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Unlocking the Secrets of Functional Testing: The Ultimate A-to-Z Guide QA / Software Testing

Jul 23, 2023 JIN

Unlocking the Secrets of Functional Testing: The Ultimate A-to-Z Guide

No matter how appealing the user interface, design, or speed, user satisfaction will only improve if the core functionality falls short. Recalling the early days of cell phones, when the most basic functions were limited to numbers dialing, calls answering, and rejecting. Users had no choice but to settle for whatever meager functionality offered. Times have changed. Today’s market is full of digital gadgets, from smartphones, and smartwatches, to tablets and digital applications hailing from manufacturers scattered across the globe. Having diversified options allow users to handpick the perfect fit catering to their unique needs and high expectations.

Within the current dynamic of technology development, product quality has become the critical differentiator, exerting a profound impact on customers’ purchasing decisions and business profitability. No user finds contentment in a crashing app or enjoys navigating through a website with overflow scrolling issues. CISQ’s report estimates that the cost of poor-software quality in the US has grown to at least $2.41 trillion. These astounding figures affirm that significant software development done right would cost much less.

Functional Testing, which the software industry relies heavily on, is one of the testing approaches to validate whether the software executes the way it should. It is more often than not carried out by expert testers to verify app segments and features functionalities, aiming to identify functional errors in hypothetical customer pathways; from there, developers can get these issues fixed before moving on to the next stages.

Why is Software Development Life Cycle Important?

What is Functional Testing?

Functional Testing is a software quality testing approach to validate that a software system impeccably aligns with its predefined applicable requirements and specifications. This comprehensive testing methodology dives deeply into every function within the software application, meticulously subjecting them to a rigorous examination. Functional Testing acts as the primary checkpoint in determining software’s performance by supplying appropriate input and precisely scrutinizing the resulting output.

Functional Testing mainly involves black box testing, and it is not concerned about the application’s source code. This Testing vigorously checks the software’s User Interface, APIs, Database, Security, Client/Server communication, and other application functionality under test, which can be done manually or by applying automation testing depending on the development stages, company resources, and development timeline.

Features of Functional Testing

Testers embark on this journey armed with either specifications or fully implemented features, allowing them to explore and assess their performance before jumping into the actual testing phase.

The complexity of functional tests escalates when multiple interconnected functions are put to the test simultaneously. We are carrying out such circumstances and scenarios, venturing beyond the simple interaction surface to disclose profound defects that may have otherwise remained hidden to establish a solid foundation for reliable software.

Functional Testing featuring:

  • An in-depth testing methodology using boundary value analysis and state transition testing techniques.
  • Testing automation is available.
  • Informal (like exploratory Testing) and formal, using formal test design techniques and comprehensive test cases and procedures.

Types of Functional Testing

Functional Testing comprises widespread categories, each serving a specific purpose in the software testing realm. Here are some of the noteworthy types:

Unit Testing

Revolves around developers crafting code units, whether interrelated or independent. This Testing is carried out during the coding development and is usually done by the developers themselves. To validate these units, developers create test cases that call methods within each unit, which can be a module, individual function, feature, procedure, object, etc., and might be isolated from other parts of the code. The expected results are obtained only when the required parameters are passed.

Code coverage is the main player in unit testing, aiming to cover three key aspects:

  • Line coverage
  • Code path coverage
  • Method coverage

Integration Testing

Comes into play when multiple functional modules must work cohesively to achieve end-to-end scenarios. This type of Testing validates the seamless interaction and coordination between various modules, and the system functions harmoniously. Integration testing typically would be run after unit testing.

Smoke Testing

Also known as build verification testing, it is conducted after each build release to ensure the build’s stability. It serves as an initial check to validate that the basic functionalities are intact and working cohesively.

Sanity Testing

Known as surface testing. It quickly verifies that the small additions/changes to the existing software build are functioning correctly. A prompt check on all essential functionalities is working as expected rather than focusing on the detailed functionalities, usually performed after a smoke test. Many have mistaken that smoke testing and sanity testing can be used interchangeably, which is not true. Sanity testing evaluates whether the software is ready for the next level of testing.

Regression Testing

Safeguards against any adverse impact caused by new code additions, bug fixes, or enhancements to the existing functionality. It ensures that the application remains stable and continues to adhere to the specified requirements. The regression test is often performed after the sanity test is completed.

Beta/Usability Testing

The product is exposed to actual customers in a production-like environment. Users test the product, providing valuable feedback based on their experience and comfort level. This testing phase closely resembles user acceptance testing, allowing for user-centric improvements.

Each of these testing types serves a distinctive purpose in guaranteeing software applications’ functionality, stability, and usability. By employing a combination of these tests, software development teams can reassure their products’ overall quality and performance before the official release.

Functional Testing Techniques

Here are some techniques you might consider using to create a functional test suite.

  • Boundary value tests: Check input validation by assessing extreme values and non-numeric input.
  • Decision-based tests: Certify expected results after user actions.
  • User-based tests: Examine component interaction within the application.
  • Ad hoc tests: Conduct informal tests to uncover hidden bugs or issues.

What do you test in Functional Testing?

Software quality tester conducts functional Testing to concentrate on these areas:

  • Accessibility: In sync on whether or not the system meets accessibility standards by performing accessibility checks.
  • Error Conditions: Check the system’s capability to handle errors effectively and provide useful error messages for debugging purposes.
  • Mainline Functions: Ensure the system’s core functions work as intended.
  • Basic Usability: Running usability tests to determine that end users can navigate the system effortlessly.

The software system is user-friendly and in line with the required standards for performing these tests.

software testing automation

Why Automate Functional Testing?

By automating repetitive tasks with the support of Artificial Intelligent, the development team resources can focus on more complex and critical activities. This shift allows companies to reduce expenses on labor costs, avoid unintended human error, and allocate resources much more effectively.

The outstanding advantage of automation is the time reduction. Testers no longer need to execute tedious tests repeatedly, as automation tools can perform them efficiently simultaneously. This optimization leads to consistent development processes and faster testing cycles.

Functional automation tools have proven to be effective and reliable testing methods. Over 73% of testers are doing it, statistics provided by Practitest from The 2023 State of Testing survey. These processes are favorable due to their high scalability and practicality in eliminating the need to hire and effort in training additional staff. Even startups are considering the automation methodology, as it provides such flexibility to accommodate their potential transition from a small-scale to a large-scale business and vice versa spontaneously. The only downside of automation testing is the massive upfront financial investment.

Benefits Of Automated Functional Testing

Automated functional Testing brings a great deal of perks to the table. Here are a few outstanding worth mentioning:

  • Accelerated testing process: Automated functional Testing significantly speeds up the testing process, just as mentioned above. By implementing automation tools built based on the SHIFT METHOD, developers gain access to actionable insights that can aid in resolving core concerns effectively and cover up all loopholes.
  • Expanded test coverage: Unlike manual Testing, automation functional testing enables the inclusion of many test cases. There’s no limit to the test cases you can incorporate based on your organization’s specific requirements. This flexibility empowers you to enhance the comprehensiveness of your testing suite.
  • Adherence to timelines: Automation functional testing proves effective in adhering to project timelines. By maintaining consistency in meeting deadlines, automation functional testing allows developers to schedule more thorough tests, address issues promptly, and continue refining the application.
  • Enhanced app quality: Automation functional testing facilitates frequent test runs continuously, feeding constant feedback to the development team and contributing to improved app quality.

What Makes SHIFT ASIA a Trusted Functional Testing Company

The rapid advancements in technology have opened up new possibilities for companies to bring innovative products to market. Keeping up with the quality standards to stay competitive is still a struggle for many. Therefore, before release, a software product must undergo an extensive, aggressive testing process to avoid any unfortunate mishaps. A combination of functional and nonfunctional Testing can help achieve this goal. At SHIFT ASIA, we specialize in facilitating the entire testing process from functional to non-functional, utilizing modern technologies to create and analyze test cases.

As a trusted software quality assurance companies, we bring our exceptional technical expertise to the table. Our approach combines a proven framework, automation tools, and effective testing methodologies to deliver the finest software products that exceed customer expectations. Contact our team to get your private consultation today.


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