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What is a test case and why is it important for your business? Keep on reading and download our Test case methodology to find out .
What is a test case?
A test case is a methodical list of steps with procedures, inputs and expected outputs for a specific functional requirement or a feature in a computer program. It can be written in different formats such as scenarios, flow charts and even as a simple text document. The main purpose of writing test cases is to facilitate the evaluation of a set of features by providing clear step-by-step instructions on how to test them.
Why is a test case important?
Test cases help make sure that a certain functionality or process is working as intended. It is the definition of the behavior of a system (requirements). It specifies what to look for, rather than how to operate a system.
Test case rules
Each test case should cover one and only one scenario that can cause a defect or failure. Test cases should be written in a narrative form to describe the action taken, inputs and expected results. Test cases should be reasonably short, and contain only what is necessary in order to describe the functionality of the test and to highlight any possible weaknesses in it. Any extra content that’s not necessary for testing a given functionality is contra productive.
Test case include:
Test ID.Usually it’s a numeric or alphanumeric code. It is used by testers and QA engineers to sort and group related tests into test spaces, test groups or test suites.
Test name.As the name suggests, this part shortly describes what will be examined by the test – a feature or a functionality to be tested.
Objective.A few sentences describing the intention of the test, clearly and to-the-point. It’s a very important part of the test case, as it lays down the rules for the whole process.
References.These can be bugs, stories or design requirements that will be subject to verification by the test case. It gives the test case context and shows its origin.
Prerequisites.Often the test requires certain conditions to be met in order for the tester to be able to go through with the test – they are described as test prerequisites.
Test setup.Related to prerequisites, the setup describes all the elements needed for a correct and seamless test run. It can be eg. the version of the application, security setup, operating system or time and date.
Test steps.This component contains a detailed description of the actions in a strictly given order that needs to be taken in order to bring the test to completion.
Expected results.This should form a frame of how we expect the system to respond to each of the test steps described. It is then compared to the actual system response.
How to write a test case
Test case writing is a very important skill and has been considered one of the most difficult aspects of software testing. It requires good analytical ability and an in-depth understanding of the test's objectives, requirements, and application features. There are several best practices for writing test cases and they all share one key requirement - accuracyor being specific about the purpose of each test case step. Test cases should also be economicalin terms of no unnecessary steps used or words used throughout the test case to ensure utmost efficiency. Traceabilityis also a critical aspect of test case writing as this can lead to problems later on if requirements cannot be traced back to where they came from.
Types of test cases
Functionality test cases
These test cases (also sometimes referred to as “black box testing”) verify the functionality of an app’s interface with a) the user and b) the rest of the system. One of the main aspects of functional testing is that there is no need for access to the internal software structure, as the tests are performed externally. Often functionality test cases are based on pre-defined user stories or desired system specifications.
Performance test cases
This type of test case verifies the system's effectiveness in its speed and response time. Its main purpose is to get a very strictly defined picture of the system performance in real time, once it’s live. Automation is often applied to performance testing because of the massive number of actions needed to execute these tests.
Unit test cases
Units or components are the smallest software parts that can be tested. Therefore, unit testing usually consists of very few inputs and one output. Unit testing is a very detail-oriented testing approach that checks the unit functionality one component at a time.
User interface test cases
UI testing (or user interface testing) validates the functionality and performance of given elements of GUI (graphical user interface). The main quality of UI testing lies in its ability to uncover errors and mistakes on the user journey, such as graphical inconsistencies, spelling errors or broken hyperlinks. It validates the smoothness of a specific user journey across devices and environments – cross-browser functionality or OS compatibility are also being tested. The design team should be involved in these types of tests.
Security test cases
As the name suggests, security testing validates the security and permission settings of the system and sensitive data protection. Authentication and encryption testing are often in the spotlight, and the most common test types for security test cases is penetration testing. As cybersecurity becomes more and more important for companies, so does security testing.
Integration test cases
Integration testing shows how the different parts of a software work together. The interfaces, modules and interactions need to be in sync, and that’s the job of integration test cases.
Database test cases
Database testing has the main purpose of verifying correct data transfers within the system, or to validate the internal database functionalities. SQL queries are generally used for building database test cases.
Usability test cases
Usability testing is usually the task of a design team – it consists of a general task or scenario to be fulfilled, providing no detailed information, and the observation of how user naturally interacts with an app in order to fulfill the given task. Usability test cases help uncover UX and UI issues and inconsistencies before the user acceptance phase.
User acceptance test cases
User acceptance testing is the next step after usability testing. It doesn’t focus on particular modules or functonalities, but tests the application or system as a whole. The goal is to see how acceptable, usable and understandable the whole software is for the end user. User acceptance testing is usually the last testing effort before a product goes to production, making sure that everything works and is in place.
Regression test cases come after each software update or new release, making sure that any of the code changes haven’t messed up the functionality of the application. Essentially, it’s a series of test case or test scenario re-runs that goes through the whole software and checks its status. Test automation also comes in handy, as it is a series of many routine test executions that take up a lot of time and manpower and robots can save a lot of time.Test script vs. Test case vs. Test scenarioAt a first glance, test scripts, test cases and test scenarions may seem like the same thing, but they aren’t.
A test scenario
a software instance or particular environment used as input for either creating new test cases or making use of already existing ones.
A test case
a description of what functionality or behavior should be tested and what the results should look like.
A test script
detailed and to-the-point steps of the test execution.