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Importance of Test data in Software Testing

Published: 19 Aug 2013

Importance of Test data in Software Testing

Last Updated: 12 Jun 2020


Software development has a few important phases, namely requirement gathering, development, testing and installation on the end user’s systems. It is quite possible that bugs may get introduced into the software being developed during the development phase owing to human error. Software testing is done prior to releasing any piece of code for installation on clients’ networks to avoid any erroneous execution, thereby ruining the user experience.
Contents

1. Test Data and its Significance
2. What are the types of test data?
3. What are the different ways of preparing test data?
4. What are the Challenges of Test Data Sourcing?
5. elated Queries on Test Data
6. Conclusion

 

Software testing involves thorough testing of each and every component of the given software, right from user interface to the biggest as well as the minutest functionalities. It is essential that the testing team takes into account every single possible scenario into account while designing the test cases and tests the given software for each one of them thoroughly. What type of test data is being used by the test team has a major impact on the overall test process.

Test Data and its Significance

Test data is the data which is going to be used for testing a particular piece of software. While some data is used for obtaining confirmatory results, other data might be used for challenging the ability of the software. There are multiple ways in which appropriate test data can be obtained for testing a system. A tester or a program can produce the test data for testing a particular system.

For instance, the testing team may want to test whether the software provides the desired result or not. It would feed the data into the system and execute it. It would then analyze the result and decide if the expected results have been obtained. The software should at least deliver the intended results without any hiccup. After all, this was the basic purpose of creating it and it must fulfill that.

Conversely, it should not deliver unexpected, unusual or extreme results in case non standard input is passed to it. There must be sufficient test data to test the negative scenario as well. This is to ensure that the software keeps performing smoothly even in case the end user enters wrong information while using it or chooses to do that deliberately in order to toy with the system.

Whether real production data or synthetic data should be used for testing purposes, experts are divided over it. There are specific scenarios in which each one of them fits the bill. For instance, in case of narrowly focused tests, synthetic data works better. However, production test data works better if close simulation of the real system is desired while testing. In many cases production data is duly masked before using it for testing.

What are the types of test data?

Boundary Test Data:

 This type of data helps in removing the defects that are connected while processing the boundary values. The data included in this data type is a combination of boundary values which are sufficient to handle the application. And, if the tester goes beyond this, then it may break the application.

Valid Test Data:

These data types are valid and are supported by the application. These help to verify the system functions and when an input is provided, it helps to receive the expected output.

Invalid Test Data:

These data types include unsupported data formats. The data is used by the teams to examine whether the application is working correctly or not. By providing the invalid values, the app should show a relevant error message and notify that the data is improper to function.

Absent Data:

No data or the blank files are referred to the files which do not contain any data. The use of blank data helps in verifying how the app responds when a blank or no data is entered into the software.

What are the different ways of preparing test data?

Manual Test Data Creation:

This test data generation method is a simple way of generating data. Some of the types of test data included in this method are valid, invalid, null, standard production data, and data set for performance. The benefit that can be achieved with this test data type is that it doesn’t require any additional resource, it is created with the skills and ideas of the testing team. But, it takes a longer time and yields less productivity. If the tester does not have the required domain knowledge, then this method can get affected resulting in data with flaws.

Back-end Data Injection:

In this method, back-end servers with a huge database are used. With this data generation method, the need for having front-end data entry is eliminated and helps to inject the data quickly. Also, this method doesn’t need experts to help and create backdated entries. However, there are even drawbacks that can create a risk to the database and application, if the technique is not implemented correctly.

Automated Test Data Generation:

In this method, data generation tools are used to process and achieve better results with a high volume of data. In this automated test data generation method, Web Services API and Selenium are popularly preferred tools. The advantage of this type of data generation is that the data achieved with the automation will be of high level and accurate. There isn’t any need of human invention, the speed of delivering output is faster. However, there are even disadvantages such as cost factors and have talented resources.

Third-party Tools:

By opting for third-party tools, it becomes easier to create and inject data into the system. As these tools have complete knowledge of the back-end applications, this will help in achieving the data that is much similar to the real-time. The benefit of these tools is data accuracy and the scope the users are provided for executing the required tests on the historical data. And, the disadvantage with this method is that it is too expensive and there is a limitation provided to work.

What are the Challenges of Test Data Sourcing?

– The testing can get delayed when the data isn’t received from the development teams. Data is often demanded from them and this can be sometimes delayed as if they are approaching for other needs

– In most of the situations, the testing teams are not provided the required permission to access the tools for achieving the data sources

– There may be scenarios when a larger data may be required at a shorter period of time, and this can be a great challenge to succeed if there aren’t the required tools to help the testing teams

– There may be a huge challenge of affecting the software if the defects in the data are not identified at the earliest

– Since most of the data creation is done during the execution, the taken to collect the data is more and it even drags the testing time

– Test data management demands the testing team to have an in-depth knowledge of alternate data creation solutions and this may not be availability for every tester

Conclusion

In this way, the data being used for testing any system has a major forbearing on the overall results. After all, it is going to determine whether it is working as per expectations or not. Test teams ought to take into account this factor pretty seriously while.


Related Queries on Test Data

 

Q1. What is Test Data?

Ans. Test data is the data which is going to be used for testing a particular piece of software. While some data is used for obtaining confirmatory results, other data might be used for challenging the ability of the software.

Q2. How do you identify test data?

There are multiple ways in which appropriate test data can be identified for testing a system. A tester or a program can produce the test data automation strategy for testing a particular system.

Q3. What is test data in test case?

Test data is the data that is used in tests of a software system. The data being used for testing any system has a major forbearing on the overall results.

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