When it comes to building cutting-edge software solutions, testing plays a very important role in ensuring the end product meets the quality and security expectations of users. For users, a well-performing, high-quality product is what eventually matters – they do not care what testing methodologies are used to bring the product to life. But for development teams, these methodologies play a huge role in ensuring the product meets current and future expectations.
In today’s world, there are several approaches to testing that are immensely popular, but in this blog, I’d like to focus on TDD and manual testing.
Understanding Manual Testing
In the world of software development, manual testing has always been synonymous with testing. Back in the days, when technology was still not so advanced, the word testing flashed images of testers working day-in and day-out creating test suites and using manual approaches to discover bugs in software, usually, once the code has been written.
All testing-related activities are done – without the help of modern automation software testing tools. And although it still finds widespread use, it requires the experience and expertise of knowledgeable testers to accomplish testing goals.
Test-Driven Development or TDD is quickly becoming a common testing technique that guides software development by writing tests. Instead of testing the code once it has been written, TTD requires developers to develop a test case for every functionality of the product that needs to be developed – beforehand. This means, developers first write the test and then develop the functional code in a way that it passes the test.
Since developers need to continuously cycle through these three steps, it allows for code to be developed in small iterations in a way that it passes the test – every single time. By writing code in response to passing a test, it helps in building up the functionality of the system while also allowing teams to constantly refactor the code, to keep all code fragments clean.
Choosing between TDD and Manual Testing
Although TDD and manual testing both have their own pros and cons, understanding which testing works in which scenarios is extremely important. Here are some tips:
- Use TDD when you don’t want to break the code: Software products that are constantly upgraded or changed often tend to end up with broken code because they are not able to withstand frequent iterations. TDD eliminates the fear of breaking the code by constantly running tests – every time a new feature is added, a bug is fixed, or the code is cleaned.
- Use manual testing when you have an existing codebase: If you have an existing codebase, it makes sense to use manual testing. By creating tests around the existing system, testers can prove that when they make changes, they’re not breaking a working system.
- Use TDD when you have clearly defined inputs and outputs: For software products that have a pure logic function attached to them, TDD lends itself really well. With a clearly defined set of expected inputs and outputs, TDD makes it easy for teams to build out tests based on the desired behavior, and then develop the code accordingly.
- Use manual testing to improve the user experience: If you want to test the user-friendliness of an application, manual testing is a great choice – both for usability and exploratory testing. Since the goal of any product is to ensure end-user satisfaction, human intuition and creativity can play a huge role in unearthing how real users will interact with the app, observe reactions, and make edits to improve their experience. Manual testing also allows testers to learn as they grow and generate better tests for better results.
- Use TDD when you want to enable seamless integration: TDD works really well for products that need to be integrated with other systems in the ecosystem. By correctly identifying dependencies and challenges, it allows teams to coordinate with different modules or integrate with systems you don’t control. If an integration seems too complex, teams can move the setup to another layer, mock that layer, and continue the pattern until each layer is well-defined.
- Use manual testing for ad-hoc tests: if you have poorly written specification documentation or if you simply want to carry out some ad-hoc tests, manual testing done by an experienced QA with extensive domain knowledge and analytical skills can drive great results. Since manual testing is dependent on the knowledge and skills of the tester, it is a great way to find defects or errors in code – with minimal planning and maximum test execution.
In the world of software development, testing plays a significant role in ensuring the product being developed meets the needs of end-users. While manual testing allows testers to test existing codebases, improve end-user experience, as well as carry ad-hoc tests, TDD works great when specifications are clearly defined while ensuring seamless integration and code strength.
In conclusion, I would like to say that no one approach is better than the other; what approach you choose entirely depends on your unique testing requirement.
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