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The Critical Importance of Testing in Web Development for Optimal Performance - Inside WPRiders Article

The Critical Importance of Testing in Web Development for Optimal Performance

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What is testing and why it’s necessary?

Software systems are an integral part of life, from business applications (e.g., banking) to consumer products (e.g., cars). Most people have had an experience with software that did not work as expected. Software that does not work correctly can lead to many problems, including loss of money, time, or business reputation, and even injury or death. Software checking is a way to assess the quality of the software and to reduce the risk of software failure in operation. 

The Critical Importance of Testing in Web Development for Optimal Performance - Inside WPRiders Article

A common misperception of testing is that it only consists of running tests, i.e., executing the software and checking the results. Software testing is a process that includes many different activities, test execution (including checking of results) is only one of these activities. The test process also includes activities such as test planning, analyzing, designing, and implementing tests, reporting test progress and results, and evaluating the quality of a test object. 

Some validation does involve the execution of the component or system being tested, such testing is called functional testing (or dynamic testing). Other testing does not involve the execution of the component or system being tested, such testing is called static testing. So, testing also includes reviewing work products such as requirements, user stories, and source code.

Another common misperception of testing is that it focuses entirely on the verification of requirements, user stories, or other specifications. While testing does involve checking whether the system meets specified requirements, it also involves validation, which is checking whether the system will meet user and other stakeholder needs in its operational environment(s).

Rigorous checking of components and systems, and their associated documentation, can help reduce the risk of failures occurring during operation. When defects are detected, and subsequently fixed, this contributes to the quality of the components or systems. In addition, software testing may also be required to meet contractual or legal requirements or industry-specific standards.

What are the different types of website testing?

Functional Testing

Functional testing of a website involves tests that evaluate the functions of the website. This includes the following:

  • Any type of form
    • Do the forms submit the data correctly? – Is the data, that the user entered, transferred correctly to the database? You need to check that the information from the frontend matches the information from the backend 
    • Do they handle validations appropriately? – You need to test negative scenarios such as: usernames that are too long or too short, empty text fields that are required, special characters in first/last name text fields, etc.
  • Text fields
    • Can you input data in the respective field?
    • If the text field has a search functionality, does it bring results according to your query?
    • Each text field should have a specific role, so you know how to test each one
  • Navigation (menus/links/buttons)
    • Are the redirects working?
    • Are any of the pages missing, leading the user to an error 404 page?
    • Do the buttons reveal menus, when hovering/clicking?
    • Do they function according to the requirements?
  • Content display
    • Is the content(text, images, videos) displayed correctly?
  • Interactive Features
    • Do interactive features such as sliders, carousels, accordions, and tooltips function smoothly and as intended?
  • Payment Testing
    • If you’re working on an e-commerce website, you need to check if the payment system is working correctly
  • Cross-Browser and Cross-Device Compatibility
    • All the tests mentioned need to be executed on different combinations of browsers (Chrome, Firefox, Safari, etc.) and devices (desktop, tablet, mobile), along with different versions of operating systems.
The Critical Importance of Testing in Web Development for Optimal Performance - Inside WPRiders Article

Non-Functional Testing

Non-functional testing of a website evaluates the non-functional requirements of the application. It tests all the aspects that are not tested in functional testing which include:

  • Localization
    • Are your translations accurate?
    • Do your forms accept contact information that is specific to that country?
    • You need to cover linguistic, technical, and visual checks to overcome translational and dialect issues
  • Performance
    • Site speed – What are your load times? You can use a tool that will assess your website load times and then make modifications accordingly to improve the results.
    • Load test – What happens when a number of concurrent users perform a specific number of transactions within a set duration on your website?
    • Stress test – What happens if your website is pushed beyond its normal operational capacity?
  • Usability
    • Is it intuitive?
    • Is it easy to navigate?
    • Does it meet the needs of your users?
  • Accessibility
    • Is it accessible to all users, including those with disabilities?
    • Does your website work well with screen readers?
    • Can your website be navigated using only a keyboard or other assistive devices, without relying on a mouse?
    • For more information regarding accessibility testing, look into the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines 
  • Security
    • Does your website have any vulnerabilities?
    • Does your website comply with the regulations of your country?
    • Do you limit/control user privileges?

Static Testing

As mentioned before, static testing is an assesement method that examines a program and its associated documents, without executing the program. Here are some ways of how this can be applied to web development:

The Critical Importance of Testing in Web Development for Optimal Performance - Inside WPRiders Article
  • Code reviews
    • Manually inspecting the source code to find defects and ensure code quality. 
  • Static code analysis
    • Automatically analyzing the code to detect potential issues. It will be tool-assisted.
  • Documentation review
    • You need to verify that the technical documentation is accurate, complete, and up to date.
  • Configuration File Checks
    • You need to ensure that configuration files are correctly set up and free from errors.
  • Security audits
    • You need to identify potential security vulnerabilities in the codebase. Some common security issues include SQL injection, cross-site scripting, insecure data handling, etc.
  • Adherence to best practices and standards
    • You need to ensure that the code adheres to best practices and industry standards. This means checking that coding conventions, design patterns, and architectural principles are followed.

Benefits of static testing

Static testing is the first type of testing done in any type of application development and it’s also the most important. Below you will find a list of some of the benefits and why it’s important:

  • It enables the early detection of defects before functional checking is performed. Defects found early are often much cheaper to remove than defects found when functional testing is done.
  • It helps identify defects that may not be easily found by functional testing.
  • It prevents defects in design or coding by uncovering inconsistencies, ambiguities, contradictions, omissions, inaccuracies, and redundancies in requirements.
  • It increases development productivity.
  • It reduces development costs and time, as well as testing costs and time.
  • It reduces the total cost of quality over the software’s lifetime, due to fewer failures later in the lifecycle or after delivery into operation. It will also make the maintenance phase much more manageable.

Automated website testing

There are a lot of devices and browser-OS combinations, so website validation is a major undertaking. It will benefit you immensely, if some of the tests are automated.

Automated testing relies on pre-scripted tests that run automatically to compare actual results with expected results. It can carry out repetitive tasks and regression tests after your website is updated.

However, automated testing can’t pick up on the little (and sometimes big) problems that real people will see. Everything from word choice to color matters, and this is why not everything can be automated.

What is more, if you run 100 automation scripts and 25% fail, you will still need human tests to figure out what has gone wrong. So, you can’t replace all manual validation with automated. You also need to hire individuals to write these automated test scripts, which places a further drain on your time and resources as a business.

The Critical Importance of Testing in Web Development for Optimal Performance - Inside WPRiders Article

Manual testing allows for human observation, which is more useful when boosting the UX and usability of your website. It is also more suited for user interface testing, exploratory tests, and ad hoc testing – where a QA specialist randomly tests your website, trying to break it and discover flaws.

In Conclusion…

In conclusion, software testing breaks the myth stating that it is just an addition that runs the software and wishes for the best. It is a very well thought out process, a mechanism to prevent a number of problems associated with faulty software. This is a complex process that includes not only the study and planning stages, but also the design of tests, their implementation and analysis of results.

This makes it act as a shield whereby the shortcomings are isolated before they become real life issues on the field. The effects of such problems can be severe involving monetary losses, time wastage and even possible dangers that users and stakeholders may encounter. Software testing is a process that goes beyond just confirming the compliance of the software with specified requirements. It goes further and verifies that the intended use of the software will indeed be achieved besides meeting the needs of the users in the existing operational environment.

By performing the test on software components, overall systems and system documentation, we greatly enhance the software’s robustness, reduce the potential of failure, and enhance the quality of the software in the process. The need for software testing is even amplified by the fact that there are times when it is not optional but a requirement borne out of contracts, regulations, or compliance to standards. Thus, software testing can be viewed as an insurance policy for the software, its users, and a guarantee for a successful outcome.

This article was written by Dan Grigorescu, QA Specialist at WPRiders

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