by Dinesh Thakur Category: Software Engineering

Once the software is developed it should be tested in a proper manner before the system is delivered to the user. For this, two techniques that provide systematic guidance for designing tests are used. These techniques are discussed here.

 
by Dinesh Thakur Category: Software Engineering

The software is tested at different levels. Initially, the individual units are tested arid once they are tested, they are integrated and checked for interfaces established between them. After this, the entire software is tested to ensure that the output produced is according to user requirements. There are four levels of software testing, namely, unit testing, integration testing, system testing, and acceptance testing.

 
by Dinesh Thakur Category: Software Engineering

To perform testing in a planned and systematic manner, software testing strategy is developed. A testing strategy is used to identify the levels of testing which are to be applied along with the methods, techniques, and tools to be used during testing. This strategy also decides test cases, test specifications, test case decisions, and puts them together for execution.

Developing a test strategy, which efficiently meets the requirements of an organization, is critical to the success of software development in that organization. Therefore, a software testing strategy should contain complete information about the procedure to perform testing and the purpose and requirements of testing.

The choice of software testing strategy is highly dependent on the nature of the developed software. For example, if the software is highly data intensive then a strategy that checks structures and values properly to ensure that all inputs given to the software are correct and complete should be developed. Similarly, if it is transaction intensive then the strategy should be such that it is able to check the flow of all the transactions. The design and architecture of the software are also useful in choosing testing strategy. A number of software testing strategies are developed in the testing process. All these strategies provide the tester a template, which is used for testing. Generally, all testing strategies have following characteristics.

  1. Testing proceeds in an outward manner. It starts from testing the individual units, progresses to integrating these units, and finally, moves to system testing.
  2. Testing techniques used during different phases of software development are different.
  3. Testing is conducted by the software developer and by an ITG.
  4. Testing and debugging should not be used synonymously. However, any testing strategy must accommodate debugging with itself.

Types of Software Testing Strategies

There are different types of software testing strategies, which are selected by the testers depending upon the nature and size of the software. The commonly used software testing strategies are listed below.

                     Types of Software Testing Strategy

  1. Analytic testing strategy: This uses formal and informal techniques to access and prioritize risks that arise during software testing. It takes a complete overview of requirements, design, and implementation of objects to determine the motive of testing. In addition, it gathers complete information about the software, targets to be achieved, and the data required for testing the software.
  2. Model-based testing strategy: This strategy tests the functionality of the software according to the real world scenario (like software functioning in an organization). It recognizes the domain of data and selects suitable test cases according to the probability of errors in that domain.
  3. Methodical testing strategy: It tests the functions and status of software according to the checklist, which is based on user requirements. This strategy is also used to test the functionality, reliability, usability, and performance of the software.
  4. Process-oriented testing strategy: It tests the software according to already existing standards such as the IEEE standards. In addition, it checks the functionality of the software by using automated testing tools.
  5. Dynamic testing strategy: This tests the software after having a collective decision of the testing team. Along with testing, this strategy provides information about the software such as test cases used for testing the errors present in it.
  6. Philosophical testing strategy: It tests the software assuming that any component of the software can stop functioning anytime. It takes help from software developers, users and systems analysts to test the software.

A testing strategy should be developed with the intent to provide the most effective and efficient way of testing the software. While developing a testing strategy, some questions arise such as: when and what type of testing is to be done? What are the objectives of testing? Who is responsible for performing testing? What outputs are produced as a result of testing? The inputs that should be available while developing a testing strategy are listed below.

  1. Type of development project
  2. Complete information about the hardware and software components that are required to develop the software
  3. Risks involved
  4. Description of the resources that are required for testing
  5. Description of all testing methods that are required to test various phases of SDLC
  6. Details of all the attributes that the software is unable to provide. For example, software cannot describe its own limitations.

The output produced by the software testing strategy includes a detailed document, which indicates the entire test plan including all test cases used during the testing phase. A testing strategy also specifies a list of testing issues that need to be resolved.

An efficient software testing strategy includes two types of tests, namely, low-level tests and high-level tests. Low-level tests ensure correct implementation of small part of the source code and high-level tests ensure that major software functions are validated according to user requirements. A testing strategy sets certain milestones for the software such as final date for completion of testing and the date of delivering the software. These milestones are important when there is limited time to meet the deadline.

In spite of these advantages, there are certain issues that need to be addressed for successful implementation of software testing strategy. These issues are discussed here.

  1. In addition to detecting errors, a good testing strategy should also assess portability and usability of the software.
  2. It should use quantifiable manner to specify software requirements such as outputs expected from software, test effectiveness, and mean time to failure which should be clearly stated in the test plan.
  3. It should improve testing method continuously to make it more effective.
  4. Test plans that support rapid cycle testing should be developed. The feedback from rapid cycle testing can be used to control the corresponding strategies.
  5. It should develop robust software, which is able to test itself using debugging techniques.
  6. It should conduct formal technical reviews to evaluate the test cases and test strategy. The formal technical reviews can detect errors and inconsistencies present in the testing process.


 
by Dinesh Thakur Category: Software Engineering

A test case provides the description of inputs and their expected outputs to observe whether the software or a part of the software is working correctly. IEEE defines test case as 'a set of input values, execution preconditions, expected results and execution post conditions, developed for a particular objective or test condition such as to exercise a particular program path or to verify compliance with a specific requirement.' Generally, a test case is associated with details like identifier, name, purpose, required inputs, test conditions, and expected outputs.

 
by Dinesh Thakur Category: Software Engineering

A test plan describes how testing would be accomplished. It is a document that specifies the purpose, scope, and method of software testing. It determines the testing tasks and the persons involved in executing those tasks, test items, and the features to be tested. It also describes the environment for testing and the test design and measurement techniques to be used. Note that a properly defined test plan is an agreement between testers and users describing the role of testing in software.

 
by Dinesh Thakur Category: Software Engineering

After the implementation phase, the testing phase begins. Testing of software is critical, since testing determines the correctness, completeness and quality of the software being developed. Its main objective is to detect errors in the software.

 
by Dinesh Thakur Category: Software Engineering

Code documentation is a manual-cum-guide that helps in understanding and correctly utilizing the software code. The coding standards and naming conventions written in a commonly spoken language in code documentation provide enhanced clarity for the designer. Moreover, they act as a guide for the software maintenance team (this team focuses on maintaining software by improving and enhancing the software after it has been delivered to the end user) while the software maintenance process is carried out. In this way, code documentation facilitates code reusability.

 
by Dinesh Thakur Category: Software Engineering

While writing software code, several coding tools are used along with the programming language to simplify the tasks of writing the software code. Note that coding tools vary from one programming language to another as they are developed according to a particular programming language. However, sometimes a single coding tool can be used in more than one programming language. Generally, coding tools comprises text editors, supporting tools for a specific programming language, and the framework required to run the software code. Some of the commonly used coding tools are listed in Table.

 
by Dinesh Thakur Category: Software Engineering

Code verification is the process used for checking the software code for errors introduced in the coding phase. The objective of code verification process is to check the software code in all aspects. This process includes checking the consistency of user requirements with the design phase. Note that code verification process does not concentrate on proving the correctness of programs. Instead, it verifies whether the software code has been translated according to the requirements of the user.

 
by Dinesh Thakur Category: Software Engineering

Programming refers to the method of creating a sequence of instructions to enable the computer to perform a task. It is done by developing logic and then writing instructions in a programming language. A program can be written using various programming practices available. A programming practice refers to the way of writing a program and is used along with coding style guidelines. Some of the commonly used programming practices include top-down programming, bottom-up programming, structured programming, and information hiding.



 
by Dinesh Thakur Category: Software Engineering

This methodology refers to a set of well-documented procedures and guidelines used in the analysis, design, and implementation of programs. Coding methodology includes a diagrammatic notation for documenting the results of the procedure. It also includes an objective set (ideally quantified) of criteria for determining whether the results of the procedure are of the desired quality. The steps to use coding' methodology are listed below.

 
by Dinesh Thakur Category: Software Engineering

Writing an efficient software code requires a thorough knowledge of programming. This knowledge can be implemented by following a coding style which comprises several guidelines that help in writing the software code efficiently and with minimum errors. These guidelines, known as coding guidelines, are used to implement individual programming language constructs, comments, formatting, and so on. These guidelines, if followed, help in preventing errors, controlling the complexity of the program, and increasing the readability and understandability of the program.

 
by Dinesh Thakur Category: Software Engineering

The code written for software should be according to the requirements of the users. A program is said to be good if the software code is flawless or contains minimum errors. For the effective performance of the software, some particular features are required in almost all languages that are used to write the software code. These features are listed below.

 
by Dinesh Thakur Category: Software Engineering

IEEE defines software design documentation as 'a description of software created to facilitate analysis, planning, implementation, and decision-making. This design description is -used as a medium for communicating software design information and can be considered as a blueprint or model of the system.



 
by Dinesh Thakur Category: Software Engineering

Software design reviews are a systematic, comprehensive, and well-documented inspection of design that aims to check whether the specified design requirements are adequate and the design meets all the specified requirements. In addition, they also help in identifying the problems (if any) in the design process. IEEE defines software design review as 'a formal meeting at which a system's preliminary or detailed design is presented to the user, customer, or other interested parties for comment and approval.' These reviews are held at the end of the design phase to resolve issues (if any) related to software design decisions, that is, architectural design and detailed design (component-level and interface design) of the entire software or a part of it (such as a database).



 
by Dinesh Thakur Category: Software Engineering

As soon as the first iteration of architectural design is complete, component-level design takes place. The objective of this design is to transform the design model into functional software. To achieve this objective, the component-level design represents -the internal data structures and processing details of all the software components (defined during architectural design) at an abstraction level, closer to the actual code. In addition, it specifies an interface that may be used to access the functionality of all the software components.

 
by Dinesh Thakur Category: Software Engineering

Requirements of the software should be transformed into an architecture that describes the software's top-level structure and identifies its components. This is accomplished through architectural design (also called system design), which acts as a preliminary 'blueprint' from which software can be developed. IEEE defines architectural design as 'the process of defining a collection of hardware and software components and their interfaces to establish the framework for the development of a computer system.' This framework is established by examining the software requirements document and designing a model for providing implementation details. These details are used to specify the components of the system along with their inputs, outputs, functions, and the interaction between them. An architectural design performs the following functions.



 
by Dinesh Thakur Category: Software Engineering

Data design is the first design activity, which results in less complex, modular and efficient program structure. The information domain model developed during analysis phase is transformed into data structures needed for implementing the software. The data objects, attributes, and relationships depicted in entity relationship diagrams and the information stored in data dictionary provide a base for data design activity. During the data design process, data types are specified along with the integrity rules required for the data. For specifying and designing efficient data structures, some principles should be followed. These principles are listed below.



 
by Dinesh Thakur Category: Software Engineering

Once the requirements document for the software to be developed is available, the software design phase begins. While the requirement specification activity deals entirely with the problem domain, design is the first phase of transforming the problem into a solution. In the design phase, the customer and business requirements and technical considerations all come together to formulate a product or a system.

 
by Dinesh Thakur Category: Software Engineering

Several tools are used in the organizations to define and document requirements. These tools differ from each other in their features, capabilities, and goals. These distinct characteristics provide a foundation to select and customize tools for different software projects. Some of the commonly used requirements tools are listed in Table.

 

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About Dinesh Thakur

Dinesh ThakurDinesh Thakur holds an B.SC (Computer Science), MCSE, MCDBA, CCNA, CCNP, A+, SCJP certifications. Dinesh authors the hugely popular blog. Where he writes how-to guides around Computer fundamental , computer software, Computer programming, and web apps. For any type of query or something that you think is missing, please feel free to Contact us.