Software Testing Practices and Strategies

Software testing and development has mutated over time from waterfall method to Agile. For Agile methodology, the area of focus is building a high quality product, by minimizing the risk associated with development. Since agile methodology involves recurrent changes, it is important to have a test automation process for the same. There are several questions related to testing like “What is automation testing?”, “How is the testing performed?’, “Which are the most efficient techniques to use?” and much more. In this article, we will share our expertise and knowledge on efficient testing and automation practices and tools we have used in our agile software development process.  

Testing Techniques in Agile Software Development

TDD, BDD and AMDD are the techniques in software testing that can be applied to any methodology. TDD is Test-Driven Development. The unit tests are written first, then a code is written to make the tests pass. BDD is Behavior-Driven Development. This technique also follows the technique of writing the tests followed by code to pass the tests but functions at a slightly higher level than TDD. AMDD is Agile Model Driven Development (MDD). It is an approach in Software Testing where multiple models are created before the source code is written.  

TDD – A Convenient practice in Software Testing

Test-driven development is basically a software development process that depends upon the repetition of a mini development cycle. To start with the developer writes an automated test case that represents a room for improvement or adding a new function, then produces a shortcode to pass that test, and lastly restructures the new code that meets the coding standards. There are several questions related to TDD, which includes: Which are the right tools to be used in TDD? What is the difference between Test Driven and Behaviour Driven Development? In order to develop a better software with lesser bugs and newer features, as well as in lesser time, programmers opt for test-driven development. Test-Driven Development works in 6 simple steps:
  • Add a test and Ensure that at least one of the tests will fail.
  • Run all tests and review the results
  • Write some code
  • Run tests
  • Refactor code
  • Repeat
Advantages of TDD Developers list many advantages to working in this fast, incremental manner. Highest on the list of advantages to practicing TDD are:
  • Quick and accurate results
  • Flexible
  • Automatic in regression tests.
  • Features List
  • Accurate Interfaces
  • Cleaner Code
  • Relevant Dependencies
  • Safer Restructuring
  • Lesser Bugs
  • Increase in ROI
  • Documentation Support
 

Behaviour Driven Development: It’s Test Driven Development Done Right

From the above mentioned about TDD, we are quite clear that Test Driven Development is the process of writing a test first, and software code afterward. Well, Isn’t that a bit confusing? If the code is not written yet, what should I exactly test? Those where all the questions popping around, which resulted in the development of a new approach – Behaviour Driven Development. Dan North was the one who came up with this approach. He proposed that it’s important to identify how the user wants the application to behave and so it’s important to specify the behavior of the application instead of just writing the tests. Both Test Driven Development(TDD) and Behaviour Driven Development are approaches to developing software. They specify the behavior of a piece of code or the whole feature as a set of scenarios or tests before writing actual code and only then creating the implementation that allows these tests to pass verifying that intended behavior is achieved. Long story short, BDD is an enhancement to TDD.  

Test-Driven Development (TDD) vs. Behaviour-Driven Development (BDD)

Behaviour Driven Development is written in a format that is readable even by non-programmers since it is in English, unlike TDD test cases are written in programming languages such as Ruby, Java etc. BDD is an approach that defines the end user, a behavior of an application on the other hand TDD focuses more on how functionality is to be implemented. In such cases, changes in functionality don’t impact the application much in BDD as opposed to TDD. Since BDD is understandable by all the non-programmers as well, everyone involved is clear with the requirements which makes acceptance easy, as opposed to TDD. Flowchart combining TDD and BDD  

Comparing TDD with Agile Model-Driven Development (AMDD)

  • TDD focuses on minimizing programming loop whereas AMDD focuses on minimizing modeling loop.
  • TDD provides the detailed specification (tests) whereas AMDD is better for thinking through bigger issues.
  • TDD gives high-quality code output whereas AMDD delivers high-quality communication with your team members and stakeholders.
  • TDD ensures that your software works accurately whereas AMDD coordinates with the entire team in working toward a common understanding.
  • TDD involves communication with programmers whereas AMDD involves communication with business analysts and stakeholders.
  • TDD ensures that your application design is clean by performing multiple tests, whereas AMDD provides an opportunity to focus on larger design/architectural issues before you code.
  • Both techniques support evolutionary development.
Which approach should you take? Well, the answer varies from person to person and from project to project. Some professionals are more of “visual thinkers and so they may prefer Agile Model-Driven Development. Whereas some of them are text-oriented, who don’t work well with drawings and therefore they may prefer a Test Driven Development approach.  

Automation Testing – What makes it important?

Performing Manual software testing means a human sitting in front of a computer, going through each and every application screens, performing a variety of usage and input combinations, making the comparison of the results with the expected behavior and recording their observations. In case of source code changes or other situations like multiple operating environments and hardware configurations are repeated often during development cycles for source code changes and other situations like multiple operating environments and hardware configurations; manual tests are to be repeated more often. Wherein an automated testing tool has the capability to pullback previously recorded and defined actions and is also able to compare the results to the expected behavior and report the success or failure of the manual tests to a test engineer. Automated software testing is believed to be an essential component in the software development process because it performs the tasks that are impossible with manual testing.  

Benefits of Automation Testing

  • Automated Software Testing Saves Time and Money
  • Test Coverage is increased enormously
  • Testing boosts Accuracy
  • Automation Does What Manual Testing Cannot
  • Automated Testing Helps Developers and Testers to diagnose the problem quickly before sending it QA
  • Automated testing improves the team Morale of QA and Developers
 

Different Types of Software Testing methods that can be Automated

In today’s tech-savvy era, Automated testing fortifies that your software application works in a consistent and reliable way. Testing your application at every stage give you prompt feedback and confidence that your code works. Let’s have a look at different categories of testing an application. Though these testing methods are applicable to all of the OOP based web application.

1. Unit Testing

A method of testing individual pieces of code in order to make if they are correctly working is called Unit Testing. As the name defines, a unit is the smallest part of an application that can be tested. A unit can an individual function or procedure. Unit tests are usually created by developers. The goal of unit testing is to isolate each part of the program, and show that the individual parts are correctly working. A unit test is a strict, written contract that the piece of code must satisfy. Test Driven Development is an approach to using unit tests to create a production code being written, but it can be applied at any level.

2. Integration Testing

Integration testing means to test how the parts of the system collaborate and work together. The only difference between unit tests and integration tests is that unit tests are isolated from other components; integration tests are not. Unit tests don’t communicate with a real database to get the access code, but integration tests do.

3. Functional Testing

Functional testing is primarily used to verify that a piece of software is providing the same output as required by the end-user or business. Typically, functional testing involves evaluating and comparing each software function with the business requirements. Practically using functional testing to test web apps, means using some tool to automate a browser, which is then used to click around on the pages to test the application.

Culminating Thoughts

TDD results in giving more flexible and extensible code. The Test-Driven Development approach is widely used in our development process because the testing modules are built into the continuous integration development model, hence by using a TDD approach, we can easily make changes to our applications without the fear of ‘breaking’ the application. Test-driven development is the methodology that makes such flexibility, maintainability, and extensibility possible. For our internal development process, we rely on PHPUnit, Codeception, and Selenium.

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