A Blog from QualiTest

The Evolution of Software Testing

The amount of software in a device doubles roughly every 18 months. As a result there are more and more pieces of software functioning within...

The amount of software in a device doubles roughly every 18 months. As a result there are more and more pieces of software functioning within the same system, requiring more and more careful study and testing to ensure that the entire system functions successfully. New additions to a system always have the potential to cause more problems than they solve, and this is the case in system-wide implementations of software as well as the installation of software within a single device.

Of course, none of this was possible without the 19th-century invention of Charles Babbage’s difference engine – a device capable of computing the values of polynomial functions that is considered today to be the first mechanical computer. Subsequently, Ada Lovelace, in her notes on a translation of a biography of Babbage’s analytical engine, provided what is seen as the world’s first computer program.

The History Of Computer Programming

The Many Eras of Software Testing

As a result of these rapidly-advancing, ever-changing needs in the world of computing, software testing has evolved over the years to compensate for the increased needs of software users. Early on in the history of computing, in fact, software testing was really just “debugging” – which, really, was more of a development activity. However, there soon came a time when debugging was differentiated from testing, with testing more focused on the verification of a piece of software’s requirements.

Following this “demonstration era” came the “destruction era,” according to Dave Gelperin and William C. Hetzel, wherein the goal of testing was to find errors. However, this approach to testing grew more complex as the systems themselves grew more and more elaborate along with the software they ran, resulting in the “evaluation era” – during the lifecycle of a product, evaluation should be provided and quality should be measured. Since the evaluation era we have seen the “prevention era,” wherein tests are performed to demonstrate that software fulfills its specifications, with the intention of detecting and preventing faults.

 

A Cavalcade of Testing

Yet this linear development of software testing is misleading. There are still in-house testing groups and entire testing firms that focus on particular stages of this growth and development; the fact is that this evolution has only taken place over the last 60 years, and although the world of computing moves fast, this evolution is by no means linear or complete. There are still many approaches to testing, such as static testing versus dynamic testing.

Today, software is the foundation upon which many businesses function, with more and more firms moving online to reach more markets and consumers. As the primary means of communication and sales between customers and businesses becomes software, software testing has become paramount to the success of these businesses.

Static testing uses, reviews, walkthroughs, and inspections to test software, whereas in dynamic testing, programmed code is executed within the context of test cases. While static testing is often passed over in favor of dynamic testing, the verification function that static testing provides – as opposed to the validation that dynamic testing provides – can be quite important in a testing team’s process.

Today, software is the foundation upon which many businesses function, with more and more firms moving online to reach more markets and consumers. As the primary means of communication and sales between customers and businesses becomes software, software testing has become paramount to the success of these businesses. There are more and more areas of testing to be performed as software technology advances, such as accessibility testing, ERP testing, CRM testing, web testing, network testing, and security testing.

Where We Are Today

That list is hardly exhaustive, but what is important to note is that as testing has become more complex and simultaneously more vital to a business’s success, in-house testing teams are increasingly outmoded. While software developers once used their own in-house testing teams to prep software for clients, it has been found that outsourcing testing to dedicated testing firms often leads to better results for the client.

Consequently, there has been an explosion of testing firms seeking to test software for clients who are implementing more and more software systems into their business to increase efficiency and productivity. If these systems go untested, they can, in fact, decrease efficiency and productivity, leading to an absolute need for quality software testing by firms like QualiTest.

Testing firms have become a vital part of the software testing world’s infrastructure; there are plenty of examples to illustrate this, such as the formation of the Software Testing Club, the launch of Testing Experience magazine and T.E.S.T. magazine, and the CAST (Conference of the Association for Software Testing) conferences. As our world and its software becomes ever more complex and increasingly vital to our day-to-day functions, software testing is sure to be along for the ride.