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Introduction to Software Testing

Testing is a process used to help identify the correctness, completeness and quality of developed computer software. With that in mind, testing can never completely establish the correctness of computer software.

There are many approaches to software testing, but effective testing of complex products is essentially a process of investigation, not merely a matter of creating and following rote procedure. One definition of testing is “the process of questioning a product in order to evaluate it”, where the “questions” are things the tester tries to do with the product, and the product answers with its behavior in reaction to the probing of the tester. Although most of the intellectual processes of testing are nearly identical to that of review or inspection, the word testing is connoted to mean the dynamic analysis of the product—putting the product through its paces.

The quality of the application can and normally does vary widely from system to system but some of the common quality attributes include reliability, stability, portability, maintainability and usability. Refer to the ISO standard ISO 9126 for a more complete list of attributes and criteria.

Testing helps is Verifying and Validating if the Software is working as it is intended to be working. Thins involves using Static and Dynamic methodologies to Test the application.

Because of the fallibility of its human designers and its own abstract, complex nature, software development must be accompanied by quality assurance activities. It is not unusual for developers to spend 40% of the total project time on testing. For life-critical software (e.g. flight control, reactor monitoring), testing can cost 3 to 5 times as much as all other activities combined. The destructive nature of testing requires that the developer discard preconceived notions of the correctness of his/her developed software.

Software Testing Fundamentals

Testing objectives include

1. Testing is a process of executing a program with the intent of finding an error.
2. A good test case is one that has a high probability of finding an as yet undiscovered error.
3. A successful test is one that uncovers an as yet undiscovered error.

Testing should systematically uncover different classes of errors in a minimum amount of time and with a minimum amount of effort. A secondary benefit of testing is that it demonstrates that the software appears to be working as stated in the specifications. The data collected through testing can also provide an indication of the software’s reliability and quality. But, testing cannot show the absence of defect — it can only show that software defects are present.

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