Month: January 2016
A large percentage of people nowadays access websites and web applications on their smartphones, tablets and phablets. Also, Google uses mobile-friendliness as a key metric to rank websites. That is why, a gradual increase is being noted in the enterprises opting for responsive design to make their web applications deliver quality user experience across a wide variety of devices. However, it is also important for businesses to get the functionality, performance and user experience of the websites tested thoroughly to impress and engage website visitors. The businesses can always effectuate web application testing by following a number of best practices.
5 Web Application Testing Best Practices Each Tester Must Know
1) Test Web Services Independently
2) Perform Elaborate Cross-Browser Compatibility Testing
To deliver quality user experience, the web application must run seamlessly on different types and versions of web browsers. But the older versions of certain browsers do not support HTML5 and CSS3. So the testers need to ensure that the app runs smoothly on different versions of each commonly used web browser. However, they cannot assess the cross-browser compatibility of the website without using specialized tools. The business must pick the right automation tools to help testers check the application’s functionality across various browsers quickly and efficiently.
3) Pick Specific Criterions for Usability Testing
The usability and user experience of the web application will have a direct impact on keeping the visitors engaged and converting them into customers. So the business needs to ensure that its web application delivers quality and distinct user experience to each visitor. That is why; it must pick the right criterions to assess the application’s usability effectively. To effectuate usability testing of the web application the business must pick key criterions like UX design, performance, speed, readability, accessibility, navigability, and amount of time and effort required by the user to perform a particular task.
4) Scale the Load Tests Incrementally
Each business must replicate the production environment exactly to load tests web applications more effectively. So it must identify and eliminate all issues related to hardware and system configuration in the test environment. At the same time, it is also important for testers to perform the load tests incrementally. They must run tests initially by replicating a smaller number of distributed users, and increase the number of users gradually. The incremental load testing will make it easier for the professionals to identify the exact point where the application crashes. They can perform the load tests in cycles, and analyze the test results of each cycle to assess how the website performs under varying user loads.
5) Create Simple and Reusable Tests
The quality of tests will also have direct impact on the whole web application testing process. Often complex tests affect the workflow adversely, and make it difficult for testers to identify the cause of the problem. The testers must not try to test multiple features or functionalities of the website using a single test. They must write simple tests to check specific features or functionality of the application. They can simply divide the workflow into multiple tests, and write each test to assess a particular aspect of the web application rigorously. At the same time, the testers also need to design reusable tests to quickly access the application across various browsers and devices.
It is always important for the business to make a comprehensive strategy to ensure that all aspects of the web application are tested rigorously. Also, the testers must repeat the tests under various conditions to assess the application’s quality more accurately.
Often managers or QA leads find it a daunting challenge to prepare an effective software testing plan. In addition to preparing the test plan by following an organized approach, they also need to keep in mind test objectives, scope of testing, risk identification, test execution schedule, metrics to assess the project, and constraints related to time and resources. That is why; it becomes essential for the manager to focus on a number of important points to make an effective software testing plan.
7 Tips to Make Your Software Testing Plan more Effective
1) Test the Software Frequently
Many reports have highlighted that an organization can save both time and cost by testing the software application early and frequently. When the bugs in the software are identified in early phases of software development lifecycle, the testers can fix the defects without putting extra time and effort. So you must introduce software testing in the early phases of the project, and ensure that the software is tested repeatedly and frequently.
2) Create Small Functional Modules
You must understand the test coverage clearly to make a better testing plan. So it is important to divide the entire software application to be tested into a number of smaller modules. Each module will cover specific features or functionality of the application. Thus, the small functional modules will help you to understand and track test coverage. However, you must consider dividing the each functional module into small logical parts, and writing test cases for each module based on these small parts.
3) Focus on Test Case Development
It is also important to identify the business requirements that are testable. You can easily identify the testable requirements by getting test cases written during design and requirement phases of software development life cycle. The valid or positive test cases will help you to cover all expected behaviour of the software, whereas the negative test cases will cover its unexpected behaviour. However, you also need to ensure that the test cases are written by experienced programmers, and explain each step clearly.
4) Pick the Right Metrics
The test plan must focus on documenting, tracking, measuring and reviewing the quality objectives during various phases of the project. So you must pick the right metrics to track and assess the quality objectives more effectively. It is always important to pick metrics that are effective but simple to execute. Also, you must pick a variety to metrics to cover all aspects of the project. You can always consider using some of the commonly used metrics like schedules, size, quality, rework and resources.
5) Build a Custom Test Environment
You must create a custom test environment by replicating the production environment exactly. Also, the environment must include the right test automation tools and systems with customized configuration. It is also important to keep the testing and production environments separated, and prevent the developers from accessing the test environment. When the test environment is accesses exclusively by testers, it will be easier to identify and control the missing components.
6) Emphasize on Informative and Precise Bug Reporting
You must remember that the quality of the bug report will have a direct impact on the defect turnaround time. The testers must provide detailed and specific information about the bugs identified during testing to enable developers to fix the defects easily and quickly. They can even reproduce the bugs to reduce the defect turnaround time drastically. Your test plan can even recommend testers to use a predefined bug report template to provide adequate information about the defects.
7) Divide and Allocate the Tasks Properly
Your test plan also needs to focus on allocating the tasks to the right professionals. While allocating tasks, you must keep in mind the test schedule, size of the team, and the skills and expertise of individual testers. You can even consider preparing a skill chart of all members of the testing team, and allocate the tasks based on the skill chart. Also, you need to ensure that each member of the team understand the objective and nature of the task assigned to him clearly.
While making the test plan, the manager must ensure uninterrupted communication between testers and programmers. The communication will result in getting the problems resolved in a quick and efficient way, while avoiding misunderstanding in future. However, the professionals must communicate with each other through emails instead of sticking to verbal communication.
A large percentage of businesses nowadays build apps by targeting several platforms and devices. So testers find it daunting to test the applications by emulating a variety of real devices, users, networks and environments. The testing professionals further need to perform a variety of tests to ensure that the mobile app resists a variety of security threats and attacks successfully.
The security testing tools make it easier for testers to check if the information stored in the mobile app, device and platform are 100% secure. The testers also have option to choose from a variety of static, dynamic and forensic security testing tools according to the specific requirements of the mobile app testing project.
5 Commonly Used Security Testing Tools for Mobile Apps
1) OWASP Zed Attack Proxy Project (ZAP)
ZAP is designed as an easy-to-use integrated penetration testing tool. It helps experienced developers and functional testers to perform security testing of applications without putting any extra effort. The static security testing tool further allows testers to reverse engineer communication protocols and test the vulnerability of the application by designing and sending malicious messages. The malicious messages will attack the application’s server-side resources, and help testers to check if the app is secure. However, ZAP is originally designed as a penetration testing tool for web applications.
2) HP Enterprise Software
HP Enterprise software is designed with features to help users perform security testing by targeting multiple devices, platforms and networks. The testers can use the enterprise software to perform end-to-end security testing of mobile apps. They can further use the tool to analyze static resources of the application, and schedule dynamic scans at regular intervals. The tool further allows them to emulate real user experience, and find bugs in the application in a real-time environment. At present, HP Enterprise Software supports major mobile platforms like iOS, Android, Windows Phone, and Blackberry.
3) Smart Phones Dumb Apps
The tool currently supports both iOS and Android mobile platforms. It is also associated with Google code repository. The testers can use the scripts provided by the Smart Phones Dumb Apps to scan the source code of iOS and Android apps. The source code scanning will help testers to identify the pieces of code that make the app vulnerable to various security attacks. The testers can further use the tool to run fortify SCA scans on the source code of Android applications written in Java programming language.
4) Android Debug Bridge (ADB)
ADB is included in Android Development Kit. The versatile command line tool enables testers to perform security testing of Android app across many devices. The testers can use ADB as a client-server tool. They also have option to connect the tool with various Android devices and emulator instances. ADB comes with features to help testers explore the file system of the mobile device. So they can easily find out the loopholes in the file system that makes the app vulnerable to various security threats.
5) IPad File Explorer
Despite its name, iPad File Explorer can be used to explore the file structure of all iOS devices. The third party tool further display the app data and media file on two distinct views. It can also read and display the app data just like normal file systems. So it becomes easier for users to view and explore the file system of the iPhone or iPad in a detailed and clear way. At the same time, they can also use the tool to explore the device storage file system of jailbroken iOS devices.
Many studies have highlighted how testers can effectuate security testing of mobile apps by combining multiple test automation tools. But it is always important for the business to pick and combine security testing tools according to the nature, usage and requirements of the mobile application to be tested.
A gradual increase is being noted in the number of businesses switching from scripted testing to exploratory testing. The conventional scripted testing approach requires the active test cases to be designed in advance, with clearly defined processes and expected results. The predesigned tests are used by testers to compare the actual test results with expected results. So the testers must be provided with adequate information to execute the tests and interpret the test results effectively.
But exploratory testing approach emphasizes on concurrent test designing and execution. It further requires businesses to deploy skilled software testers, and allows testers to become more imaginative and exploratory. While performing exploratory testing, the QA professionals have autonomy to decide what tests to perform next, and how to prioritize tests due to time constraints. So a business can avail a number of benefits by adopting the modern software testing approach.
What Makes Businesses Switch from Scripted Testing to Exploratory Testing?
Defects are Found Quickly
The predesigned test scripts restrict professionals’ imagination and creativity. When the testers have adequate information about the software to be tested and use the predesigned test scripts, they do not come up with fresh and innovative ideas. Exploratory testing requires them to design and execute tests concurrently. So they can learn and improve continuously, while coming up with new ideas and innovative ways to solve problems.
Accommodate Individual Testing Approaches
Exploratory testing approach requires enterprises to deploy skilled and experienced QA professionals. So each tester can analyze the specific problem in a particular way. The members of the team can further suggest various ways to test a particular feature or functionality of the software. So the same aspect of the application can be tested in a number of ways. The different approaches effectuate testing, and help testers to identify all flaws in the software.
Allow Testers to Control the Testing Process
The scripted testing approach differentiates the process of test design and test execution. So an enterprise has option to deploy different teams to design and execute tests. Also, the testers need adequate product information and detailed business requirements to execute the tests effectively. So the testers fail to execute tests if the test cases are not designed in advance or they are not familiar with the application. But exploratory testing enables testers to design and execute tests concurrently. They can easily gather the required information, and design and test cases in each situation.
Freedom to Follow Leads
Nowadays testers have to test all aspects of the software within a shorter amount of time. So they find it daunting to read, understand and execute predesigned test scripts. Most modern testers prefer designing and executing tests in parallel without referring to any predesigned test cases. Further, they want to deploy the limited time in finding bugs instead of reading and understanding test cases. The absence of predefined constraints further enables testers to identify bugs in the software by following all promising leads.
Facilitates Agile Testing
Many businesses nowadays adopt agile methodology to reduce software testing time and cost significantly. But the delivery cycles in agile project is extremely short. Further, the developers and testers have to collaborate with each other deliver a flawless software application. So the businesses are no longer required to deploy skilled professionals to make test plans, design test cases, and manage defects in the software. When a business adopts exploratory testing approach, it becomes easier for it to design and execute test cases concurrently without deploying any additional professionals. So exploratory testing helps businesses to reap benefits of agile project management methodologies.
On the whole, the exploratory testing approach is completely different from conventional scripted testing approach. But companies like Microsoft have proved that both testing approaches are compatible with each other, and can also be used on a single project. So a business has option to either adopt exploratory testing model or use both testing models simultaneously.
While testing a software application, testers have to focus on both functional and non-functional requirements. They need to perform various types of functional tests to ensure that the software meets all business requirements. Likewise, they also need to assess the application’s user experience by performing a variety of tests against the non-functional requirements. That is why, it is important for the testers to understand some of the major differences between these two types of software testing.
5 Important Differences between Functional and Non-Functional Testing
As a type of black-box testing, functional testing is performed to check it the application meets all predefined business requirements and specification. The outcome of functional testing helps managers to decide if the software is ready for release. On the other hand, non-functional testing is performed to assess the application’s user experience. The testers perform a variety of tests against non-functional requirements to determine the amount of time required by the application to perform specific actions or respond to user request.
2) Types of Tests
A business has to perform both functional and non-functional testing to make the software popular and profitable in the longer run. So the testers need to perform usability, regression testing, smoke testing, and sanity testing to decide if the application is ready for release. At the same time, they also need to assess the application’s behaviour and user experience by performing a variety of non-functional tests like stress, load/performance, compatibility, reliability, compliance, and security testing. However, the types of functional and non-functional tests to be performed will differ from one project to another based on the nature and usage of the software.
3) Identifying Defects in the Software
Often the features and functionality of a software application is impacted by bugs, defects or flaws in it. These defects further prevent the software from meeting business requirements exactly and effectively. So the testers have to perform functional tests to identify the bugs or defects in the software, and get these eliminated without any delay. But the testers are not required to focus on finding bugs or defects in the software while performing non-functional testing. They have to perform tests against the application’s non-functional requirements to assess its behaviour and user experience.
4) Both Negative and Positive Testing
Normally, non-functional testing is performed based on a number of criteria that are not considered while performing functional testing. The tests performed against these criterions help testers to assess the quality of the software from the perspective of multiple users. But the testers have to perform both positive and negative functional testing. While performing positive functional testing, they have to submit valid inputs, and check how the application responds to these valid inputs accurately, and generate the desire outputs. Likewise, they also need to perform negative functional testing using invalid inputs, invalid operations, and unexpected operating conditions.
5) Test Automation Tools
An enterprise can automate both functional and non-functional testing efforts. In addition to reducing the testing time, the tools further help testers to perform the tests repeatedly. But often businesses find it easier to automate the non-functional testing. The testers can use a variety of tool to perform load, performance, stress and compatibility testing quickly and repeatedly. However, the testers have to write additional test scripts to perform both positive and negative functional testing through the tools. It is always important for the business to pick the right test automation tools to automate each type of testing effectively.
On the whole, the software testing strategy of a business has to focus on both functional and non-functional requirements of the applications. At the same time, it is also important for the testers to understand the objectives of each type of testing clearly to assess the software application more effectively.