Evolution of Testing Methodologies in Recent Years

Evolution of Testing Methodologies in Recent Years

by Yuliia Nazarenkova

Gone are the days when testing was considered as an optional part of product development. Now, every company tests products rigorously before delivering them to the client so that there are no issues. It has become essential to test each functionality of products while they are being developed to avoid business losses.

Testing is an integral part of any product development field, including software, healthcare, automation, real estate, or any other field. Proper testing ensures that an application satisfies all the requirements provided by the client. Testing is critical to find out the issues in the application functionality as well as to fix the existing problems.

Types of Testing

There are many ways of testing a product. Basically, there are two types of testing:

  1. Manual Testing
  2. Automation Testing
Manual Testing

Manual testing is the process of testing the application manually by preparing test cases and executing them. Here, no automatic tools are used for testing the application.

This is an easier way of testing. Previously, manual testing was used when the scope for automation testing was limited. However, manual testing takes a lot of time and needs human resources to perform the tests manually.

Automation Testing

As the demand for automation increased, automation testing came into existence to get faster and more accurate results without compromising the overall quality. In automation testing, scripts are run automatically to perform application testing. Automated tools are used for executing the test cases, matching them with the expected output, and generating the test results.

What are Testing Methodologies?

Testing methodologies refer to the various ways and approaches of thoroughly testing a software application before actually using it in real-time. They consist of everything, starting with unit testing of each functionality or module to integration testing for the complete system to acceptance testing, which makes sure every single detail has been tested, and the application is ready to be delivered to the client.

Test methodologies include functional and non-functional testing for validating the Application Under Test (AUT). Unit testing, integration testing, system testing, and acceptance testing are some of the examples of testing methodologies. Every testing methodology works with a set of defined objectives, strategies, and deliverables.

Why Does Software Testing Methodology Matter?

A poorly executed testing methodology leads to malfunctioning products as well as unwanted extensions in the development process. One needs to ensure that a proper testing plan has been put into place so that the product delivered to the client is stable and robust as well as delivered in the given timeline.

Large scale software applications are becoming more complex in recent years due to advancement in technology and increasing client demands. Therefore, it is vital to have a robust testing methodology to make sure that the developed product or application has been completely tested. This way, developers know that they have met the requirements specified by the client, allowing the product to operate in all the anticipated environments.

There are various testing methodologies to certify that the product meets the client’s expectations. Testing is mainly done to ensure that the final product is working according to the specifications given by the client. Testing also ensures that in the worst case, the product will still be safe without any application crashes.

The Rise of New Testing Methodologies

In recent years, software testing methodologies have changed from the standard ones. Testing acquired the waterfall approach for testing the quality, which requires step-by-step checks until the user acceptance testing. However, this methodology has made testing difficult for manual testers, as they have to execute a vast amount of test cases.

Therefore, after the emergence of Agile and DevOps, testing methodologies are used at a much earlier phase during the development process. Here are some of the latest testing trends that have transformed testing methodologies:

1.    The Shift from Quality Assurance to Quality Engineering

New technologies are emerging in the IT industry. Quality Assurance (QA) initially followed the waterfall approach for testing, which involves A step-by-step process at every stage. Thus, it was a lengthy process for testing.

Today, QA is struggling to keep up with the changing dynamics and new demands from clients. QA is a bottleneck for completing the flow of processes, as you need to complete the previous step before moving to the next one. Thus, the amount of works tends to get piled up.

With Quality Engineering (QE), testing and automation are introduced much earlier during the development process instead of waiting for the customer’s acceptance phase/testing. Acceptance testing is the final phase that checks that everything as per the functional requirements has been met. This test is performed by the end users and customers to make sure that the product according to their expectations and requirements.

Teams check every individual feature and then accept or reject the product by providing proper justification. They also check for crashes by testing the entire flow of the application, and the results of these tests are entirely subjective. Thus, instead of waiting for the acceptance testing to be performed at the last stage, it is introduced early during the development cycle using QE.

QE will grow more in 2019 to keep pace with the faster delivery expectations from clients, and a shift can be seen from QA to QE for the same reason. We are expecting QE to emerge as the clear winner between QA and QE. With QE, teams are able to embed the quality process throughout the development cycle and increase the total number of people that QE Engineers must collaborate with.

2.    Digital Transformation with Agile

The Agile methodology came into existence recently, and it promotes working in small teams for collaboration and quicker delivery. While doing the tasks, testing is done at the same time in Agile methodology, which helps with user experience work like execution and evaluation.

When accelerating the release cycle, it is difficult to go with the traditional testing process. Instead, business organizations are automating test cases with Agile. Automation requires teams to use the best automation tools to provide real-time insights for a business prospect.

Agile testing is a continuous process, meaning that it is not sequential. Testing begins as soon as the project is started when interactions happen between testing and development.

This Agile methodology is well-suited for testing as errors can be fixed anytime during the project cycle. Further, less documentation is required in comparison to the waterfall approach. Here, every iteration has its own phase of testing, and regression tests can be executed whenever new logic is created.

Unit testing is done from the start of development itself. Unit testing is the smallest part of testing an individual component or module in an application during development. It mainly focuses on tiny functionalities in the application.

To simplify the process, the code is isolated completely from outside dependency. However, unit testing doesn’t cover any interaction happening with the database, network, file systems, etc. All these dependencies are fixed and hard-coded in the test code while running test cases.

In a test-driven development methodology, like Agile or Scum, test cases are already written before the module gets created as part of the functional specification. Every module function gets tested by a particular unit test fixture that is written using the same programming language used for creating the module. Therefore, unit testing is the simplest way of checking small modules of the code and tests them in isolated conditions.

With Agile testing, user acceptance testing happens at the end of every sprint. There are various Agile testing methods, including Behavior-Driven Development (BDD), Acceptance Test-Driven Development (ATDD), and exploratory testing.

3.    DevOps

DevOps came into existence to reduce the amount of time spent from development to operations. DevOps is not a new concept, but it has emerged in the past five years after receiving support from big business organizations. To deliver faster results, automation and integration are used in testing methodologies to deliver software in precise cycles.

In this new era of DevOps and Agile, test automation plays an important role in identifying issues at an early stage in the development cycle. Therefore, it is essential to use intelligent test automation, as it offers the following benefits:

  1. Provides early recognition of bugs and defects
  2. Saves time and enhances productivity
  3. Adapts to evolving business needs and demands
  4. Allows for excellent customer experience and preciseness in identifying defects

Testing DevOps spans across the entire application development and delivery lifecycle. Test engineers are no longer focusing only on functional testing and verification. Now, they need to be involved in operations testing, security testing, performance testing, and log monitoring.

Test engineers perform system testing to access the entire application for bugs and errors. This test is performed by interfacing the software and hardware components of the entire system together. After the whole system is interfaced, it is then tested as a whole.

Here, the complete, integrated application is tested to evaluate if the system complies with its specifications and requirements. All the system functionalities are tested from end to end.

Generally, system testing is performed by a team of testers who are independent of the development process to ensure that the system’s quality is checked in an unbiased manner. Further, system testing encompasses other testing factors, including usability testing, regression testing, load testing, recovery testing, regression testing, software/hardware testing, and more.

According to Statista, in 2018, only 9% of the respondents mentioned that they have not adopted DevOps yet or have no plans to adopt it. These statistics indicate the power of DevOps in recent years.

Thus, DevOps takes testing to an entirely new level by providing faster rollouts and delivery. We firmly believe that DevOps will continue the same trend in 2019. This is because DevOps will likely keep providing improved communication between developers and testers, resulting in the delivery of seamless code changes validation.

4.    Big Data Testing

The major issue seen in big data testing is the actual verification of the successful processing of the data. Here, testers have to verify terabytes of data. Testing this data is a significant challenge for most companies, as the size of data is increasing exponentially.

As the size of the data grows, it takes more time to execute tests and check their results. Simultaneously, clients need shorter delivery cycles. Therefore, emerging testing methodologies are required to address this issue.

To verify that data has been processed successfully, testers use commodity cluster computing and various other components. This process is mainly performance testing and functional testing.

Moreover, the quality of data is a crucial factor in big data testing. Thus, the data quality is checked for conformity, consistency, accuracy, duplication, data completion, validity, and other factors.

We expect that there will be a massive increase in the demand for testing platforms that can replicate the exact behavior of every single data layer in the operating system. Generally, we have seen seven main layers, including:

  • Physical layer
  • Data link layer
  • Network layer
  • Transport layer
  • Session layer
  • Presentation layer
  • Application layer

These testing platforms will ensure that the new data is processed successfully at every layer and imported to the next layer while the old data is being processed out. Thus, these platforms will reduce the storage and setup time needed. Eventually, this means that creating a new archive for every iteration will no longer be required.

5.    IoT Testing

According to Gartner’s research report, there will be 20.8 billion smart devices by 2020. This figure an increase of almost three times from 6.4 billion in 2016.

Internet of things (IoT) devices have their own hardware, but they depend on software for their functioning. Thus, IoT involves complex communication between firmware, standard protocols, and operating systems.

Here, testers to test all the combinations of the involved components. To do so, testers must complete various types of testing for IoT systems like the tests listed below:

Usability Testing

Usability testing focuses on the front end part of the application in terms of user’s ease for using the application. It tests aspects like efficiency, memorability, learnability, satisfaction, and bugs.

Compatibility Testing

Compatibility testing tests that the application is compatible with the specified OS, hardware, browsers, smartphone devices, and third-party plugins. Also, it checks for consistency over different platforms and devices.

Performance Testing

Performance testing is done to check how the system will react if the load is increased in terms of users and data volumes. It finds failure points in the application when the load is increased and can’t handle the load efficiently. It checks the system against the required response time when it is subjected to its expected load as well as the response time when it is subjected to an increased load.

Security Testing

Security testing is performed to test the application for authentication, data integrity, confidentiality, non-repudiation, and availability. In the past, security was not given the priority that it is given now. Cyber crimes are rising daily, and every application needs to be tested against the risks associated with software vulnerabilities.

These are the new testing methodologies that are currently ruling the IT industry. As you may sense, the components of the testing process in method remain similar.

Conclusion

We talked about the different testing methodologies that are used by business organizations to speed up their delivery process and provide excellent user experience to their clients. We need to understand that in software development, the possibility of having bugs and issues is very high.

To deliver a great product that is defect free, using a robust testing methodology is a must. Thus, testing methodologies are very well applied in the IT industry, as they ensure that the customer gets the best product and is satisfied with the final application.

So, what are your views on testing methods? Let us know in the comment section below!

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