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Web Software Testing: Ensures that the Web Software Works

Jul 22, 2008
Software testing is an important stage within the software development cycle (SDCL). There are different testing types and they are useful at different stages of the software development cycle. From the initial development of the application until it reaches the marketing phase different testing types will be used. In addition, all the different versions of the software have to be tested before they are delivered to either the customer or the target market.

One variety is software for web applications. With the advent of the Internet web software has significantly increased in importance, as the Internet has had a substantial impact on our daily lives. Most security risks come from Internet. Therefore it's crucial to test the software thoroughly prior to releasing it on the market.

Even though the testing of web software is vital, there is at all times rush in building and testing those application due to time constraints. There are different methods that the test engineers use to test this software. They are code testing, load testing, compatibility testing, functional testing and regression testing.

The web software is usually released using a pattern of software release known as alpha/beta testing. This is a simulated or actual operational test conducted by potential users or an independent test team at the developers' site. The software is incomplete at this point and testing is done only for small modules of the software. Alpha testing is frequently employed for off-the-shelf software as a method of internal acceptance testing. Software that has been alpha tested cannot be released until all the major functional parts have been coded and tested.

After the alpha testing stage is finished, the software advances to the beta phase of testing. The web software should be fully completed by now. The software is released to a restricted number of users for testing before it is officially released. Since the web site design uses HTML coding, it's easy to integrate individual web pages on site; hence the alpha/beta method is usually not used for website development. This means they can build and test one page at a time. After completion they can move onto the next one, with each page independent of each other.

Code testing refers to the process where the testing or development engineer verifies the code and make sure that there are no software bugs. Because the time involved in web development is small it is important that the software is free of bugs. A popular method used by experienced programmers for bug free coding is the paired-programming.

The Paired programming is a method in software development where two programmers work simultaneously at one keyboard. One programmer types in the code when the other person observes and reviews each line at the same time. The judgment behind taking up this method is the following. The Economist proclaims that, "Laurie Williams of the University of Utah in Salt Lake City has shown that paired programmers are only 15% slower than two independent individual programmers, but produce 15% fewer bugs."

As the development process continues the software is tested repeatedly. By the time it's finally released the software is free of bugs. Load testing is performed against heavy loads or inputs such as multiple user log-ins and mail servers to determine the point at which the web-site/application fails or the point when performance degrades. The testing documents the number of users the site will support simultaneously, the number of transactions it can handle and its response time under various conditions or traffic flows.

The testing done to estimate the compatibility of the application with the different interacting hardware of software is the Compatibility testing. This method tests how good the software is in interactions with operating system, peripherals, database, browser etc. It also tests the computing capacity of the hardware platform and the peripherals.

Functional testing asses the alignment between the application and its specifications checking that it provides all the required functions. To do that an extensive range of both normal and erroneous data will be input to validate the behavior caused by each of the software features. Regression testing is carried out to check that any changes made to the code in order to enhance it or to fix defects has not affected any functionality.

Regression testing is an important testing method when the software development method is iterative. Iterative software development is a method in which new functionality is added to existing software. In this case one should make sure that the new addition has not affected any of the existing functionality. Regression testing is done to find out any of such instances. The above mentioned methods are essential tests to complete the web software testing.
About the Author
Software Testing Basics cover the basic steps for software testing. Check our site for more articles on software testing. For example Black Box Testing tests without knowledge of the code.
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