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What is End-to-End Testing? Comprehensive Guide

What is End-to-End testing?
Posted On: 22 October 2023

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.

What is end-to-end testing?

End-to-end (E2E) testing involves verifying the end-to-end functionality of the software application in terms of how end-users will approach it. Let's take an example of a food delivery app. A user registers, logs in, selects a restaurant, adds food items to the cart from the menu, proceeds to checkout, and pays.

Here, end-to-end testing will involve testing this entire end-user-facing workflow. So, 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. This is a popular methodology used in the software development lifecycle and enables testing teams to ensure that application flow is in line with the intended outcome.

Importance of End-to-End Testing

E2E testing guarantees that the complicated apps work together smoothly and effectively. This testing goes beyond functionality checks to examine the user's experience and provide a holistic perspective of the application's performance.

E2E testing is effective at finding faults caused by component miscommunications. By discovering and fixing these integration flaws, E2E testing ensures that the application meets technical standards and produces a coherent and expected result, meeting user needs and business goals.

Types of End-to-End Testing

  • Horizontal E2E Testing: This type focuses on individual workflows within the application, ensuring each workflow functions correctly from the user’s perspective.
  • Vertical E2E Testing: A more technical approach, focusing on the backend processes and data transfer, ensuring the right data is transferred at the right time for smooth application execution.

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 maximizingtest coverage. Also constantly uncovers bugs and issues in an exploratory manner.

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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-beingz

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?

Best practices for end-to-end testing

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.

6. Monitoring

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.

End-to-End Testing Vs Other Testing

End-to-End Testing Vs Unit Testing:

Unit Testing:

  • Focuses on individual functions or methods.
  • Like checking each brick for quality.
  • Ensures each software part works in isolation
End-to-End Testing:

  • Examines the entire application flow.
  • Similar to evaluating the whole building’s structure.
  • Similar to evaluating the whole building’s structure.

End-to-End Testing Vs Integration Testing:

Integration Testing:

  • Tests how different software units interact.
  • Comparable to inspecting the connections between building blocks.
  • Ensures smooth interaction between application parts.
End-to-End Testing:

  • Covers the full application journey
  • Like assessing the entire pathway from entrance to exit.
  • Validates the complete system functionality, including user interface and external interfaces.

End-to-End Testing Vs Functional Testing:

Functional Testing:

  • Focuses on specific software functions and features.
  • Similar to testing each appliance in a house.
  • Checks if individual features work as intended.
End-to-End Testing:

  • Evaluates the entire system’s functionality.
  • Like reviewing how all home appliances work together in daily life.
  • Tests the system from a real-world user scenario perspective.

Maximize test coverage with ACCELQ e2e testing:

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 e2e integrations pave 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.

One tool that can help maximize test coverage and streamline the testing process is accelQ's end-to-end testing platform. By using accelQ, software development teams can automate their testing process, reduce errors, and achieve faster time-to-market with high-quality software products.


Geosley Andrades

Director, Product Evangelist at ACCELQ.

Geosley is a Test Automation Evangelist and Community builder at ACCELQ. Being passionate about continuous learning, Geosley helps ACCELQ with innovative solutions to transform test automation to be simpler, more reliable, and sustainable for the real world.

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