For many organizations, continuous testing provides the optimal balance between speed and risk in Agile and DevOps software development processes. Rather than conducting software testing at the end of a development lifecycle, continuous testing executes automated tests throughout the software delivery pipeline to provide feedback on issues, and risk to developers, as soon and as quickly as possible.
In today’s accelerated development environment, the challenge of testing is that the time available to test is decreasing while the complexity of what must be tested is continually increasing. To remain competitive, organizations require more powerful software testing tools.
What is software testing?
Software testing is the process of evaluating new applications or new releases of existing software to ensure the products work as expected and represent little risk to the company. Software testing uses both manual testing and automated tools to identify errors in code, gaps in functionality, and any mismatch between a customer’s requirements and expectations for the software and the actual functionality and performance of the application. Ultimately, because no piece of software is perfect, software testing can be framed as evaluating whether the level of risk associated with the product is acceptable to the customer.
Types of software testing
Software tests can be organized in two categories: functional and non-functional testing. Functional tests determine whether a piece of software meets specific business requirements for functionality. Non-functional tests evaluate whether software meets all the other expectations that customers have of software, including that it is secure, responsive, easy to use, and that it performs well under different levels of load and stress.
Typical functional tests
- Unit testing validates that individual units of code perform as expected.
- Integration testing determines whether individual components work as intended when they are combined in a group.
- System testing evaluates whether the software as a whole conforms to specifications.
- Sanity testing validates major pieces of software after code changes have been made to ensure no serious issues have arisen.
- Smoke testing determines whether software is stable enough to move on to additional tests.
- Interface testing validates whether communication between two applications is handled correctly.
- Regression testing determines whether new functionality or updates to software have caused new bugs or issues to arise.
- Acceptance testing is usually performed by end users and is intended to make sure the software meets their needs.
Typical non-functional tests
- Performance testing evaluates the speed of an application under various workloads.
- Stress testing examines the software’s performance beyond regular operation.
- Load testing validates the behavior of software under significant workloads or high traffic.
- Security testing looks for vulnerabilities and weaknesses that could be exploited by attackers.
- Compatibility testing determines whether software is compatible with different environments, browsers, or devices.
- Reliability testing evaluates whether an application can perform certain tasks within a specified timeframe.
- Compliance testing determines whether the software complies with various standards and regulatory frameworks.
The benefits of software testing
Effective software testing enables development, testing, and quality assurance (QA) teams to:
- Ensure quality software. Customers want their software to work as expected and deliver certain functionality. Testing enables development teams to improve the quality of software products and ensure that applications will meet customers’ expectations.
Improve security. Testing can uncover vulnerabilities and weaknesses in code that could enable cyber criminals to gain access to systems. Software products with security issues can result in millions of dollars in damage due to stolen funds or intellectual property, lost business, regulatory fines, and adverse impact on reputation.
- Determine compatibility. Testing can evaluate whether a piece of software will work with various browsers, devices, APIs, and other software.
- Reduce costs. By finding bugs and issues early in the development process, testing can help to eliminate the cost of fixing problems discovered later in the process or after release.
- Achieve customer satisfaction. Software testing is ultimately about creating the best user experience possible and ensuring that applications perform as expected.
Automated software testing vs. test automation
Automated testing is a critical component of software testing platforms today. Automated tests enable development and QA teams to evaluate more software in less time, to improve the accuracy of testing, and to reduce the cost of testing. Not all tests can be automated – manual testing still plays a significant role in evaluating the quality and functionality of software. But by incorporating automated technology, organizations can more easily embed testing at every level of the software development pipeline to deliver better software faster.
In addition to automated testing tools, continuous testing requires test automation technology to manage and track the incredibly complex logistics of testing hundreds or thousands of pieces of software. In Agile, DevOps, and continuous delivery environments, development and testing teams must be able to know which environments have deployed new code, when new pieces of software need to be tested, what kind of coverage various tests provide, and what additional testing is needed. Automated tests must be scheduled and initiated, and results must be communicated to the right stakeholder at the right time.
Test automation technology simplifies this unwieldy process by automatically launching, tracking, and managing the results of a broad range of automated and manual tests. By automating the logistics and managing the minutia of testing, software test automation tools let testers stop worrying about repetitive details and spend more time creating effective test cases to deliver higher quality software.
Software testing solutions from Tricentis
Tricentis offers the industry’s #1 Continuous Testing platform. Recognized for reinventing software testing for DevOps, Tricentis provides Agile test management and advanced test automation optimized to support 160+ technologies. With Tricentis, organizations get automated insight into the business risks of their software releases, turning software testing from a roadblock to a catalyst for innovation.
The Tricentis Continuous Testing platform is totally automated, fully codeless, and intelligently driven by AI. With Tricentis, testing takes minutes or hours rather than days or weeks, driving massive gains in speed, efficiency, and accuracy.
The Tricentis Continuous Testing platform delivers:
- AI-powered impact analysis. Tricentis enables organizations to see exactly where the business risk lies in an application update. With AI-powered impact analysis, testing teams have visibility into which tests to run or create to verify that business processes will run flawlessly, reducing testing efforts by 85%, and increasing release speed by 300%.
- Agile test management. Tricentis improves speed, efficiency, and visibility throughout the software delivery pipeline. Tricentis keeps teams connected, with test management that seamlessly integrates with the most popular Agile and DevOps tools including Jira, Jenkins, Selenium, and others.
- Productive test automation. Tricentis makes it easy to centrally scale test automation and machine management to maximize the value of open-source and proprietary automation tools. Testing teams can orchestrate execution across tools and frameworks, increase automation coverage, and establish traceability to assess business risk.
- No-code automated continuous testing. Tricentis’ model-based test automation enables 90%+ automation rates while dramatically reducing maintenance. Development teams can automate end-to-end testing across different applications and technologies while saving time and money.
- Testing analytics. Tricentis helps development teams leverage advanced analytics for cross-project, portfolio-level visibility. Testing teams can consolidate all continuous testing metrics, analyze activities across the continuous testing platform, and elevate quality to the executive level.