Software testing is an investigation conducted to provide stakeholders with information about the quality of the software product or service under test. Software testing can also provide an objective, independent view of the software to allow the business to appreciate and understand the risks of software implementation. Test techniques include the process of executing a program or application with the intent of finding software bugs errors or other defects, and verifying that the software product is fit for use.
Software testing involves the execution of a software component or system component to evaluate one or more properties of interest. In general, these properties indicate the extent to which the component or system under test:
As the number of possible tests for even simple software components is practically infinite, all software testing uses some strategy to select tests that are feasible for the available time and resources. As a result, software testing typically but not exclusively attempts to execute a program or application with the intent of finding software bugs errors or other defects. The job of testing is an iterative process as when one bug is fixed, it can illuminate other, deeper bugs, or can even create new ones.
Software testing can provide objective, independent information about the quality of software and risk of its failure to users or sponsors.
Software testing can be conducted as soon as executable software even if partially complete exists. The overall approach to software development often determines when and how testing is conducted. For example, in a phased process, most testing occurs after system requirements have been defined and then implemented in testable programs. In contrast, under an agile approach, requirements, programming, and testing are often done concurrently.
Although software testing can determine the correctness of software under the assumption of some specific hypotheses see the hierarchy of testing difficulty below, testing cannot identify all the defects within the software. Instead, it furnishes a criticism or comparison that compares the state and behavior of the product against test oracles—principles or mechanisms by which someone might recognize a problem. These oracles may include but are not limited to specifications, contracts, comparable products, past versions of the same product, inferences about intended or expected purpose, user or customer expectations, relevant standards, applicable laws, or other criteria.
A primary purpose of testing is to detect software failures so that defects may be discovered and corrected. Testing cannot establish that a product functions properly under all conditions, but only that it does not function properly under specific conditions. The scope of software testing often includes the examination of code as well as the execution of that code in various environments and conditions as well as examining the aspects of code: does it do what it is supposed to do and do what it needs to do. In the current culture of software development, a testing organization may be separate from the development team. There are various roles for testing team members. Information derived from software testing may be used to correct the process by which software is developed.:41–43
Every software product has a target audience. For example, the audience for video game software is completely different from banking software. Therefore, when an organization develops or otherwise invests in a software product, it can assess whether the software product will be acceptable to its end users, its target audience, its purchasers and other stakeholders. Software testing assists in making this assessment.
Not all software defects are caused by coding errors. One common source of expensive defects is requirement gaps, i.e., unrecognized requirements that result in errors of omission by the program designer.:426 Requirement gaps can often be non-functional requirements such as testability, scalability, maintainability, performance, and security.
Software faults occur through the following processes. A programmer makes an error mistake, which results in a defect fault, bug in the software source code. If this defect is executed, in certain situations the system will produce wrong results, causing a failure. Not all defects will necessarily result in failures. For example, defects in the dead code will never result in failures. A defect can turn into a failure when the environment is changed. Examples of these changes in environment include the software being run on a new computer hardware platform, alterations in source data, or interacting with different software. A single defect may result in a wide range of failure symptoms.
A fundamental problem with software testing is that testing under all combinations of inputs and preconditions initial state is not feasible, even with a simple product.:17–18 This means that the number of defects in a software product can be very large and defects that occur infrequently are difficult to find in testing. More significantly, non-functional dimensions of quality how it is supposed to be versus what it is supposed to do—usability, scalability, performance, compatibility, reliability—can be highly subjective; something that constitutes sufficient value to one person may be intolerable to another.
Software developers can't test everything, but they can use combinatorial test design to identify the minimum number of tests needed to get the coverage they want. Combinatorial test design enables users to get greater test coverage with fewer tests. Whether they are looking for speed or test depth, they can use combinatorial test design methods to build structured variation into their test cases.
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Outsourcing software testing because of costs is very common, with China, the Philippines and India being preferred destinations.
Software testing can be done by dedicated software testers. Until the 1980s, the term "software tester" was used generally, but later it was also seen as a separate profession. Regarding the periods and the different goals in software testing, different roles have been established, such as test manager, test lead, test analyst, test designer, tester, automation developer, and test administrator. Software testing can also be performed by non-dedicated software testers.
Glenford J. Myers initially introduced the separation of debugging from testing in 1979. Although his attention was on breakage testing "A successful test case is one that detects an as-yet undiscovered error.":16 it illustrated the desire of the software engineering community to separate fundamental development activities, such as debugging, from that of verification.
There are many approaches available in software testing. Reviews, walkthroughs, or inspections are referred to as static testing, whereas executing programmed code with a given set of test cases is referred to as dynamic testing.
Static testing is often implicit, like proofreading, plus when programming tools/text editors check source code structure or compilers pre-compilers check syntax and data flow as static program analysis. Dynamic testing takes place when the program itself is run. Dynamic testing may begin before the program is 100% complete in order to test particular sections of code and are applied to discrete functions or modules. Typical techniques for these are either using stubs/drivers or execution from a debugger environment.
Static testing involves verification, whereas dynamic testing also involves validation.
Passive testing means verifying the system behavior without any interaction with the software product. Contrary to active testing, testers do not provide any test data but look at system logs and traces. They mine for patterns and specific behavior in order to make some kind of decisions. This is related to offline runtime verification and log analysis.
Exploratory testing is an approach to software testing that is concisely described as simultaneous learning, test design and test execution. Cem Kaner, who coined the term in 1984, defines exploratory testing as "a style of software testing that emphasizes the personal freedom and responsibility of the individual tester to continually optimize the quality of his/her work by treating test-related learning, test design, test execution, and test result interpretation as mutually supportive activities that run in parallel throughout the project."
Software testing methods are traditionally divided into white- and black-box testing. These two approaches are used to describe the point of view that the tester takes when designing test cases. A hybrid approach called grey-box testing may also be applied to software testing methodology. With the concept of grey-box testing—which develops tests from specific design elements—gaining prominence, this "arbitrary distinction" between black- and white-box testing has faded somewhat.
White-box testing also known as clear box testing, glass box testing, transparent box testing, and structural testing verifies the internal structures or workings of a program, as opposed to the functionality exposed to the end-user. In white-box testing, an internal perspective of the system the source code, as well as programming skills, are used to design test cases. The tester chooses inputs to exercise paths through the code and determine the appropriate outputs. This is analogous to testing nodes in a circuit, e.g., in-circuit testing ICT.
While white-box testing can be applied at the unit, integration, and system levels of the software testing process, it is usually done at the unit level. It can test paths within a unit, paths between units during integration, and between subsystems during a system–level test. Though this method of test design can uncover many errors or problems, it might not detect unimplemented parts of the specification or missing requirements.
Techniques used in white-box testing include:
Code coverage tools can evaluate the completeness of a test suite that was created with any method, including black-box testing. This allows the software team to examine parts of a system that are rarely tested and ensures that the most important function points have been tested. Code coverage as a software metric can be reported as a percentage for:
100% statement coverage ensures that all code paths or branches in terms of control flow are executed at least once. This is helpful in ensuring correct functionality, but not sufficient since the same code may process different inputs correctly or incorrectly. Pseudo-tested functions and methods are those that are covered but not specified it is possible to remove their body without breaking any test case.
Black-box testing also known as functional testing treats the software as a "black box," examining functionality without any knowledge of internal implementation, without seeing the source code. The testers are only aware of what the software is supposed to do, not how it does it. Black-box testing methods include: equivalence partitioning, boundary value analysis, all-pairs testing, state transition tables, decision table testing, fuzz testing, model-based testing, use case testing, exploratory testing, and specification-based testing.
Specification-based testing aims to test the functionality of software according to the applicable requirements. This level of testing usually requires thorough test cases to be provided to the tester, who then can simply verify that for a given input, the output value or behavior, either "is" or "is not" the same as the expected value specified in the test case. Test cases are built around specifications and requirements, i.e., what the application is supposed to do. It uses external descriptions of the software, including specifications, requirements, and designs to derive test cases. These tests can be functional or non-functional, though usually functional.
Specification-based testing may be necessary to assure correct functionality, but it is insufficient to guard against complex or high-risk situations.
One advantage of the black box technique is that no programming knowledge is required. Whatever biases the programmers may have had, the tester likely has a different set and may emphasize different areas of functionality. On the other hand, black-box testing has been said to be "like a walk in a dark labyrinth without a flashlight." Because they do not examine the source code, there are situations when a tester writes many test cases to check something that could have been tested by only one test case or leaves some parts of the program untested.
This method of test can be applied to all levels of software testing: unit, integration, system and acceptance. It typically comprises most if not all testing at higher levels, but can also dominate unit testing as well.
Component interface testing
Component interface testing is a variation of black-box testing, with the focus on the data values beyond just the related actions of a subsystem component. The practice of component interface testing can be used to check the handling of data passed between various units, or subsystem components, beyond full integration testing between those units. The data being passed can be considered as "message packets" and the range or data types can be checked, for data generated from one unit, and tested for validity before being passed into another unit. One option for interface testing is to keep a separate log file of data items being passed, often with a timestamp logged to allow analysis of thousands of cases of data passed between units for days or weeks. Tests can include checking the handling of some extreme data values while other interface variables are passed as normal values. Unusual data values in an interface can help explain unexpected performance in the next unit.
The aim of visual testing is to provide developers with the ability to examine what was happening at the point of software failure by presenting the data in such a way that the developer can easily find the information she or he requires, and the information is expressed clearly.
At the core of visual testing is the idea that showing someone a problem or a test failure, rather than just describing it, greatly increases clarity and understanding. Visual testing, therefore, requires the recording of the entire test process – capturing everything that occurs on the test system in video format. Output videos are supplemented by real-time tester input via picture-in-a-picture webcam and audio commentary from microphones.
Visual testing provides a number of advantages. The quality of communication is increased drastically because testers can show the problem and the events leading up to it to the developer as opposed to just describing it and the need to replicate test failures will cease to exist in many cases. The developer will have all the evidence she or he requires of a test failure and can instead focus on the cause of the fault and how it should be fixed.
Ad hoc testing and exploratory testing are important methodologies for checking software integrity, because they require less preparation time to implement, while the important bugs can be found quickly. In ad hoc testing, where testing takes place in an improvised, impromptu way, the ability of the testers to base testing off documented methods and then improvise variations of those tests can result in more rigorous examination of defect fixes. However, unless strict documentation of the procedures are maintained, one of the limits of ad hoc testing is lack of repeatability.
Grey-box testing American spelling: gray-box testing involves having knowledge of internal data structures and algorithms for purposes of designing tests while executing those tests at the user, or black-box level. The tester will often have access to both "the source code and the executable binary." Grey-box testing may also include reverse engineering using dynamic code analysis to determine, for instance, boundary values or error messages. Manipulating input data and formatting output do not qualify as grey-box, as the input and output are clearly outside of the "black box" that we are calling the system under test. This distinction is particularly important when conducting integration testing between two modules of code written by two different developers, where only the interfaces are exposed for the test.
By knowing the underlying concepts of how the software works, the tester makes better-informed testing choices while testing the software from outside. Typically, a grey-box tester will be permitted to set up an isolated testing environment with activities such as seeding a database. The tester can observe the state of the product being tested after performing certain actions such as executing SQL statements against the database and then executing queries to ensure that the expected changes have been reflected. Grey-box testing implements intelligent test scenarios, based on limited information. This will particularly apply to data type handling, exception handling, and so on.
Broadly speaking, there are at least three levels of testing: unit testing, integration testing, and system testing. However, a fourth level, acceptance testing, may be included by developers. This may be in the form of operational acceptance testing or be simple end-user beta testing, testing to ensure the software meets functional expectations. Tests are frequently grouped into one of these levels by where they are added in the software development process, or by the level of specificity of the test.
Unit testing refers to tests that verify the functionality of a specific section of code, usually at the function level. In an object-oriented environment, this is usually at the class level, and the minimal unit tests include the constructors and destructors.
These types of tests are usually written by developers as they work on code white-box style, to ensure that the specific function is working as expected. One function might have multiple tests, to catch corner cases or other branches in the code. Unit testing alone cannot verify the functionality of a piece of software, but rather is used to ensure that the building blocks of the software work independently from each other.
Unit testing is a software development process that involves a synchronized application of a broad spectrum of defect prevention and detection strategies in order to reduce software development risks, time, and costs. It is performed by the software developer or engineer during the construction phase of the software development life cycle. Unit testing aims to eliminate construction errors before code is promoted to additional testing; this strategy is intended to increase the quality of the resulting software as well as the efficiency of the overall development process.
Depending on the organization's expectations for software development, unit testing might include static code analysis, data-flow analysis, metrics analysis, peer code reviews, code coverage analysis and other software testing practices.
Integration testing is any type of software testing that seeks to verify the interfaces between components against a software design. Software components may be integrated in an iterative way or all together "big bang". Normally the former is considered a better practice since it allows interface issues to be located more quickly and fixed.
Integration testing works to expose defects in the interfaces and interaction between integrated components modules. Progressively larger groups of tested software components corresponding to elements of the architectural design are integrated and tested until the software works as a system.
Integration tests usually involves a lot of code, and produce traces that are larger than those produced by unit tests. This has an impact on the ease of localizing the fault when an integration test fails. To overcome this issue, it has been proposed to automatically cut the large tests in smaller pieces to improve fault localization.
System testing tests a completely integrated system to verify that the system meets its requirements. For example, a system test might involve testing a login interface, then creating and editing an entry, plus sending or printing results, followed by summary processing or deletion or archiving of entries, then logoff.
Operational acceptance is used to conduct operational readiness pre-release of a product, service or system as part of a operational readiness of the system to be supported, or to become part of the production environment. Hence, it is also known as operational readiness testing ORT or Operations readiness and assurance OR&A testing. Functional testing within OAT is limited to those tests that are required to verify the non-functional aspects of the system.
In addition, the software testing should ensure that the portability of the system, as well as working as expected, does not also damage or partially corrupt its operating environment or cause other processes within that environment to become inoperative.
Different labels and ways of grouping testing may be testing types, software testing tactics or techniques.
Most software systems have installation procedures that are needed before they can be used for their main purpose. Testing these procedures to achieve an installed software system that may be used is known as installation testing.
A common cause of software failure real or perceived is a lack of its compatibility with other application software, operating systems or operating system versions, old or new, or target environments that differ greatly from the original such as a terminal or GUI application intended to be run on the desktop now being required to become a Web application, which must render in a Web browser. For example, in the case of a lack of backward compatibility, this can occur because the programmers develop and test software only on the latest version of the target environment, which not all users may be running. This results in the unintended consequence that the latest work may not function on earlier versions of the target environment, or on older hardware that earlier versions of the target environment were capable of using. Sometimes such issues can be fixed by proactively abstracting operating system functionality into a separate program module or library.
Sanity testing determines whether it is reasonable to proceed with further testing.
Smoke testing consists of minimal attempts to operate the software, designed to determine whether there are any basic problems that will prevent it from working at all. Such tests can be used as build verification test.
Regression testing focuses on finding defects after a major code change has occurred. Specifically, it seeks to uncover software regressions, as degraded or lost features, including old bugs that have come back. Such regressions occur whenever software functionality that was previously working correctly, stops working as intended. Typically, regressions occur as an unintended consequence of program changes, when the newly developed part of the software collides with the previously existing code. Regression testing is typically the largest test effort in commercial software development, due to checking numerous details in prior software features, and even new software can be developed while using some old test cases to test parts of the new design to ensure prior functionality is still supported.
Common methods of regression testing include re-running previous sets of test cases and checking whether previously fixed faults have re-emerged. The depth of testing depends on the phase in the release process and the risk of the added features. They can either be complete, for changes added late in the release or deemed to be risky, or be very shallow, consisting of positive tests on each feature, if the changes are early in the release or deemed to be of low risk. In regression testing, it is important to have strong assertions on the existing behavior. For this, it is possible to generate and add new assertions in existing test cases, this is known as automatic test amplification.
Acceptance testing can mean one of two things:
Alpha testing is simulated or actual operational testing by potential users/customers or an independent test team at the developers' site. Alpha testing is often employed for off-the-shelf software as a form of internal acceptance testing before the software goes to beta testing.
Beta testing comes after alpha testing and can be considered a form of external user acceptance testing. Versions of the software, known as beta versions, are released to a limited audience outside of the programming team known as beta testers. The software is released to groups of people so that further testing can ensure the product has few faults or bugs. Beta versions can be made available to the open public to increase the feedback field to a maximal number of future users and to deliver value earlier, for an extended or even indefinite period of time perpetual beta.
Functional testing refers to activities that verify a specific action or function of the code. These are usually found in the code requirements documentation, although some development methodologies work from use cases or user stories. Functional tests tend to answer the question of "can the user do this" or "does this particular feature work."
Non-functional testing refers to aspects of the software that may not be related to a specific function or user action, such as scalability or other performance, behavior under certain constraints, or security. Testing will determine the breaking point, the point at which extremes of scalability or performance leads to unstable execution. Non-functional requirements tend to be those that reflect the quality of the product, particularly in the context of the suitability perspective of its users.
Continuous testing is the process of executing automated tests as part of the software delivery pipeline to obtain immediate feedback on the business risks associated with a software release candidate. Continuous testing includes the validation of both functional requirements and non-functional requirements; the scope of testing extends from validating bottom-up requirements or user stories to assessing the system requirements associated with overarching business goals.
Destructive testing attempts to cause the software or a sub-system to fail. It verifies that the software functions properly even when it receives invalid or unexpected inputs, thereby establishing the ] Software fault injection, in the form of fuzzing, is an example of failure testing. Various commercial non-functional testing tools are linked from the software fault injection page; there are also numerous open-source and free software tools available that perform destructive testing.
Performance testing is generally executed to determine how a system or sub-system performs in terms of responsiveness and stability under a particular workload. It can also serve to investigate, measure, validate or verify other quality attributes of the system, such as scalability, reliability and resource usage.
Load testing is primarily concerned with testing that the system can continue to operate under a specific load, whether that be large quantities of data or a large number of users. This is generally referred to as software scalability. The related load testing activity of when performed as a non-functional activity is often referred to as endurance testing. Volume testing is a way to test software functions even when certain components for example a file or database increase radically in size. Stress testing is a way to test reliability under unexpected or rare workloads. Stability testing often referred to as load or endurance testing checks to see if the software can continuously function well in or above an acceptable period.
There is little agreement on what the specific goals of performance testing are. The terms load testing, performance testing, scalability testing, and volume testing, are often used interchangeably.
Real-time software systems have strict timing constraints. To test if timing constraints are met, real-time testing is used.
Usability testing is to check if the user interface is easy to use and understand. It is concerned mainly with the use of the application. This is not a kind of testing that can be automated; actual human users are needed, being monitored by skilled UI designers.
Accessibility testing may include compliance with standards such as:
Security testing is essential for software that processes confidential data to prevent system intrusion by hackers.
The International Organization for Standardization ISO defines this as a "type of testing conducted to evaluate the degree to which a test item, and associated data and information, are protected so that unauthorised persons or systems cannot use, read or modify them, and authorized persons or systems are not denied access to them."
Testing for internationalization and localization validates that the software can be used with different languages and geographic regions. The process of pseudolocalization is used to test the ability of an application to be translated to another language, and make it easier to identify when the localization process may introduce new bugs into the product.
Globalization testing verifies that the software is adapted for a new culture such as different currencies or time zones.
Actual translation to human languages must be tested, too. Possible localization and globalization failures include:
Development Testing is a software development process that involves the synchronized application of a broad spectrum of defect prevention and detection strategies in order to reduce software development risks, time, and costs. It is performed by the software developer or engineer during the construction phase of the software development lifecycle. Development Testing aims to eliminate construction errors before code is promoted to other testing; this strategy is intended to increase the quality of the resulting software as well as the efficiency of the overall development process.
Depending on the organization's expectations for software development, Development Testing might include static code analysis, data flow analysis, metrics analysis, peer code reviews, unit testing, code coverage analysis, traceability, and other software testing practices.
A/B testing is a method of running a controlled experiment to determine if a proposed change is more effective than the current approach. Customers are routed to either a current version control of a feature, or to a modified version treatment and data is collected to determine which version is better at achieving the desired outcome.
Concurrent or concurrency testing assesses the behaviour and performance of software and systems that use concurrent computing, generally under normal usage conditions. Typical problems this type of testing will expose are deadlocks, race conditions and problems with shared memory/resource handling.
In software testing, conformance testing verifies that a product performs according to its specified standards. Compilers, for instance, are extensively tested to determine whether they meet the recognized standard for that language.
Creating a display expected output, whether as data comparison of text or screenshots of the UI,:195 is sometimes called snapshot testing or Golden Master Testing unlike many other forms of testing, this cannot detect failures automatically and instead requires that a human evaluate the output for inconsistencies.
A common practice in waterfall development is that testing is performed by an independent group of testers. This can happen:
However, even in the waterfall development model, unit testing is often done by the software development team even when further testing is done by a separate team.
In contrast, some emerging software disciplines such as extreme programming and the agile software development movement, adhere to a "test-driven software development" model. In this process, unit tests are written first, by the software engineers often with pair programming in the extreme programming methodology. The tests are expected to fail initially. Each failing test is followed by writing just enough code to make it pass. This means the test suites are continuously updated as new failure conditions and corner cases are discovered, and they are integrated with any regression tests that are developed. Unit tests are maintained along with the rest of the software source code and generally integrated into the build process with inherently interactive tests being relegated to a partially manual build acceptance process.
The ultimate goals of this test process are to support continuous integration and to reduce defect rates.
This methodology increases the testing effort done by development, before reaching any formal testing team. In some other development models, most of the test execution occurs after the requirements have been defined and the coding process has been completed.
Although variations exist between organizations, there is a typical cycle for testing. The sample below is common among organizations employing the Waterfall development model. The same practices are commonly found in other development models, but might not be as clear or explicit.
Many programming groups are relying more and more on ] to write tests in, and continuous integration software will run tests automatically every time code is checked into a version control system.
While automation cannot reproduce everything that a human can do and all the ways they think of doing it, it can be very useful for regression testing. However, it does require a well-developed test suite of testing scripts in order to be truly useful.
Program testing and fault detection can be aided significantly by testing tools and debuggers. Testing/debug tools include features such as:
Some of these features may be incorporated into a single composite tool or an Integrated Development Environment IDE.
Quality measures include such topics as correctness, completeness, security and ISO/IEC 9126 requirements such as capability, reliability, efficiency, portability, maintainability, compatibility, and usability.
There are a number of frequently used software metrics, or measures, which are used to assist in determining the state of the software or the adequacy of the testing.
Based on the amount of test cases required to construct a complete test suite in each context i.e. a test suite such that, if it is applied to the implementation under test, then we collect enough information to precisely determine whether the system is correct or incorrect according to some specification, a hierarchy of testing difficulty has been proposed. It includes the following testability classes:
It has been proved that each class is strictly included in the next. For instance, testing when we assume that the behavior of the implementation under test can be denoted by a deterministic finite-state machine for some known finite sets of inputs and outputs and with some known number of states belongs to Class I and all subsequent classes. However, if the number of states is not known, then it only belongs to all classes from Class II on. If the implementation under test must be a deterministic finite-state machine failing the specification for a single trace and its continuations, and its number of states is unknown, then it only belongs to classes from Class III on. Testing temporal machines where transitions are triggered if inputs are produced within some real-bounded interval only belongs to classes from Class IV on, whereas testing many non-deterministic systems only belongs to Class V but not all, and some even belong to Class I. The inclusion into Class I does not require the simplicity of the assumed computation model, as some testing cases involving implementations written in any programming language, and testing implementations defined as machines depending on continuous magnitudes, have been proved to be in Class I. Other elaborated cases, such as the testing framework by Matthew Hennessy under must semantics, and temporal machines with rational timeouts, belong to Class II.
A software testing process can produce several artifacts. The actual artifacts produced are a factor of the software development model used, stakeholder and organisational needs.
Several certification programs exist to support the professional aspirations of software testers and quality assurance specialists. Note that a few practitioners argue that the testing field is not ready for certification, as mentioned in the Controversy section.
Some of the major software testing controversies include:
It is commonly believed that the earlier a defect is found, the cheaper it is to fix it. The following table shows the cost of fixing the defect depending on the stage it was found. For example, if a problem in the requirements is found only post-release, then it would cost 10–100 times more to fix than if it had already been found by the requirements review. With the advent of modern continuous deployment practices and cloud-based services, the cost of re-deployment and maintenance may lessen over time.
The data from which this table is extrapolated is scant. Laurent Bossavit says in his analysis:
The "smaller projects" curve turns out to be from only two teams of first-year students, a sample size so small that extrapolating to "smaller projects in general" is totally indefensible. The GTE study does not explain its data, other than to say it came from two projects, one large and one small. The paper cited for the Bell Labs "Safeguard" project specifically disclaims having collected the fine-grained data that Boehm's data points suggest. The IBM study Fagan's paper contains claims that seem to contradict Boehm's graph and no numerical results that clearly correspond to his data points.
Boehm doesn't even cite a paper for the TRW data, except when writing for "Making Software" in 2010, and there he cited the original 1976 article. There exists a large study conducted at TRW at the right time for Boehm to cite it, but that paper doesn't contain the sort of data that would support Boehm's claims.
Software testing is used in association with verification and validation:
The terms verification and validation are commonly used interchangeably in the industry; it is also common to see these two terms defined with contradictory definitions. According to the IEEE Standard Glossary of Software Engineering Terminology:
And, according to the ISO 9000 standard:
The contradiction is caused by the use of the concepts of requirements and specified requirements but with different meanings.
In the case of IEEE standards, the specified requirements, mentioned in the definition of validation, are the set of problems, needs and wants of the stakeholders that the software must solve and satisfy. Such requirements are documented in a Software Requirements Specification SRS. And, the products mentioned in the definition of verification, are the output artifacts of every phase of the software development process. These products are, in fact, specifications such as Architectural Design Specification, Detailed Design Specification, etc. The SRS is also a specification, but it cannot be verified at least not in the sense used here, more on this subject below.
But, for the ISO 9000, the specified requirements are the set of specifications, as just mentioned above, that must be verified. A specification, as previously explained, is the product of a software development process phase that receives another specification as input. A specification is verified successfully when it correctly implements its input specification. All the specifications can be verified except the SRS because it is the first one it can be validated, though. Examples: The Design Specification must implement the SRS; and, the Construction phase artifacts must implement the Design Specification.
So, when these words are defined in common terms, the apparent contradiction disappears.
Both the SRS and the software must be validated. The SRS can be validated statically by consulting with the stakeholders. Nevertheless, running some partial implementation of the software or a prototype of any kind dynamic testing and obtaining positive feedback from them, can further increase the certainty that the SRS is correctly formulated. On the other hand, the software, as a final and running product not its artifacts and documents, including the source code must be validated dynamically with the stakeholders by executing the software and having them to try it.
Some might argue that, for SRS, the input is the words of stakeholders and, therefore, SRS validation is the same as SRS verification. Thinking this way is not advisable as it only causes more confusion. It is better to think of verification as a process involving a formal and technical input document.
Software testing may be considered a part of a ]
Software testing is an activity to investigate software under test in order to provide quality-related information to stakeholders. By contrast, QA quality assurance is the implementation of policies and procedures intended to prevent defects from reaching customers.