As software products today become increasingly complex, maximizing test coverage is probably every tester’s primary goal for testing software applications. Testers worldwide rely on an array of different testing tools and approaches. However, there is a pressing need to test software systems (along with all their sub-systems) from beginning to end.
End-to-end testing allows testing teams to drive quality across the entire pipeline, replicating real user scenarios. In addition, it empowers teams to validate software systems and their sub-systems for data integrity.
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What is end-to-end testing?
A popular methodology used in the software development lifecycle. End to end testing enables testing teams to test the functionality and performance of a software application by replicating live settings under product-like circumstances. By simulating a real-world scenario, E2E testing validates the system under test and all its sub-systems to ensure they work and behave as expected.
End-to-end testing ensures every operation performed is accurate via the proper communication and integration with underlying components such as hardware, network, databases, and other applications.
What are the benefits of E2E testing?
End-to-end testing verifies all the building blocks that make up software or application. By testing every core functionality and each backend layer of the app, e2e testing verifies the overall function of the software and the interaction between individual tiers in the architecture – thus resulting in the development and delivery of high-quality software and consistent user experiences.
Let’s look at some benefits of E2E testing:
1. Tests each sub-system that makes up the application
With modern applications being built on layers of sub-systems across UI and API layers, networks, internal (and external) databases, and third-party integrations, end-to-end testing ensures each of these components works perfectly – in isolation as well as in association with all other components.
2. Improves test coverage and outcomes
Complex software applications made up of several smaller systems and sub-systems require comprehensive test coverage for best results. E2E testing helps test the entire application, both at the API and UI layers, from start to finish. Using automated and manual testing practices aids in maximizing test coverage. Also constantly uncovers bugs and issues in an exploratory manner.
3. Ensures bugs and issues detection on time
The software testing happens after every iteration in end-to-end testing. This allows testers to detect bugs and issues faster and earlier in the life cycle. The chances of bugs making their way further into the testing (or production) process are significantly reduced – thus ensuring the application is free of bugs and works seamlessly across its lifecycle.
4. Ensures the long-term success of software applications
Failure of even one aspect or sub-system can bring down the entire product’s performance or functionality. E2E testing helps maintain the stability of each component – thus ensuring the long-term success of the application under test. By incorporating different kinds of tests across the application lifecycle, end-to-end testing helps create additional test cases – that may not have been considered previously.
5. Maintains application health and well-being
Because E2E testing validates the performance of your application at every level, it keeps the health and well-being of your application at all times. By continuously testing applications from frontend to backend and across multiple sub-systems, end-to-end testing provides a much-needed perspective on software performance across different levels and environments.
6. Reduces testing effort and costs
Improved test coverage and the detection of bugs and issues sooner in the application development lifecycle also paves the way for reduced testing efforts and costs. Comprehensive testing at every step ensures fewer bugs and earlier identification of breakdowns. Hence minimizing the probability of repeat tests and, therefore, ultimately, the associated effort, time, and costs.
What are some best practices for developing an end-to-end testing framework?
Developing an end-to-end testing framework requires testing teams to take a well-planned and focused approach.
Here are some best practices to keep in mind while you chart out your e2e testing framework:
1. Analyze your requirements
Before you embark on the end-to-end testing journey, make sure to analyze your requirements thoroughly. Have a clear idea of how the software or app is supposed to work in every aspect and then accordingly set up a test environment that aligns with all the requirements
2. List the methods to successfully carry out E2E Testing
List all the testing methods, tools, and approaches you plan to carry out successful E2E testing. Include clear and detailed descriptions of standards that testers need to follow in each test.
3. Creating systematic workflows
Since test cases in any E2E test suite must be run in a specific sequence, make sure to create workflows that match the path users would take as they navigate through your application. This will help you get insight into the problems users might face while using your application; it will also help you rectify gaps effectively.
4. Increased Test Coverage
Don’t limit your testing to a handful of test cases. For best results, create multiple test cases to test every software functionality. And make sure to assign at least one test case for every condition.
5. Make a list of all the defects
Make a list of all the defects you have uncovered and prioritize them based on their severity or criticality. This will help you resolve critical bugs at the earliest while simultaneously improving your software application’s quality, performance, and availability.
Periodically track and monitor the progress of E2E testing to ensure the suitable test cases are being created to test every feature of the software or application under development. Such tracking can help you unearth gaps and challenges in your testing process. And also help empowering you to plan for overcoming them in time for the best outcomes.
Software applications today do not operate in isolation. Instead, they are part of an interconnected and tightly integrated ecosystem of several other systems, networks, and databases. Although such integration paves the way for a seamless and consistent user experience, it makes the app’s workflow considerably complicated on the backend. Carrying out end-to-end testing of such complex applications ensures the application (and its many dependencies) is working correctly, and that data is being shared accurately between multiple components.