Integration Testing Software Service & Its Main Approaches

Integration testing software service is aimed to validate the connection between components, and the cooperation of various system parts (operating system, equipment or hookups between various systems).

Integration Testing Levels: 

Component Integration Testing. On the given level, one checks the interaction between system components after component testing has been performed. 
System Integration Testing. The interaction between various systems is checked after the system testing has been executed. 

What are the Continuous Integration Services? 

Continuous Integration (CI) is a practice in software engineering. It’s aimed to provide an immediate feedback about the introduced defect in the code base, which can be detected and eliminated as soon as possible.

Three Approaches to Integration Testing: 

#1. Bottom Up Integration. Software tester gathers all the low-level modules, procedures, and functions and then performs their testing. After these activities, he gathers the next level of modules for integration testing. The given approach is good if all the modules (or nearly all of them) are ready. As well, the given approach helps to define the level of the app being ready, based on test results. 

#2. Top Down Integration. At first, software dedicated tester checks all high-level modules and gradually adds low-level ones. All the modules of lower levels are simulated by plugs with the similar functionality, and then whenever they are ready, they are replaced with real active components. 

#3. “Big Bang” Integration. All or almost all of the developed modules are assembled together as a complete system or its main part, and then tester executes integration testing. This approach is time-saving. But if test cases and their results are recorded in incorrect way – the process of integration testing will be more complicated, and will be an obstacle for the test team in achieving the main goal of integration testing.


Independent Testing: Test Design & Its Techniques

When software testers or dedicated testing teams perform independent testing, they inevitably use test design. What is this? 

Test design – is the stage in the process of software testing service, based on which test cases are designed in accordance with the previously defined quality criteria and test goals. 

Roles of Responsible for Test Design:

- Test Analyst – defines “WHAT to test?”
- Test Designer – defines “HOW to test?”

Test Design Techniques:

- Equivalence Partitioning. As an example, you have the range of valid values from 1 to 10, and you must choose the correct value within an interval of, let’s say 5, and one wrong value outside the interval - 0.
- Boundary Value Analysis. The given analysis can be applied to fields, records, files, or to any kind of entities with limitations.
- Cause/Effect. It’s, as a rule, the input of combinations of requirements (causes) in order to get the system response (effect). 
- Error Guessing. It’s when test analyst uses his/her knowledge and skills for interpreting the specifications in order to “predict” the system crash caused by some input conditions. 
- Exhaustive Testing – it is an extreme case. Within this technique, you must check all the possible combinations of input values, and it should find any problems. In practice, this method is not possible, due to the vast amount of input values.
- Treceability Matrix - is a two-dimensional table, which contains the corresponded functional requirements of the product and prepared test cases. The given technique is used by QA engineers to validate the product tests coverage. 


Software Test Services: Bug Hunting

There is also one relative methodology that is called Bug Hunting. In practice, this event is quite interesting and emotional. 
Depending on the project, developed functionality and the number of developers in the team, the given event may be performed on the following scenario: 

- Participation of all project team members (programmers, testers, managers, etc.). 
- Creation of teams, where each one has members of different professions. 
- Each team has to validate a particular program functionality (interface, data storage, data processing, data transferring, performance and so on).
- There are deadlines for defect detection (4 hours, 8 working hours and so on).
- All the team members start validating one's functionality together. 
- All the defects or wishes on improving the functionality are recorded.
- Detected defects are described in details if it’s needed.
- Each team represents all the detected defects on the general meeting.
- Defects from each team are shared in the document.

When the event is finished, all the documentation with detected bugs is passed to the testers, who reproduce them & introduce relevant defects in the bug tracking system. 
There are some positive moments in the following type of team bug hunting: 

- The involvement of the entire team;
- "A fresh perspective" on the product;
innovative approaches to verification;
- Developers often confess about the defects, which they haven’t  seen in the code, but none of them shared this information. 

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Software Test Services: Error Guessing & Exploratory Testing Techniques

Error Guessing Technique uses the tester’s experience in order to predict the place and type of defect occurrence in the system or in the system component. Fault Attack is the synonym to the given technique. This technique is used for defining the system quality and reliability, by means of attempts to cause certain failures. 
Depending on the project, there can also be some useful standardized and public testing methodologies as SUMI and WAMI. You can also compile a list of defects, which usually take place in the program. Tests and scenarios are created accordingly to these defects.

Exploratory Testing Technique is an informal method for designing tests and test scenarios. 
This technique is used when the product doesn’t have requirements and documentation or limited time for testing. Tester checks the program and for statistics can record what tests were performed, and in the case of defect detection, tester creates the improved tests for more exhaustive program testing. In this method that is based on structure, interface, and program logic, one can and must use the earlier techniques. 
This "surface" method can identify only a small percentage of the total number of defects in the product, and is commonly used as a supplement to formal methods.
This method is very close to Ad Hoc Testing method, which is also informal. There are no formal phases of preparation and prediction of expected results. 


Software Test Services: Experience Based Test Design Techniques

The name of the given method speaks for itself. Experience Based Test Design Technique doesn’t belong to formal methods. Decisions about what to check in the product are made by the tester based on his/her:

- Knowledge of and experience with similar projects;
- Knowledge of and experience with technology;
- General experience in testing;
- Intuition;
- Knowledge of the basic reasons for which programs do not work correctly;
- Knowledge about possible defects and their distribution.

In addition to testers, customers, developers, end users, business analysts, and all interested in the project can participate in this testing method. Their knowledge and experience always help in directing testing efforts in the right direction for the definition of defects. 

In order to make a decision, it is also very useful to have the information about already existing defects in the program. The main idea of this method lies in getting quick feedback on the quality of the program without the use of formal processes. 
Tests and test scenarios are based on experience, and after their performance can be obtained by using metrics (created by tests, passed the tests, not passed tests, the number of defects found and their significance) the primary view about the quality of the project, as well as the "Pareto principle" identifies areas for further testing. 


Software Test Services: Structure Based Test Design Techniques

Structure Based Test Design Technique has the synonym – White-box Technique, as we have access to the information in the form of a code about the software product structure. 

This type of testing involves the development of tests or test scenarios based on the analysis of the internal component structure or the entire system. Tester has an access to the program code, analyzes it, and determines which parts of the software (variable, condition, function and so on), are necessary to validate and cover with a set of tests or test scenarios. 

There are Methods of Test Development Based on the Structure of the Software Product:

- Statement Coverage Testing.
- Decision Coverage Testing.
- Condition Coverage Testing.

If in Black-box Method, the functionality coverage based on requirements and available documentation, in the White-box method, testers operate the notion - Code Coverage. The magnitude of this level is calculated in percentage (%), and if code coverage reaches 100%, you must perform an additional Coverage Analysis of the code and create the appropriate missing tests or scenario.

Depending on the project type, quality requirements, available time for development and staff competence, testers create tests using one or several Coverage Criteria:

- Function coverage determines whether or not each program function was executed. 
- Statement coverage determines the percentage of operators that were verified by tests and the total number of operators. Within this method, every line of code must be tested and implemented.
- Decision coverage - shows the percentage of results of  alternatives or branches that have been performed by a set of tests. Branch is a result of the decision. The decision shall be taken when analyzing such operators as: IF condition, or DO-WHILE or REPEAT-UNTIL LOOPS, CASE. 
- Condition coverage - shows the percentage of audited Boolean condition (True & False) for each individual condition due to tests. Measurement of conditions coverage is performed independently from each other.
- Path coverage – shows the percentage of paths or routes through part of the code, which was passed when you run your tests.
- Entry/exit coverage - shows the percentage that all possible challenges and refunds from the functions have been implemented or not. 

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Software Test Services: Use Case Testing Method

In order to validate the functionality of the program, from End User point of view, testers create test cases based on the sequence of user operations. These cases display all user needs in maximum when working with a program, as well as real examples of interaction between the user and the product. 

This testing method is useful because testing happens not only for specific components but for the whole system. And quite often such behavior, which is impossible to imagine even on the basis of requirements and specifications.

Use Case Testing is based on the creation of such cases, when after performing few steps, the user reaches a particular goal. 
For scripts execution, one often needs to perform at first certain Preconditions, without which the testing cannot begin. For example, certain programs are installed, input values are also prepared, the relationship between programs components are customized and so on. 
Also, after you run the test script, you must check the Postconditions (it’s such conditions and the state of the program that must be performed after the test script). For example, additional office files and Test Logs are generated, data is saved in the database, implemented the necessary scripts and so on. 

Using this method, one can create Acceptance Tests when customers and the end users are in active cooperation with the team at this stage. 


Software Test Services: Decision Table Testing Method

In a complex software product, trivial tests occur not so often, when one input parameter influences only one output value. For those cases, when there is a combination of input values and relevant output data, dedicated testers create a Decision Table. Based on the given table, testers design test scenarios, which validate in the complex the performance of the program functionality.

 One of the black-box methods gained the name “Decision Table Testing”. The given method is useful, when the analysis of requirements, specifications and business rules influences on interconnected logical conditions that depend on the combination of input and output data.

Decision Table Can be Formed on the Following Algorithm: 

- For each business rule, the corresponding input & output data is chosen.
- Each input value can be performed or not - the Trigger Principle.
- Each output value can or not be performed.
- Depending on the combination of one or several executable/non-executable input values - one or several output values can be performed. 
- Each column in the table corresponds to one business rule. 
- Each business rule is characterized by a unique input and output values. Based on performed results of all the conditions - this business rule takes place. 

The given method can be implemented on every testing level, depending on a business rule and logical dependencies of the input and output data in the program.


Software Test Services: State Transition Testing Method

In order to understand and use the given method, You should know the following terms: 

- State Diagram shows the conditions (that can be a component of a program or system) and situations or events that lead to a transition from one state to another. 
- State Transition Testing - is the kind of test development due to black box method, where tests or test scripts are created through the implementation of valid and invalid state transitions. 
- N-Switching Testing - is testing of the navigation tables, where tests or test scripts are created for executing all correct sequences of N +1 transitions.

N- Switching Testing of navigation tables shows the relationship between the states and inputs, as well as possible and impossible transitions between states. State transitions may be valid and invalid. Based on the algorithm and the rules, the system moves from one state to another, depending on the input.

Tests & Test Scenarios are Created for:

- Covering the typical state sequences.
- Covering each state.
- The performance of each transition.
- The performance of special transition sequences.
- Validation of incorrect transitions.

This test method is often used when checking work algorithms of the navigation in Web sites, at ATMs, online stores, and so on.
This method can be applied at all levels of testing, depending on the rules and the program algorithm.

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