March 24, 2017

Basics for testing web applications

Author: Cvetanka Trifunovska, Quality Assurance

Living in a world where users expect so much functionality, reliability, and flexibility from web applications, a well prepared checklist and test plan are something that you must have. All our data is slowly but surely moving into the cloud, and businesses are looking to the Web for software to easily implement and deploy across the board. That puts a lot of pressure on developers to deliver rock-solid Web applications that users can depend on and work with.

That’s why it is so important to test your web application before launch. Presenting a quality web application that does not break, works efficiently and delights users naturally builds a foundation of trust between you and your customers, and they will be happy to use it more often and even refer it to peers.

Users expect web applications to function accurately, quickly, and consistently. That means you have to kick the tires on everything that helps a user achieve a result of some sort. Some common functional elements that require thorough testing include:

  • Testing the forms
  • Testing file manipulation and calculation
  • Search
  • Media components: test for smooth and seamless audio and video playback, animations, and interactive media
  • Scripts and libraries: ensure that all scripts are compatible with various of browsers
  • Test cases in functional testing ensure that boundary conditions are tested and invalid inputs quickly correct error messages

Interface testing plays a fundamental role for ensuring the quality of the product. With this testing method, we are ensuring that all sets of messages, commands, images, and other features are communicating between devices and users.

More websites are being build using web services. This provide an opportunity to test the web application in isolated components rather than a full integrated web application, writing integration tests.

Benefits of testing web services in isolation are:

  • No browser involved – We can directly communicate with a web service as long as we know its end-point and what parameters to send.
  • Much faster – As we are targeting isolated web service, there is no images, javascript or css to load, so the response is much quicker.
  • Easier debugging – when testing a web service, if we encounter an issue, it is much easier to locate the cause of the issue and so debugging becomes less of a pain.
  • More control – we have direct control over what request we submit to the web service, so we can use all sorts of data for negative testing of web services.

Testing the navigation, how user surf the web pages, different controls, is part of usability testing. Usability testing includes the following:

  • Website should be easy to use
  • Main menu should be provided on each page
  • Pages should be consistent enough
  • Check for grammatical and spelling errors

Performance testing is important in web testing because web application is exposed to potentially large number of audience. In performance testing, we should have to ensure that website is stable, and application does not crash when subjected to a large load on the server.

Cross-browser web testing and compatibility testing are mandatory for every website, since there are a lot of browsers that are working on different devices, so the application should works as expected on all of them. (for ex. major ones are: Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, Microsoft Edge and Safari).

As with all testing, we need to know which browsers and their versions the application supports and device support and then plan the testing accordingly. Testing everything on every browser can be very time consuming, hence we can use automated tools to verify functionality on different browsers.

Responsiveness should be tested on simulator and real device.

In addition, web sites and applications are more susceptible to security attacks such as DDos and SQL injections, and if the website is targeted, the downtime can be very costly, so great emphasis should be put on security testing.

So, think how your costumer would use each feature in the application before testing it thoroughly. Putting yourself in a customer’s shoes will help you develop realistic use cases and scenarios to try out, and eliminate possible errors before they happen.

Happy testing!