Software Testing Strategies and Approaches
By Shreya Bose, Community Contributor - March 8, 2022
Strategy and investment must be considered two significant factors when venturing into a software testing project. Strategy comes first. Determining the overall project investment is impossible without knowing what techniques and tools are required to test a website or app.
- The first step to determining strategy is clearly understanding the most effective software testing strategies.
- Specific tests require a close understanding of code and the relevant system being run, while others don’t.
- Tests must be executed manually, while others can be safely automated.
- Different testing strategies require specific levels of technical skill, knowledge, and tools.
Going ahead, the article will delve into software testing strategies for fast, accurate, and effective verification of websites and apps on a Real Device Cloud.
Types of Software Testing Strategies & Approaches
1. Static Testing Strategy
A static test evaluates the quality of a system without actually running the system. While that may seem impossible, it can be accomplished in a few ways.
- The static test looks at portions or system elements to detect problems as early as possible. For example, developers review their code after writing and before pushing it. This is called desk-checking, a form of static testing. Another example of a static test would be a review meeting to evaluate requirements, design, and code.
- Static tests offer a decided advantage: If a problem is detected in the requirements before it develops into a bug in the system, it will save time and money.
- If a preliminary code review leads to bug detection, it saves the trouble of building, installing, and running a system to find and fix the bug.
It is possible to perform automated static tests with the right tools. C programmers can use the lint program to identify potential bugs, while Java users can utilize JTest to check their scripts against a coding standard.
- Static tests must be performed at the right time. For example, reviewing requirements after developers have finished coding the entire software can help testers design test cases.
- But testers cannot detect bugs in already written code without running the system, thus defeating the purpose of static tests. In this case, the code must be reviewed by individual developers as soon as it is created and before it is integrated.
Additionally, static tests must be run not just by technical personnel but other stakeholders. Business domain experts must review requirements, system architects must review design, and so on. Testers’ feedback is also imperative since they are trained to spot inconsistencies, missing details, vague functionality, etc.
Follow-Up Read: Synchronize Business Analysis, DevOps, and QA with Cloud Testing
2. Structural Testing Strategy
While static tests are pretty helpful, they are not adequate. The software needs to be operated on real devices, and the system has to be run in its entirety to find all bugs. Structural tests are one of the techniques under unit testing.
- It is also called white-box testing because they are run by testers with thorough knowledge of the devices and systems it is functioning on.
- It is often run on individual components and interfaces to identify localized errors in data flows.
A good example would be reusable, automated test harnesses for the tested system. With this harness, coders can create structural test cases for components after writing each element’s code. Then, they register the tests into the source code repository and the main component during integration.
A well-crafted test harness will run the tests every time new code is added, thus serving as a regression test suite.
With BrowserStack, you can amp up your software testing strategies and scale up by performing:
- Regression Testing with Selenium
- Visual Regression with WebdriverIO
- Visual Regression with Playwright
- Visual Regression with Cypress
- Visual Regression with NightwatchJS
- Visual Regression with Storybook (UI Components)
- Visual Regression using TestCafe
Since creating structural tests require a thorough understanding of the software being tested, they should be executed by developers or highly skilled testers.
- In the best-case scenario, devs and testers work together to set up regular test harnesses.
- Testers are especially helpful when developing reusable and shareable test scripts and cases, which cut down on time and effort in the long run.
3. Behavioral Testing Strategy
Behavioral Testing focuses on how a system acts rather than the mechanism behind its functions. It focuses on workflows, configurations, performance, and all elements of the user journey. The point of these tests, often called “black box” tests, is to test a website or app from an end-user’s perspective.
- It must cover multiple user profiles as well as usage scenarios.
- Focus on fully integrated systems rather than individual components. This is because it is possible to gauge system behavior from a user’s eyes only after it has been assembled and integrated to a significant extent.
- Behavioral tests are run manually, though some can be automated.
- Manual testing requires careful planning, design, and meticulous checking of results to detect what goes wrong.
- On the other hand, automation testing runs repetitive actions, such as regression tests which check that new code has not disrupted existing features that are working well. For example, a website needs to be tested by filling in 50 fields in a form. Now, this action needs to be repeated with multiple sets of values. Let a machine handle this rather than risk wasting time, human effort, and human error is wiser.
Behavioral testing does require some understanding of the system’s technicality. Testers need some measure of insight into the business side of the software, especially about what target users want. To create test scenarios, they must know what users will likely do once they access a website or app.
If your enterprise testing strategy involves more automation and manual testing for those one-off cases, don’t miss what David Burns has to say about Selenium 4 features – which is the most preferred tool suite for automated cross-browser testing of web applications.
Run Selenium Tests on the Cloud
4. Front-End Testing Strategy
Front-end refers to the user-facing part of an app, which is the primary interface for content consumption and business transactions. Front End Testing is a key part of any SDLC as it validates GUI elements are functioning as expected.
We can broadly break them into the following categories of software testing types and approaches:
- Unit Testing: this is the first testing layer built into the codebase that includes test functions running before the app is built and tests various individual processes and modules.
- Functional Testing: entails testing features and components through a manual user interface on the front end. At this stage, everything is usually mock data.
- Integration Testing: wiring up the front-end components to back-end services and ensuring proper integration from client inputs, through APIs, to database management, running at this stage on a test environment.
- System/UI Testing: after a test version of UI has successfully been integrated with the back-end service, it is now ready for automated testing and analysis by developers working closely with the QA team.
- Performance/Load Testing: It verifies that an app can handle the expected load and scale, considering the optimal load and usage scenario.
- Stress/Security Testing: Stress testing verifies that an app can handle unexpected load and scale. It also evaluates the response when it is hit with usage and threats beyond the expected limit.
- Accessibility Testing: Accessibility testing verifies that people with disabilities can use an application.
How to choose from different Software Testing Strategies?
A strategic approach to software testing must take the following into account:
- Risks: Consider the risks during testing. Is there a possibility that tests will disrupt software function? For example, if an app is already established in the digital market, tests for new features or updates can put the app at risk of a crash or scrambling of some features. In this case, testers may need to look into regression-averse strategies.
- Objectives: Is the testing strategy satisfying all the requirements and needs of the stakeholders? Tests shouldn’t just gauge if all software features are functioning as expected and if they meet the business requirements and genuinely benefit the users.
- Regulations: Does the software being tested meet all regulations related to its industry (and the digital sphere)? Usually, the same app or website will be subject to different regulations in different geographical regions. Testers must be knowledgeable about local regulations so that the software does not inadvertently end up breaking the law.
Key Elements of an Effective Test Automation Strategy
As more teams embrace test automation, they will require the right tools and skillsets with the right test automation strategy. Since automation requires multiple frameworks languages, imposing the following key elements on the whole process is imperative:
- Defined scope and goals
- Establishing the test approach
- Selecting the right tools
- Designing appropriate test cases
- Creating a realistic execution plan
- Review test results thoroughly
Real Device Cloud for an Accurate Software Testing Approach
The point of having robust software testing strategies is to identify bugs efficiently. Testers must be clear on how frequently a bug occurs and how it affects the software.
- The best way to detect all bugs is to run software through real devices and browsers.
- When it comes to a website, ensure it is under the purview of manual and automation testing. Automated Selenium testing should supplement manual tests so that testers do not miss any bugs in the Quality Assurance process.
- Websites must also be put through extensive cross-browser testing to function consistently, regardless of the browser they are being accessed by.
- Using browsers installed on real devices is the only way to guarantee cross-browser compatibility and not alienate users. The same applies to apps.
- Most teams cannot access an in-house lab with the requisite number and variety of device-OS combinations for real-world testing.
- Whether manual or automated, mobile app testing cannot be accurately conducted without real Android & iOS devices, as shown below.
In the following video, Maja Frydrychowicz, Sr. Software Engineer at Mozilla, examines automation support from a browser perspective that leads to a better cross-browser testing experience.
- Automated app testing also requires testers with technical expertise in handling the necessary mobile application testing frameworks, test scripts, etc.
- Each app must be optimized to offer flawless performance on an increasing number of device profiles.
- QA teams must also keep the different versions of every operating system accompanying these devices.
A clear comprehension of test automation strategies is essential to building test suites, scripts, and timelines that offer fast and accurate results. This is equally true for manual tests. Don’t start testing without knowing what techniques to use, what approach to follow and how the software is expected to perform.
However, software testing strategies are not incomplete without adequate reporting and analytics. With BrowserStack Test Insights & Analytics, you can fill in the gaps. It captures the breadth and width of your test suite, giving insights into the devices, desktops, and operating systems you have been testing.
The information in this article intends to provide a starting point for building constructive testing plans by detailing what strategies exist for testers to explore in the first place. Once you pinpoint a system, your next action plan should run tests on real devices under real user conditions.