Looking to implement a reliability testing for your embedded software system? Want to make sure your newly developed mobile app is bug-free and fully capable of satisfying end-users’ demand? Make sure not to take lightly the software testing and QA process. Today’s article will enlighten you about the significance of software testing and show you how it’s done today.

On January 1st, 2000, the world almost ended. Well, it did in some places. A nuclear station in Japan sounded an alarm, the Pentagon satellites stopped processing information, and all over the world, people became 100 years older, digitally at least. Sometime in the 80s, computer engineers discovered that software had a drawback. It recorded only the last two digits of the date. So, the transition from 1999 to 2000 wouldn’t make sense to it. And the outcome could be unpredictable from planes falling from the sky to life-support systems failing and prisons releasing criminals. No wonder, millions of dollars were spent on programmers hoping they could fix the issue. And they did. Most people didn’t notice any chaos. Those countries that decided to ignore the issue didn’t suffer any significant damage either. But all the engineering effort used for the Year 2000 problem wasn’t for nothing. The bug had one huge benefit – software testing became extremely popular.

Software testing or how QA is done today

In 2002, software development leaders created the manifesto for agile software development. This new approach was a direct response to the traditional method known as Waterfall that migrated from the old manufacturing practices. In Waterfall, you work in stages that strictly follow one another, which is intuitive but risky. If, or more correctly, when a tester finds a bug in the code, design, or even product requirements, the project has to start all over again. This also means that the engineering and testing teams don’t work closely together. Agile is 12 principles that all come down to a few core ideas: embrace change, stick to the shorter cycle, and collaborate more. So, testers are now required members of the engineering team who maintain the product quality from the very start. Now feedback can be exchanged in the blink of an eye and bugs can be fixes happen at the time of coding. Agile methods are also effectively used in embedded systems programming. Testing became more than a routine task of sorting through the code. A new process deserved the title of Quality Assurance, which also covers planning, monitoring, and control.

Types of testing

If you want your new software to meet particular business requirements and objectives, you will want to avail yourself of some effective types of tests.

Functional testing usually has an input, or ‘what to do,’ and output, or ‘what we should expect.’ This testing can be done by people who have minimal knowledge about how the systems work from the inside, which is why it’s often called blackbox testing.

If you need to test the quality of the code itself, assess its security, see how its smallest parts function within a system and interact, you will need to rely on whitebox testing. This is done by the programmers engaged in the development of this particular software or software engineers who know how to code.

But not all tests need written cases. Sometimes they are done sporadically to save time or simply to see what will happen if we decide to improvise. This type of testing is referred to as ad hoc tests. Obviously, such type of testing should be done by a human tester, since for the time being, machines can improvise better than a human. But can machines do it?

Before the agile manifesto emerged, test automation was a badly underused technique. But it makes sense in the logic of continuous iterative improvement. A developer can write a test script once and run it simultaneously on as many devices and browsers as you want, as many times as you want, and for as long as you can leave your computer on. Using this type of testing can be challenging. Only high skilled testers can write test scripts. So project managers have to be smart when distributing testing efforts. While a machine cannot be trusted with all tests, in some situations, it’s a real lifesaver. In regression testing, for example, regression testing aims to check how the system can work after changes made to it. It’s ineffective and meaningless to make people perform dozens of monotonous and the same tests every time there is a need for a new update. Automation testing is also one of the pillars of continuous delivery. DevOps are also dependent on continuous testing.

If you avail yourself of the services of professional software developers to ensure the quality of your product in earlier stages and go beyond classic QA to more analytical approaches like quality engineering.