How can software be tested once it has been developed?

A software product should only be released after it has gone through a proper process of development, testing and bug fixing. Testing looks at areas such as performance, stability and error handling by setting up test scenarios under controlled conditions and assessing the results.

Before commencing testing it is useful to have a test plan which gives the scope of testing, details on the testing environment (hardware/software) and the test tools to be used. Testers will also have to decide on answers to specific questions for each test case such as what is being tested? How are results documented? How are fixes implemented? How are problems tracked? QA Focus will be looking mainly at automated testing which allows testers reuse code and scripts and standardise the testing process. We will also be considering the documentation that is useful for this type of testing such as logs, bug tracking reports, weekly status report and test scripts. We recognise that there are limits to testing, no programme can be tested completely. However the key is to test for what is important. We will be providing documentation on testing methodologies which projects should consider using.

As part of the testing procedure it is desirable to provide a range of inputs to the software, in order to ensure that the software can handle unusual input data correctly. It will also be necessary to check the outputs of the software. This is particularly important if the software outputs should comply with an open standard. It will be necessary not only to ensure that the output template complies with standards, but also that data included in the output template complies with standards (for example special characters such as & will need to be escaped if the output format is HTML).

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