Nothing puts off your users more than faulty software. So, to ensure your product is efficient and bug-free, testing is mandatory in a standard software development life cycle.
Testing is something every software engineer or product developer should perform before presenting their work to someone else.
Delivering high-quality, reliable, and intended products is the primary purpose of the testing process in SDLC.
When it comes to testing a product, there’re four main levels that software testers implement to provide reliable products, and system testing is one of them.
System testing is the third crucial phase of the software testing hierarchy to ensure that your entire product functions as intended.
Simply put, it checks whether your complete product performs as per expectations and requirements.
This testing is done in a production-like environment, after integration testing and before acceptance testing. It can show your stakeholders and clients how the product works within the production environment.
If done right, it can detect hidden errors and bugs, minimize after-deployment troubleshooting, and deliver high-quality products.
So, it’s important to check out what system testing is, its purpose, types, and phases.
What is System Testing?
If you’ve been involved in software development or the testing world for quite some time, you should’ve come across the terms like unit testing, integration testing, system testing, and acceptance testing. A software product undergoes all these testing levels for evaluating the developed components and products.
But from what I’ve heard, there seems to be considerable confusion between integration testing and system testing.
So, let’s see what exactly is system testing and how it differs from integration testing at a glance.
Let’s say your product has three components A, B, and C. In integration testing, you integrate A to B and check it, you can add B and C to check their functionality together, and also, combine A and C to test their compatibility.
However, in system testing, you combine all three components – A, B, and C – into a complete product and then test its performance and functionality as a whole.
This is why you call it a system testing, system is tested as a whole.
System testing is the first step of checking your combined and fully integrated product meets all your requirements. Its primary focus will be on fulfilling business requirements and end-user expectations.
Why System Testing is Necessary?
You know, in my experience, I’ve seen clients questioning the importance of system testing. So. let’s see how the system testing level is solely important.
Functional: System testing ensures that your product functions properly and meets all the requirements before deploying it to end users. This testing level examines the working of all the separate modules of a combined product, their compatibility, and how they interact together.
Performance analysis in multiple scenarios: By testing the entire system, you can analyze how well the product performs in various conditions and production environments. It checks whether your product can adapt to peak user load, resource requirements, and customer demands.
Bug detection: In addition to testing performance, conducting the test in a production-like environment detects potential errors and bugs that may occur post-deployment.
Ensures security: It is essential to secure your product from potential threats and vulnerabilities. It is safe to say – by using well-tested products, your sensitive data is private and safe. Therefore, end-to-end system testing ensures your software can withstand security breaches.
Customer satisfaction: As this testing happens from the end user’s perspective, it ensures that the system meets all the user requirements and expectations of customers.
Product updates: This testing checks if changes made to the system don’t degrade its previous functionalities. Regression testing here ensures that updates and modifications to the product do not introduce new issues or bugs.
Different Types of System Testing
There are numerous types of system testing, but only a few of them are often implemented in real-time. They are:
Functional Testing: Functional testing is a method to check whether the entire system functions as required. It tests all of the product features against specified functional requirements. You can use these best functionality testing tools to check the features and functionalities of your software.
Performance Testing: Checking an entire product’s speed, stability, response time, throughput, and many other performance factors under workload is called performance testing. It tests how well the software performs when multiple users access it.
Load Testing: More like performance testing but the primary focus is on testing the software in multiple load conditions like low, usual, and peak loads, ensuring the product can function efficiently under any traffic conditions.
Security Testing: The best way to avoid security breaches is by conducting security testing. This not only detects the weaknesses, risks, or potential threats in your product but also ensures that your entire system is resilient against malware attacks and outsiders.
Usability Testing: Most of us prefer products that are user-friendly and responsive. Conducting usability testing checks the same – how easy the system is for the users. This test happens from the end-users point of view to examine the time it takes to learn the software, the level of expertise required to use the product, and overall user experience and satisfaction.
Regression Testing: Whether you add new functionality or a code change in the software, regression testing ensures that all your previous functionalities run fine. The test cases are re-executed when any modifications are made to the software or if a feature malfunctions after fixing a bug.
Recovery Testing: System recovery feature is expected in all applications these days. A reliable recovery mechanism integrated into your product lets you retrieve any lost data due to accidental damages. Here testers consciously fail the software and see if the system can recover from the failure.
Key Phases of System Testing
Step by step process a typical system testing phases include:
Test Plan – In this first step, create a test plan. In a well-crafted test plan, detailed test strategies, goals, estimations, and required resources are defined. You’ll get to know what exactly will be tested in the software and how it is tested.
Create Test Cases and Test Data – It’s crucial checking multiple scenarios and use cases of the software to ensure it runs smoothly in all the desired environments. Test data is the input values given to the software to execute various test cases in different conditions. This phase creates these test cases and test data.
Test Execution – Test cases and testing scripts created in the earlier phase are executed here. Execution results are noted to compare them with the expected results and check for deviations, errors, failures, and bugs.
Defect Reports – Track the errors and defects found in the execution phase and log the detailed information of each defect. After identifying defects in the system, this phase involved working towards their fixes.
Regression Testing – Once the bugs are fixed, the software is tested again to see whether the updated changes and old functionalities work as expected or not. If not, fix the issues and test again.
Retest – Repeat the unsuccessful tests.
Generate Result Reports – Reports are summarized results of the test execution phase. They show the statistics on executed test cases, behavior in various conditions, and outcome comparisons.
Example of System testing
Checking how the components of software interact with each other and how the system as a whole works is the main purpose of system testing in software engineering. This process involves creating various test cases and testing them. Let’s see an to help you understand better.
For an e-commerce website, system testing checks
Firstly, the testing process checks if you can securely register and log in to the site.
Next, it ensures that product search and filtering are accurate and efficient. It verifies if the search engine displays results relevant to the keywords.
A shopping cart is another super important feature of an e-commerce site. So, the testing involves checking if you can add products to the cart, correct shipping address and payment details are displayed in the checkout window.
Tester ensures that the site can handle significant traffic.
Checks if the site has proper and working payment gateways.
Different users prefer different browsers so the testers’ job is to ensure that the site is compatible and properly functional on all major browsers.
System testing is crucial to retain your customers as this testing happens from the end-users’ point of view. You can see how the system works in a live environment and this lets you make an effective production-ready software.
In this informative article, we tried our best to include necessary content on the whats’, whys’, and hows’ of system testing. So, we hope this article helps you become a better tester and launch an efficient product that is functional, durable, and bug-free.
Srujana is a freelance tech writer with the four-year degree in Computer Science. Writing about various topics, including data science, cloud computing, development, programming, security, and many others comes naturally to her. She… read more