In the software development process, testing plays an important role. Testing ensures the software’s ultimate quality. There are various phases of testing throughout the development process including Unit testing, Integration testing, System testing, Acceptance testing, and User Acceptance Testing.

This last phase is particularly important because it is at this point where software is validated to ensure all of the appropriate business requirements have been satisfied before the software is released to the general market.

Software development places heavy emphasis on code creation – sometimes to the detriment of quality assurance. Without adequate testing, organizations find themselves with poor quality assurance at the end of the software development process. Small mistakes can lead to financial losses that can impair a company’s future and even cause startups to fail entirely.

To ensure high quality software production, organizations must ensure usability, performance, and security. Testing is necessary to detect and resolve technical issues in the software source code to accomplish that outcome.

Best Practices for Testing Data

There is a myth that assumes if testing is a good practice, then more testing must be better. Strategic testing is, in fact, effective and will help to produce a quality product. However, more testing is not necessarily better. The best test plans are:

  • Focused – Avoid repetition by maintaining focus upon testing that delivers relevant information about your software.
  • Specific - Each unit test should test only one edge case. Jamming multiple edge cases into one test makes it difficult for someone else to figure out why it’s failing if they accidentally break it. It also makes it harder for someone else to read and understand what’s being tested.
  • Updated – A test plan is a living document that must be frequently updated on an on-demand and on-going basis.
  • Shared with stakeholders – Stakeholder buy-in should be obtained and stakeholders should remain informed about testing processes.

Examples of Strategic Testing - Small Mistakes that Can Lead to Large Problems

Text Formatting

Front-end email validation is about figuring out if the syntax is correct, not if the email address is valid. In other words, the email must look like an email.

URL

When linking to a website, e.g. covid19.kgbase.com, URL testing must occur to view the URL for and see exactly how it will appear to site users. This includes ensuring the user ends up in the proper place. Testing should also check that the site is secure, starts with http, and does not lead to a 404-error page.

Because the site is not yet live, it’s likely a “hosts” file has been configured for the test environment. Once testing is complete, be sure to remove alternate URLs or testing scripts quickly. If Google identifies a site that appears to be running a test for an abnormally long period of time, they can interpret it as an attempt to deceive the search engines.

Specific Text Field Requirements

  • Currency codes require all caps, all alphabetic letters, and three digits.
  • The sale price number must always be less than the original price number.
  • Certain identification entries must be ordered in a certain way, i.e. an iTunes id must begin with “id” and be followed by a string of digits.
  • Tests can be added to identify empty fields where none should exist.

Some tests, like the above empty field test, can be programmed by expert software developers and users with little to no coding background alike. For example, users of software with excessive data points like knowledge graphs can design and run custom tests as part of their user experience to identify invalid or empty records within a project before releasing their graphs publicly. Errors are automatically highlighted and tests can be saved for future use.

Benefits

The cost to fix a bug identified after a build is more than 4 times higher than if it had been found during the design phase. After deployment, the cost was 100 times higher.

UAT reduces the number of bugs released in final production and the amount of work going forward in development and maintenance. In addition, testing can sometimes even help developers understand the code better and help new developers on a project become familiar with code written by someone else.

The benefits of cost reduction and increased user satisfaction are well worth the additional work required.