Software development has evolved over the past few decades, and testing, a fundamental component of software development, has gone through many changes. Testing and debugging were introduced simultaneously during the debugging and programming phases. Testing became one of the stages in the debugging process in 1957, and it got its own separate identity from the debugging process.
A wide range of new approaches was introduced with the new millennium, which gave software testing evolution a complete transformation. The path to testing evolution changed entirely due to these new approaches. Tests were now considered a vital part of SDLC at every stage of the process. In addition, the importance of quality assurance and control was now emphasized at every step. Automation testing took testing to an entirely new level.
A comprehensive check was then conducted that ensured the proper operation of the software and finding errors. During the 1980s, the testing activity was also considered a quality assessment tool to measure product performance. This aspect of the software development lifecycle began to be given more importance and regarded as a clearly defined and managed process within the software development lifecycle. Since the mid-1990s, testing has been separated from the design process and has its life cycle.
Overview of testing methodologies
A software testing methodology is an approach to thoroughly testing a software application before putting it to actual use in real-time. There are various ways and methods to test software applications. The testing consists of all steps starting with unit testing of each functionality or module and continuing to integration testing for the entire system, to acceptance testing, which ensures that every detail has been tested and the application is ready to be delivered to the client. Testing methodologies for validating the Application Under Test (AUT) include functional and non-functional tests.
The era of Testers and Programmers
The roles of development and testing were considered mutually independent during this period. It was handed over to the testing team to verify upon completing the software development. Testers did not play a significant role in the requirement analysis phase, and the interaction between them and the business stakeholders was limited. The developers were heavily dependent on the knowledge passed on to them via documentation created during the design and development phases or obtained through gathering knowledge from those who wrote the code. The testing team did not have much insight into the requirements and expectations of the customers. As a result, only limited testing strategies were implemented.
Exploration and manual testing Era
Various methodologies, such as exploratory testing, agile testing, etc., were developed during the 1990s. However, the testing was done manually with detailed test cases and plans. Exploratory testing allows developers to use native methods to test and break software, including exploring the software within the scope of the testing charters. A significant increase in the number of Software Development processes has led to a requirement that more comprehensive testing methods be considered. The incremental and iterative approach that agile testing employs has contributed to the success of this aim.
The automated testing frameworks increased the testers’ productivity and efficiency by giving them a wide range of QA tools and frameworks to perform their tasks. The testing process also needed to be scaled up during this period. Through crowd-sourcing and cloud-based testing, the company managed the testing of its products more efficiently, with fewer investments in infrastructure and resources than traditional methods.
The era of Continuous Testing
The business dynamics started to change, and the customers began expecting to see an intermediate working model of the end product. This led to an increase in frequent and intermediate software releases. The improved network infrastructure provided better connectivity and faster deployment and testing across multiple platforms. However, increasing the frequency of deliveries resulted in more testing being required. Continuous Integration and Continuous Deployment have become very popular in recent years. These concepts were followed by Continuous Testing, which has become increasingly popular in recent years. Careful risk assessments have become the key to success for any company in real-time. Continuous testing helps to reduce the risk of such incidents by managing bugs before every release of the software.
Artificial Intelligence Era
Artificial Intelligence can be seen as the capability of a machine to emulate human behavior by using perception, understanding, and learning algorithms on its own. AI algorithms are based upon the prediction of data that are gathered from a variety of sources. Therefore, testing by AI algorithms is heavily dependent on the available amount of data. Many AI-powered QA tools are available today, which help to support unit tests, API tests, user interface tests, etc. The visual testing process is a classic example of AI in testing.
One should keep a watch on several Emerging Software Testing Trends and testing evolution, especially as we live in an age of unprecedented exponential changes driven by technology and digital transformation. Individuals and organizations ought to remain informed about what is happening in the industry. In addition, testing professionals, organizations, and teams would benefit from keeping up with these trends to stay ahead of the curve.