What is system testing in software? We all know that building performance-driven and bug-free software products are now a mandate as software eats the world. The cost of fixing a bug increases if it is discovered later in the development cycle. The cost of software bugs stands at approximately $2.8 trillion a year.
That apart, modern software testing methodologies like agile and DevOps heavily focus on comprehensive testing to ensure that the software is reliable and performs as expected. As such, focusing on all aspects of testing, such as system testing, unit testing, integration testing, and acceptance testing, all become important.
Each of these tests corresponds to each stage of the development cycle. There are four main levels of software testing to conduct before shipping the software. These are Unit testing or first-level tests, Integration or second-level testing, System or third-level testing, and also the final, Acceptance tests.
What is System Testing?
System testing comes after the QA team has ensured that all the functional blocks of the software have been integrated correctly and are functioning as expected. The teams perform this testing on a completely integrated system to assess the compliance of the system with its corresponding requirements, functional specification, or system specification documentation.
The input in the system test is of the components that have passed integration testing. It also detects the irregularities between the units integrated together.
System testing evaluates against defects such as:
- Misuse of system resources
- Environment incompatibility
- Incorrect or missing functionality
- Unexpected combinations of user-level data
- Usability challenges etc.
System testing aims to identify and minimize risks associated with system behavior in a specific environment. Testers use an environment that mimics the environment after release as closely as possible.
This testing becomes a critical part of the testing process to reduce risk since bug-free components often do not perform as well as a system. It also:
- Verifies the conformance to design, features, functionalities, and performance stated within the product requirements
- Prevents bugs and other defects to impact the software and development velocity
- Validates the confidence in the system before moving to acceptance testing
As a result, system testing needs a robust test plan and the associated test documentation. This plan must be based on system-specific documents covering both the software and hardware requirements. With such a comprehensive plan, QA teams can uncover errors and also ensure that the system works as intended.
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Types of System Testing
Some of the tests conducted under system testing also include:
Tests the speed, stability, scalability, and reliability of the software product or application under various conditions and different loads.
Ensures that the functionality of the software is operating as per the requirements specification and is within the capabilities of the system.
Graphic user interface (GUI) testing:
Tests the visual elements customers use to interact with the system.
Basically verifies that the software in development is supported across different devices and browsers and is mobile optimized.
Tests how the software behaves under extreme load.
Evaluates the system’s robustness under the varying loads.
Regression testing verifies whether the system works properly after the change or not.
Determines if the system is recoverable after common close down conditions.
Verifies that the build is stable to test, and all the critical functionalities are working as expected. It also evaluates if the build can be further tested or not.
Tests to uncover the vulnerabilities of the system.
So what is System testing?
It is a Black Box testing technique that does not require internal knowledge of the code. Black Box testing, also known as Behavioral Testing, focuses on input and output. The internal code is hidden from the tester.
This testing needs a clear test plan, followed by writing the tests and building the use cases. The testing team then has to create the test data. QA teams may choose to introduce test automation at this stage for tests that can be automated and continue with manual tests to cover the remaining functionality.
The next step is to share the test results with the development team, who work on fixing the bugs. Once all errors are fixed, the testers run regression tests to ensure that the untouched functionalities remain unaffected. Lastly, this step must run multiple times to ensure that no critical bugs remain in the system.
Best Practices in System Testing
Here are a few best practices for robust testing the system.
- Replicate real-time scenarios for better understanding and wider coverage of issues.
- Verify the system’s response in various terms.
- Keep the end-user in mind and install and configure the system according to the documentation.
- Create users for all roles and complete at least one cycle of the workflows.
- Ensure comprehensive testing to make sure that the smallest change to the code does not introduce new bugs into the system.
System tests takes place in a crucial stage of development. In short, this is the phase where the entire system comes together for the first time. And so, it is crucial to develop a comprehensive test strategy, compelling test cases, and focus on documentation. Only then it is possible to build confidence in the system and ensure great Acceptance test outcomes.