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A Guide To Engineer Software Quality In Your Application

By Author: Diya Jones
Total Articles: 66

The quality of software applications has assumed utmost significance, given the changing user dynamics and the intensely competitive online market for such products. Business enterprises are literally burning the midnight oil to streamline their value chain by embracing digital transformation. This way, they hope to improve the software quality and do away with the procedural bottlenecks that have stymied outcomes like productivity, efficiency, and customer satisfaction. Revamping the SDLC has become the need of the hour given the advent of Agile and DevOps paradigms. What better way to achieve the same than by incorporating software quality engineering in the development, testing, and delivery cycle.

The focus is squarely on shift-left testing to ensure complex software codes are tested during the development stage only. This entails frequent testing of a software application and in the process, ensuring early detection of any hidden glitches. Software quality becomes the first casualty is due to the presence of glitches, which often go undetected in the traditional development and testing process. Software engineering focuses on mitigating glitches in the first place rather than going through the motions of identification and elimination later. It mostly employs test automation to validate the APIs and UI. The engineering of software quality consists of a few essential steps. These steps can ensure the early detection of bugs and pre-empt the following of rather expensive, time-consuming and iterative testing cycle later.

Steps to usher in digital quality engineering

The series of steps to be taken by the software quality assurance engineers to improve the quality of software is as follows:

Functional testing: In this type of black-box testing, the focus is on validating the specifications of software components. The process tests every button, link, and function on the screen wherein the output is analysed against the input without considering the internal architecture. This is mainly a simulated process that mimics the real test conditions and checks the user requirements.

Reviewing the source code: This should be done before the actual testing process. Akin to peer review, the process requires looking at the source code by a different set of developers. This can bring a lot of coding errors or glitches out in the open as a different set of eyes can get the perspective right instead of getting weighed down by the codes.

Usability testing: This is a comprehensive testing process involving the validation of functionality as well as user experience of the software. This differs from user acceptance testing and can be done by engaging either internal or external testers. The external testers should, however, fit into the profile of the actual end users. Usability testing as a part of the quality engineering strategy encompasses steps such as developing a strategy to validate the functions of the software application, identifying the testers, creating test cases, selecting the test automation tool, executing the tests followed by analyzing their results.

Testing the user interface/APIs: A software application comprises several APIs to interact with myriad touchpoints in the digital ecosystem. These touchpoints may include devices, operating systems, browsers etc. The interface testing would test the interactions/communication between the web server and various APIs to ensure they function seamlessly. Moreover, the testing process should ensure any interruption by the user is addressed effectively, both by the web server and APIs.

Unit testing: In this type of testing, methods, classes or components are treated as units and checked across a slew of inputs – valid, as well as, invalid. The test should create an overarching environment where any change in the source code database triggers the execution of unit tests. The tests can involve the use of virtualized inputs to mimic real time scenarios.

Compatibility testing: Today’s software applications interact with a lot of digital touchpoints including browsers (and its versions), operating systems, and devices. The test validates the features and functionalities of the application across browsers by checking JavaScript, authentication requests, web sockets etc. In addition to browsers, the application should be tested for its smooth functioning across operating systems like MacOS, Windows, Linux etc and mobile operating systems like Android, iOS and Windows OS respectively.

Conclusion

In addition to the above-mentioned tests, the QE services should execute load and stress testing as part of the overall performance testing process. This ensures the software works seamlessly for various scenarios and hardware configurations. Thereafter comes security testing to identify and eliminate the inherent system vulnerabilities. Should these tests be deployed and taken to their logical conclusion, the quality of software can be enhanced significantly.

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