Application Testing – Into the Basics of Software Testing!

Topics we will cover in this article:

– Application Testing
– Categories of Applications
– Application Testing Methodologies
– Application Testing Tools
– Software Test Plan
– Application Testing Cycles
– Application Testing – Best Practices

Introduction to Application Testing

Application Testing1

Application Testing is such an activity that is performed frequently by almost every software tester in his career. These two words are extremely broad in practical aspect. However, only the core and most important areas will be discussed here. The purpose of this article is to touch all the primary areas so that the readers will get all the basic briefing at a single place.

Application Testing

In a one-liner, we can say that application testing is a process through which the functionality, usability, and consistency of the entire application are tested.

Categories of Applications

Whether it is small calculator software with only the basic arithmetic operations or an online enterprise solution; there are three categories of applications:

Categories of Applications

For desktop applications, testing should take into account the UI, business logic, database, reports, roles and rights, integrity, usability, functionality, performance, security, hardware & software compatibility and data flow.

For web applications, testers should give sufficient importance to performance, load, and security of the application. Other main testing types covered under web application testing are functional testing, cross-browser testing, UAT, Beta testing, regression testing, compatibility testing, smoke testing, exploratory testing, compatibility & Multilanguage support testing and stress testing.

For mobile applications, the main types of testing that should be done are UI testing, Rule-based testing, regression, functional and security testing.

So AUT (application under test) is either desktop software or a website or a mobile app.

Application Testing

Application Testing Methodologies

This is a well-known and well-discussed aspect that there are only 3 universally accepted testing methodologies:

a. Black Box: In black-box testing, the AUT is validated against its requirements considering the inputs and expected outputs, regardless of how the inputs are transformed into outputs. Testers are least concerned with internal structure or code that implements the business logic of the application.

Black Box

There are four primary techniques to design test cases for black box testing:

i. BVA (Boundary Value Analysis)
ii. EP (Equivalence Partitioning)
iii. Decision Tables
iv. State Transition Tables (and diagrams)

Black box testing is commonly employed for functional, non-functional and regression testing.

b. White Box: Primary focus of this methodology is to validate how the business logic of the application is implemented by code/program.

White Box

The internal structure of the application is tested here and the techniques available to do so are:

Both the above-listed techniques contain several other strategies that may be discussed in some other article. Some techniques are discussed in ‘Test Case Design Techniques’ topic.

c. Grey Box: Practically speaking, this is a mixture of the black box and white box.

Grey Box

In this methodology, mainly the tester tests the application with black box approach. But, for some business critical or vulnerable modules of an application, testing is done through a white box.

Application Testing Tools

There are a lot of application testing tools available in the market today. These include both paid and open source tools. Moreover, some tools are purpose specific e.g. UI testing, Functional Testing, DB Testing, Load Testing, Performance, Security Testing and Link validation testing etc. However, some tools are strong enough to provide the facility of testing several major aspects of an application. The most important concept in ‘Application Testing’ is functional testing. So, our focus will be on functional testing tools.

Here is the list of some most important and fundamental features that are provided by almost all of the ‘Functional Testing’ tools.

  • Record and Play
  • Parametrize the Values
  • Script Editor
  • Run (the test or script, with debug and update modes)
  • Report of Run session

Different vendors provide some specific features that make their product unique to other competitor products. But the five features listed above are the most common and can be found in almost all the functional testing tools.

Following is the list of few widely used Functional Testing tools.

1) HP QTP (Quick Test Professional)
2) Selenium
3) IBM Rational Robot
4) Test Complete
5) Push to Test
6) Telerik

Software Test Plan (STP)

For any activity, some planning is always required and same is true for software testing. Without a proper plan, there is always a high risk of getting distracted during the testing. If this risk becomes a fact, the results could be horrible.

Following are the 5 main parts of a good Test Plan:

a. Scope

  • Overview of AUT
  • Features (or areas) to be tested
  • Exclusions (features or areas not to be tested) with reason
  • Dependencies (of testing activities on each other, if any)

b. Objectives: This section describes the goals of testing activity e.g. validation of bug fixes, new features added or revamp of AUT, etc.

c. Focus: This section describes what aspect of application will be included in the testing e.g. security, functionality, usability, reliability, performance or efficiency etc.

d. Approach: This section describes what testing methodology will be adopted for which areas of AUT. For example, in the STP of an ERP application; the approach section may contain the information that black box testing will be the approach for payroll. On the other hand, for reports, the approach will be grey box testing.

e. Schedule: This section describes that who will be doing what, where, when and how on the AUT. Schedule section is, in fact, a ‘4Ws and 1H’ of the STP. Normally, the schedule is prepared as a simple table, but every organization may have its own customized format according to their own needs.

Once the test plan is ready and application is under development, testers do design and document the test cases. In the “Application Testing – Methodologies” section above, I have listed the TC design techniques.

Application Testing Cycles

Once the AUT is ready for testing, the practical phase of the testing cycle starts in which testers actually execute the test cases on AUT. Keep in mind that here the testing cycle is discussed regardless of Testing Levels (Unit, Module, Integration, System and User Acceptance) and Testing Environments (Dev, QA, Client’s Replica, Live).

a. Smoke Testing: This is the very first testing cycle. The purpose of smoke testing is to verify that there are no crashes in the application and it is suitable for further testing. This step is wide and shallow.

b. Sanity Testing: This is the second testing cycle. Its purpose is to verify that a specific module is working properly and is suitable for complete testing. This step is narrow and deep.

Tip: Usually there is not ample amount of time available to run the above two cycles separately. So, a mixture of both these cycles is adopted in practice.

c. Functional Testing: The proper and full-fledged testing of application is performed in this application test cycle. The primary focus of this activity is to verify that the business logic of the application is working as expected.

d. Regression Testing: This is the final application cycle. Here the bug-fixes and/or updates are verified. Moreover, regression testing also ensures that there is no malfunctioning in other areas of AUT due to fixes and changes.

Bugs are logged in every testing cycle. There is no distinct borderline between the testing cycles. For example, in Regression, the Functionality is also verified and it may also require smoke, sanity or their merger first.

We have talked above about four different application testing cycles. We also need to understand here that each application test cycle has certain steps involved in it. Generally, any testing cycle has the steps as presented in below image:

Application Testing Cycles

Application Testing – Best Practices

I think hundreds of articles are available about this on the internet. Every article suggests a different number of best practices ranging from 7 to 30 (that I have seen so far). However, I have just 5 tips for readers.

  • Plan Properly
  • Test Keenly
  • Log the bugs Clearly
  • Do Regression Test Efficiently
  • Improve above four skills Continuously

Furthermore, you should prioritize the test cases well and cover the main business flows first.


Application Testing is a vast subject and it is the primary activity for almost all the software testers. In this article, I have provided the overview of most fundamental and necessary areas that fall under application testing. It involves strategies, phenomena, approaches, tools, technologies, and guidelines. I have addressed the conceptual and practical insight of application testing along with its most prominent areas of concern.


#1 Suhas

the resources linked in the article along with the app testing topic .. that’s loads of information.

#2 Poonam

really, need to sit back and take a coffee to read all the topics linked herewith.. :)

#3 Deo Ram Yadav

I found nice automation tools:
for functional testing: IBM RFT
for performance testing: IBM RPT

These are really nice tools…

#4 Neela

Thanks so much. Articles on are always good and valuable

#5 Pravina

nice one, its really helpfull for me

#6 Aarthi

nice one but it can be in detail

#7 kiran

thanks very much

#8 Muhammad Abrar

Back to the basics!!


Clearly focused on basics. Nice article.

#10 Mithi


#11 Tal Harel

Good introductory!

#12 Pratap

Hi All

I m looking for Software Testing institute in Noida or Delhi..

Can anybody help me on this?



#13 mani chander

it is the very good articles and provided with very good basics knowledge of application testing. thanks

#14 Vinay

is qspiders in bangalore a good institute with good teaching and placement services.. as i have no % in puc.. i have 45% in puc.. where as 65 % in 10th and degree.. can anyone help.. whether having such low % i wil get placed..

#15 Van Nguyen

Sorry, I still don’t understand AUT. What does it stand for?

#16 Swapna

@ Van
AUT means Application Under Test, the application for which you want to write and execute test cases.

#17 Yamraaj

@Van Nguyen: (AUT = Application Under Testing)

A good, precised and well focused article, must read for all beginners. All the major and mostly asked basic points of Software Testing, covered by the author in a good precise manner. Best part is that the article is quite absorbing and not like the typical boring stuff available today.
Good work Author, keep it up!

#18 vinayak

AUT ( application under test)
the application for which you want to write and execute test cases (test object).

#19 Afshan Rauf

very useful article …really helpful

#20 Manish

Can any body provide some basic idea of any project in brief where smoke and salanity testing is done


#21 Pragati

Good job………….

#22 Tushar

Very helpful Article for all the Freshers

#23 manikandan

Well good,useful documentation for freshers and for professionalist will be a good reference guide.


#24 sneha

Software testing methodologies are
5)V model

Do let me know if I misunderstood

#25 Pratap Gusain

this is the best article i have ever read..thanx pradeep…really really helpful ..u the best :)

#26 Pratap

Hi all

Can anybody tell me how to test a website in which

“iFrames” plays a very important role.

i mean few things that i must remember while testing

these kind of site ?

plz help me guys


good, systematic and highly informative

#28 A Ahmad

Highly rich and precise resource for beginners

#29 Rahul Rizvi

very useful content

#30 Nil Shriwas

Very Usefull for fresher.

#31 Shambhu Das

grt writing …rEally helps

#32 Yugal Kishore Jangare

Hi All,

I need to write Test Scenarios of an ATM Machine Cache withdrawal program.

Where the Test Cases would be written to test out the multiplication logic of each “Currency note” i.e. 100Rs, 500Rs, 1000Rs when a user is withdrawing a particular amount from the ATM, and Machine should give the money based on the Currency available in the ATM.

e.g. If an ATM is having an amount “N” in the machine in multiplication of 100Rs*X, 500*Y and 1000*Z and a User needs to withdraw an amount “n”.

What would be the logic of calculation made by ATM program.

Positive and Negative scenarios will be appreciated.

Thanks all for your help.

#33 Niki

Thanks a lot for the article….

#34 noidametro

hi thanks for writing that article.

#35 Venkat

Many thanks for the information on all concepts of software testing….every article is provided very nice and simple…

#36 nageswararao

hi friends any freshers jobs for testing

pls tell inform me

my mail id ::

#37 Golak Senapati

When a developer is not accepting the tester’s defect. Then what should be the action from the tester’s side.

Can any one please let me the proper answer for this?

#38 Golak Senapati

When a tester can tell that his testing is completed for the application.

Can any one please let me know the proper answer for this?

#39 Golak Senapati

Client got a very big defect in the production. But the tester is confident that all the test cases what he has written is very aligned to the client requirements. There is no requirement which is missing in the test cases. still he cannot say to the client that the defect came is not in the requirement.

So what should be the action from the tester’s side to the client.

If any body knows the answer of this, please share..

#40 JimP

Nice article cover the basics, just wondering if you could share some web-based bug tracking tools that you’d recommend from your experience?

#41 Tariq

Nice and brief wrote

#42 H Ashraf

Nice article it will help for beginners…

#43 Chetan

This is best site of testing…..

#44 Chetan Nayi

very usefull…… site

#45 Noel

Can anyone tell me which is among the best software testing institutes in Bangalore ? And how about job placements with the same ?

#46 manu

hi I am diploma holder looking for manual testing job will i get it?

#47 Ranjan

hi i am a graphics designer in mobile application but i want to know about testing . what i do ? plz help me

#48 Prashant Gupta

A very good combination of material used.
Very helpful for beginners.

#49 Prashant Gupta

Can you please tell me some thing effective in qa testing.
if so please send it to my mail i am a mca professional

#50 Anubhuti

I want to know what is the difference between RAD and prototype model.

What is business functions

#51 Neha

Very helpful site for all Tester

#52 vinoth kanna

i am working as a tester but every one saying that development has a huge scope some please answer me

#53 sushama

very helful side for all tester

#54 Cletus

Very useful articles and manuals in this site..

#55 nas

can i know the author name!! because we making an article so i have to include the author name in the references

#56 nas

can i know the author name!! because we are making an article so i have to include the author name in the references

#57 Jenny

Thanks a lot guys to have prepared this site. :)

#58 Prabu

Thanks a lot..

#59 Saro

Great article!

#60 mary

I got to know some important concepts on testing


#61 Aruna

Thanks a lot for the article

Leave a Comment