During the process of software testing life cycle, the team of testers prepares multifarious documents that enable them to perform the process of testing accurately and effectively. Test case, which is prepared by software testers before test execution, is an integral part of any testing process. These define a set of conditions that enable testers to validate a particular feature or component of the software application.
Hence, let us delve into a discussion on test case, which will help you understand its significance in the software testing life cycle (STLC).
What is a Test Case?
Prepared by the team of testers before the execution of a testing process, the test case is a document that consists of various crucial details about the process of testing. From test data to preconditions, expected results and more, this document offers testers all the necessary information about the testing process.
In short, a test case is a set of conditions and variables prepared to verify the compliance of a software functionality against the specified requirements. Moreover, with the assistance of test case, the team of testers can find problems in the requirements or design of an application and make necessary changes to validate its quality, functionality, and effectiveness.
Features of Test Case:
To write test cases is an extremely important task, which is usually considered irrelevant and insignificant by the team of testers. However, by creating this document- before the inception of the testing process -the team can increase the effectiveness as well as the accuracy of testing. Other important features of a test case are:
- Writing a test case brings a definite level of standardization to the testing process.
- It defines the end-to-end flow of a specific requirement, with test data, prerequisites, and expected results.
- Offers information in a comprehensive and concise manner.
- Lists variables under which the tester can test a software and validate its functionality, performance, and other important aspects of the software.
- Helps test the correct behavior, functionality, and features of an application.
- Imparts information which can be used by other testers in the future.
- It is designed on the basis of Software Requirement Specification (SRS).
Types of Test Cases:
Test cases can be found of two types, formal and informal test cases. Both of these cater to different requirements of the team and are prepared for different software and application type.
- Formal Test Cases:
- Authored for those software and applications that have formal requirements.
- Prepared as per the test case format.
- Consists of all the necessary information, such test prerequisites, test data, test procedure, expected results, procedure, and more.
- It has a defined set of inputs, which provide expected output.
- Formally defined test cases allow effective and consistent regression testing.
- Informal Test Cases:
If a feature becomes obsolete it becomes crucial for the team to remove the test case.
- These are prepared for those software and applications that do not have any formal requirements.
- The information offered by these test cases is not detailed.
- Exact input and output is unknown to the team.
- These do not use any formal test cases to perform the task of testing.
- The results are simply reported after test execution.
Test Case Template:
To offer important as well as relevant information about the software testing process, the team of testers follow a predefined test case template, which allows them to record crucial details about the process, without missing any relevant detail. Therefore, following is a standard template used for creating a test case document:
- Test suite ID: Each test case belongs to a specific test suite. This is the ID used to address it.
- Test Case ID: To denote the test case.
- Test Case Description: A brief summary of the test case along with its objective.
- Test pre requisites: Covers all the chief requirements and preconditions which must be looked into, before executing the test case.
- Test case procedure: It is a stepwise strategy to conduct the test.
- Test data: Includes all the data and links relevant to the cause of testing.
- Expected result: The anticipated conclusions from the test are prepared well in advance for verification with actual results of the test.
- Actual result: The results from testing are matched with those from the expected conclusions.
- Status and remarks: Denotes if the tests have been executed and if the application under test has passed or failed the test case. Also includes remarks for improvement in the test case.
- Test environment: It is the platform on which the test case is to be executed. This maybe an operating system, software or a hardware.
- Other parameters: Other parameters which form part of the test case include a mention of the testing date, author of the test case, date of creation of the test case, etc.
Importance of Test Case:
The aforementioned points eminently signify the importance of writing test cases before the process of testing. However, the reasons for creating test cases is not limited to these points, there are several other reasons for preparing test cases, few of which are mentioned below:
- Track Test Coverage: With the assistance of test case document, the team can efficiently track and monitor the testing process and ensure 100% coverage. Moreover, it enables them to identify any deviances and perform effective requirement tests.
- Maintain Consistency: By preparing test case document during the early stages of testing, the team can maintain consistency throughout the testing process.
- Re-usability: If written accurately with sufficient and relevant information, these test cases documents can be used by other testers to tackle similar issues and defects encountered by them in the future.
- Easy to Automate: Test cases can be utilized to create automated test scripts. Moreover, these are easily automated, which allows the team to use them with any automated tool, such as test management tool or test case management tool.
- Share Knowledge: These can also be used by the team to share their knowledge and strategies of testing with their team as well as the stakeholders of the project.
- Verification & Validation: Most importantly, with the assistance of test case document, the team is able to verify the various features and aspects of the software product and validate their compliance against the specified requirements.
Example of a Test Case:
Following is an example of test case, which will help you understand the process better as well as aid you in comprehending its importance in software testing life cycle (STLC).
- Suppose we have to check an input field that can take in a maximum of 7 characters. With a test case having such a scenario we first initiate with a test step involving the feeding of 7 characters.
- Now the expected result of taking such a test step is that the input field must accept all the 7 characters fed.
- The actual result is the accepting of all the 7 characters. In this test case if the actual result is same as the other parameter i.e. expected result, then the application is said to have passed the test case.
- On the other hand we feed 8 characters as an alternative test scenario, and the expected result is the non acceptability of 8 characters. If the actual result comes out as admitting of 8 characters, then the application is said to have failed the test case.
Things to Consider:
As the information provided by test case document carries great significance, it becomes important for us to prepare it accurately, with relevant and comprehensive details. Therefore, following are some critical points that require consideration, while preparing the test case document.
- Before writing test cases, it is crucial for the team to understand the requirements of testing as well as the features that require testing.
- Offer a description of how will the process of testing commence.
- Include details about the testing input, output, and expected results.
- The document should be comprehensive and understandable.
- Avoid including ambiguous details and information.
- Assign priority to crucial test cases.
- Avoid repeating test cases to improve the scope of testing.
- Get peer review before concluding the document.
- Implement testing techniques to ensure the full coverage of the software application.
Test Case VS Test Scenarios:
Though, test case and test scenario are used by some inexperienced software engineers interchangeably, these two are excessively different from one another and cater to different aspects of the software. Therefore, to signify the differences between these two here is a comparison of test case and test scenario.
|1. Offers details about the test case name, preconditions, input conditions, expected results, and more.
||1. Test scenarios consists of a detailed test procedure.
|2. These are low level actions that can be derived from test scenarios.
||2. It defines a thread of operations that are performed on the software.
|3. It is a set of conditions and variables which help the tester determine the compliance of the product with the stated requirements.
||3. Test scenario offers a one line statement, which guides the tester in testing a particular feature of the product.
|4. Define the set of steps that are performed on the software to verify the expected output as well as the functionality of the software.
||4. Good test scenarios reduce the complexity and repeatability of a software product.
|5. Describes the end-to-end logical flow of a specific requirement.
||5.It offers requirements in detail, which help test the software accurately.
Test Case Management Tools:
Nowadays, when there is an abundance of automated tools, it is not surprising to witness software testers using test case management tools to generate accurate test cases. Therefore, to help you choose an effective and efficient test management tool, curated here is a list of most dependable and reliable tools:
- Test Collab.
- HP Quality Center.
Advantages & Disadvantages of Creating Test Cases:
From being an integral part of software testing to imparting various crucial details about the process, writing test cases offer numerous advantages to software testers. However, apart from these advantages it also offers few disadvantages, which require an acknowledgement in this discussion. Hence, here are some advantages and disadvantages of creating test cases:
- With the assistance of test cases the team can improve the quality of the software.
- Test cases can be referred and accessed by anyone to understand the end-to-end functionality of any features of the software.
- It helps save time of team members, as they do not have to spend time in training others.
- Ensures maximum coverage of the product, as per the requirement of the client.
- Creating test cases can be time and effort consuming.
Any change in the requirement demands for the test case to be changed entirely.
The importance and usefulness of test cases is quite evident from the above discussion. Though it might seem an insignificant part of software testing life cycle, yet it plays a significant role in the process and increases its quality and effectiveness eminently. Therefore, it you want to ensure that your product meets the requirements of your client, creating test cases prior to test execution is vital.
Read our article on performance testing and enhance your knowledge about this important software testing technique.