Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Manual Testing

Manual testing is the oldest and most rigorous type of software testing. Manual testing requires a tester to perform manual test operations on the test software without the help of Test automation. Manual testing is a laborious activity that requires the tester to possess a certain set of qualities; to be patient, observant, speculative, creative, innovative, open-minded, resourceful, unopinionated, and skillful.

As a tester, it is always advisable to use manual white box testing and black-box testing techniques on the test software. Manual testing helps discover and record any software bugs or discrepencies related to the functionality of the product.

Manual testing can be replaced by test automation. It is possible to record and playback manual steps and write automated test script(s) using Test automation tools. Although, test automation tools will only help execute test scripts written primarily for executing a particular specification and functionality. Test automation tools lack the ability of decision-making and recording any unscripted discrepancies during program execution. It is recommended that one should perform manual testing of the entire product at least a couple of times before actually deciding to automate the more mundane activities of the product.

Manual testing helps discover defects related to the usability testing and GUI testing area. While performing manual tests the software application can be validated whether it meets the various standards defined for effective and efficient usage and accessibility.

For example, the standard location of the OK button on a screen is on the left and of CANCEL button on the right. During manual testing you might discover that on some screen, it is not. This is a new defect related to the usability of the screen. In addition, there could be many cases where the GUI is not displayed correctly and the basic functionality of the program is correct. Such bugs are not detectable using test automation tools.

Repetitive manual testing can be difficult to perform on large software applications or applications having very large dataset coverage. This drawback is compensated for by using manual black-box testing techniques including equivalence partitioning and boundary value analysis. Using which, the vast dataset specifications can be divided and converted into a more manageable and achievable set of test suites.

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