Understanding software testing

Test suite
The most common term for a collection of test cases is a test suite. The test suite often also contains more detailed instructions or goals for each collection of test cases. It definitely contains a section where the tester identifies the system configuration used during testing. A group of test cases may also contain prerequisite states or steps, and descriptions of the following tests.

Test case
A test case in software engineering normally consists of a unique identifier, requirement references from a design specification, preconditions, events, a series of steps (also known as actions) to follow, input, output, expected result, and actual result. Clinically defined a test case is an input and an expected result. This can be as pragmatic as ‘for condition x your derived result is y’, whereas other test cases described in more detail the input scenario and what results might be expected. It can occasionally be a series of steps (but often steps are contained in a separate test procedure that can be exercised against multiple test cases, as a matter of economy) but with one expected result or expected outcome. The optional fields are a test case ID, test step or order of execution number, related requirement(s), depth, test category, author, and check boxes for whether the test is automatable and has been automated. Larger test cases may also contain prerequisite states or steps, and descriptions. A test case should also contain a place for the actual result. These steps can be stored in a word processor document, spreadsheet, database, or other common repository. In a database system, you may also be able to see past test results and who generated the results and the system configuration used to generate those results. These past results would usually be stored in a separate table.

Manual testing
Manual testing is the oldest and most rigorous type of software testing. Manual testing requires a tester to perform

manual test operations on the test software without the help of Test automation. Manual testing is a laborious activity that requires the tester to possess a certain set of qualities; to be patient, observant, speculative, creative, innovative, open-minded, resourceful, unopinionated, and skillful.

Repetitive manual testing can be difficult to perform on large software applications or applications having very large dataset coverage. This drawback is compensated for by using manual black-box testing techniques including equivalence partitioning and boundary value analysis. Using which, the vast dataset specifications can be divided and converted into a more manageable and achievable set of test suites.

There is no complete substitute for manual testing. Manual testing is crucial for testing software applications more thoroughly.

Test automation
Test automation is the use of software to control the execution of tests, the comparison of actual outcomes to predicted outcomes, the setting up of test preconditions, and other test control and test reporting functions. Commonly, test automation involves automating a manual process already in place that uses a formalized testing process.

Another important aspect of test automation is the idea of partial test automation, or automating parts but not all of the software testing process. If, for example, an oracle cannot reasonably be created, or if fully automated tests would be too difficult to maintain, then a software tools engineer can instead create testing tools to help human testers perform their jobs more efficiently.

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Understanding software testing