Software Testing

Unlike physical systems, most of the defects in software are design errors. Read about the important purpose of software testing and differentiate between verification and validation and basic software testing terms. Compare and contrast the use of various testing strategies, including black-box, white-box, top-down, and bottom-up.

Test Levels

The target of the test

Software testing is usually performed at different levels along the development and maintenance processes. That is to say, the target of the test can vary: a single module, a group of such modules (related by purpose, use, behavior, or structure), or a whole system. Three big test stages can be conceptually distinguished, namely Unit, Integration, and System. No process model is implied, nor are any of those three stages assumed to have greater importance than the other two.

Unit testing

Unit testing verifies the functioning in isolation of software pieces which are separately testable. Depending on the context, these could be the individual subprograms or a larger component made of tightly related units. A test unit is defined more precisely in the IEEE Standard for Software Unit Testing (IEEE1008-87), which also describes an integrated approach to systematic and documented unit testing. Typically, unit testing occurs with access to the code being tested and with the support of debugging tools, and might involve the programmers who wrote the code.

Integration testing

Integration testing is the process of verifying the interaction between software components. Classical integration testing strategies, such as top-down or bottom-up, are used with traditional, hierarchically structured software.

Modern systematic integration strategies are rather architecture-driven, which implies integrating the software components or subsystems based on identified functional threads. Integration testing is a continuous activity, at each stage of which software engineers must abstract away lower-level perspectives and concentrate on the perspectives of the level they are integrating. Except for small, simple software, systematic, incremental integration testing strategies are usually preferred to putting all the components together at once, which is pictorially called "big bang" testing.

System testing

System testing is concerned with the behavior of a whole system. The majority of functional failures should already have been identified during unit and integration testing. System testing is usually considered appropriate for comparing the system to the non-functional system requirements, such as security, speed, accuracy, and reliability. External interfaces to other applications, utilities, hardware devices, or the operating environment are also evaluated at this level.