance and complexity of the functionality, the frequency of use, and the potential impact of the changes. After assessing the software and preparing multiple test cases, the QA test engineer will run automated testing to confirm the performance of the existing software. Following this, a report is generated highlighting any bugs found during testing, and a copy is provided to the development team for fixing, with retesting following shortly after.
Think about the social media application Instagram when they first introduced Instagram Reels in August 2020. Before launching the latest version of the app, Instagram’s team of quality assurance professionals likely performed robust software regression testing to ensure other application modules, such as direct messaging, Instagram stories, and users’ profiles, still functioned without error.
Performance Testing: Optimizing Functionality for Maximum Efficiency
Performance testing is a crucial software evaluation method that assesses an application’s stability, speed, and responsiveness under normal, peak, and stressful workload conditions. Unlike previously mentioned quality assurance software tests that seek to identify bugs in the code, performance testing aims to identify bottlenecking, poor scalability, software configuration issues, and insufficient hardware resources such as memory constraints. By performing this type of testing, software development teams can reduce the risk of performance errors occurring while in the hands of users which can result in a poor user experience and the loss of customers.
During software performance testing, the QA test engineer will start by identifying and defining the system’s performance requirements, including expected response times, throughput, and resource utilization under normal, peak, and stressful conditions. After defining performance requirements and writing several test cases, the tester will conduct 5 main tests, including load testing, stress testing, spike testing, endurance testing, and volume testing.
Load Testing — Load testing measures the system’s performance under normal working conditions as the workload steadily increases to assess response time and staying power.
Stress Testing — Stress testing measures the system’s performance outside the parameters of normal working conditions to evaluate stability.
Spike Testing — Spike testing assesses the system’s performance amid a sudden increase in user activity.
Endurance Testing — Endurance testing evaluates the system’s behaviour under a sustained load for an extended period to identify any performance issues that may arise over time.
Volume Testing — Volume testing determines how the system performs when dealing with a large volume of data, such as databases, files, or documents, to identify performance issues.
Following testing, a report is generated to highlight any bottlenecks that require correction and retesting is performed to confirm the corrections have been implemented successfully.
Application Programming Interface (API) Testing: Ensuring Secure Connectivity and Smooth Data Transfer
Application Programming Interface (API) testing evaluates the functionality, reliability, and performance of APIs in relation to a software application. APIs are software intermediaries that facilitate communication between applications to leverage existing solutions rather than building them from scratch. Common application features that use APIs include “Login with Facebook” and “Pay with PayPal”. The aim of API testing is to confirm the seamless flow of data between applications to guarantee a reliable, scalable, and secure solution.
When performing API testing, the QA test engineer will begin by reviewing API documentation to evaluate API endpoints, parameters, and expected responses. After completing their review and creating several test cases, the QA tester will execute 5 primary tests, including functional testing, security testing, performance testing, load testing, and end-to-end testing.
Functional Testing — Functional testing verifies the flow of communication between different software by testing various values to ensure the API functions as intended. This form of API testing also includes performing boundary testing, which places an API under different scenarios, such as invalid inputs or unexpected responses, to identify edge cases or potential issues.
Security Testing — Security testing assesses an API’s security posture by checking for vulnerabilities, including unauthorized access, injection attacks, and cross-site scripting (XSS) attacks.
Performance Testing — Performance testing evaluates the API’s capabilities under varying loads and conditions to assess response time, throughput, and scalability.
Load Testing — Load testing gauges an API’s ability to handle a large sum of concurrent requests to identify performance issues and system bottlenecks.
End-to-end Testing — End-to-end testing assesses an API in conjunction with other software modules to ensure it works seamlessly with the rest of the application.
After testing is complete, the results are reported and transferred to the development team for refactoring and back to QA for retesting.
User Acceptance Testing (UAT): Elevating Software Quality with End-User Participation
User Acceptance Testing (UAT) is the final stage in the software quality assurance process which invites end-users and stakeholders to evaluate a software application’s ability to meet user expectations and requirements before public release. Up until this point, the quality assurance testing performed has focused on assessing the technical functionality of the application. With UAT, the objective is to evaluate the extent to which the software conforms to the way the user intends to use the application.
To begin the final stage of testing, the QA test engineer will start by defining the testing scope, identifying test case scenarios, devising a UAT execution plan, selecting users for testing, and considering any resources needed to carry out the execution. After writing several test cases to evaluate the application’s functionality, selected users will perform a series of tests to simulate real-world scenarios and report any errors identified, along with the steps to reproduce them. Following testing, users will submit their test reports for analysis, documentation, and refactoring. Once refactoring and retesting are complete, the application will receive final approval for deployment and a launch date will be set.
Consider an application with a form that requires users to input a name, email, phone number, and address. The testing completed thus far has confirmed the ability to fill in this information, submit it, and store it securely in the application. During UAT a user may begin filling in the required information and realize that 75% of the time, they do not have an address to input and therefore are unable to submit the form. By reporting this, the development team can adjust the form to better align with the business requirements and create a better experience for the user.
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Developing high-performing software applications is a resource-intensive process that emphasizes the importance of successful deployment and user adoption to maximize ROI. While proper project planning and software development best practices are crucial, software quality assurance testing is the most vital component for achieving application success. By performing these 6 proven software quality assurance tests: unit testing, integration testing, regression testing, performance testing, API testing, and user acceptance testing, businesses can save between 30 and 100 times the costs associated with undetected bug fixes and launch an application that is poised to perform exceptionally within its competitive market.
Don’t let undetected bugs cost you money! Contact us today to invest in software quality assurance testing to optimize your software’s performance.