In many cases the primary cause of software start up failure tends to be poor quality assurance during the development process, this is where end-to-end testing can be used. End-to-end testing is one of the ways to prevent the release of poor quality software. Simply defined, end-to-end testing is a testing mechanism used to assess whether there are any interruptions in the flow of your software product. It is a comprehensive testing format measuring the product-user interaction from the start to the end.
These tests are useful if you want to determine the functionality of an application prior to providing your customers access to the application. If you haven’t attempted end-to-end testing before, this article is your beginner’s guide.
Why is end-to-end testing required?
In today’s rapidly evolving world, technology plays a major role in almost every sector. Every technological application is an interconnected system of multiple parts which work together as a unified whole outside the application’s environment. This makes the flow of an application complex and thus, needs to be monitored for any possible defects.
End-to-end testing is a process that examines your database as well as the back-end layer within your software product. The prime functions of an application rely on both the database and the back-end layer. By assessing them, end-to-end tests help to determine whether the software is carrying out all essential functions.
If you wish to test an application in different parts of its lifecycle, end-to-end tests offer the ability to do so. You can execute repetitive tests and examine all aspects of your application. This enables owners to increase the coverage of tests and run a successful application.
With the emergence of so many cloud deployment services and PaaS providers, end-to-end tests have become very useful for testing software products that are deployed in a cloud environment. Testing allows managers to provide an experience to users which is uniform across any device and/or platform.
Steps involved in an end-to-end test
Every end-to-end test relies on the following components:
• Go over the needs of the test thoroughly prior to setting it up
• Organize the testing environment according to protocol
• Assess the requirements of your software product
• Examine all processes within your system and its components and determine their requirements
• Outline the responsibilities of all systems
• Describe the testing techniques that you will follow in addition to the testing standards and guidelines that you intend to follow
• Outline the requirements for developing test cases and mention what tracking methods are in use
• Record the input and output information pertaining to each system
Categories of an end-to-end test
To make our understanding easier, end-to-end tests can be categorized into three types:
Functions of a user
In this section of the test, you can determine whether the user is able to smoothly perform all functions in the software. Mention the features of the software and its interconnected systems. Monitor all actions performed and keep track of the input and output information. Assess if there is any relation between the functions performed by the user. Determine the nature of these functions and whether they can be used again.
Conditions influenced by functions of a user
Building conditions need to be set up in a manner that easily helps you detect errors in flow. It is best to develop conditions for every user function. Include conditions that test factors such as time, sequence, etc.
Developing test cases
Developing the test cases is the next stage in the process of setting up an end-to-end test. Build the test cases using testing parameters available to you. For each scenario and user function, set up more than one test. Also, mention every condition as an independent test case.
Metrics to measure the success of an end-to-end test
The best way to ensure that your testing process will be effective is to utilize testing metrics. Here are four important metrics that help indicate test success:
• Defect information: You will receive a report that indicates the number of defects that were opened or closed every week. Monitor this information and assess whether each defect was severe or not.
• Status of test case preparation: Tracking what stage of test case preparation you are in is essential for mapping progress. Use a graph to measure the progress of your test cases in comparison to the number of tests that you originally planned.
• Test environment availability: This metric is used to track two factors. You will be tracking the total time scheduled for implementing tests in the testing environment each day. You will also measure the amount of time that has been actually spent in performing tests in the same environment.
• Progress of the weekly test: This metric assesses the progress of the tests that are being completed on a weekly basis. You will be comparing tests that have passed, failed, been completed, and not completed yet using this metric.
Before conducting end-to-end testing it is important to outline what it is you want to test and the metrics you are going to use to measure the software’s success. These tests are extremely useful when trying to deliver a top-quality offering and should not be underestimated by any organization.
Erik is the MIT-educated COO and Co-Founder of ProdPerfect. He loves unleashing the potential of the great folks in the world and loves helping make decisions with facts. A couple of years ago he co-founded ProdPerfect, where he helps his team grow personally and improve their ability to help people solve QA problems. He also helps customers use actual live data–instead of educated guesses–when deciding what tests to write and maintain. In his spare time, he podcasts and writes books about making fact-based decisions in business and politics.