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A Guide to Auto­mated Testing

Purpose and Advan­tages of the Different Types of Tests

Automated testing represents a procedure in which software tools and scripts are used to automate a testing process. While manual tests involve human input, automated tests automatically execute the test cases and evaluate the results based on predefined criteria.

In this guide we address the following points:

  • Why are different types of tests necessary?
  • The advantages of automated testing
  • Unit tests and their advantages
  • Integration tests and their advantages
  • Functional tests and their advantages
  • Performance tests and their advantages
  • Security tests and their advantages
  • Acceptance tests and their advantages
  • Conclusion

Why Are Different Types of Tests Necessary?

In order to obtain information about the performance, security and quality of a software, different types of tests are necessary. Each type of test focuses on different aspects of the software. Thus, they complement each other and provide a comprehensive result.

Furthermore, the different types of tests reveal different errors. Performing them during the development process enables early error detection and correction, even before the software is released. Later bug fixes can be reduced to a minimum or avoided altogether. This also applies to certain risks, which are detected and eliminated at an early stage by means of different types of tests.

However, the use of different types of tests not only benefits the product itself, but also the developers. Because by using different types of tests, they are able to optimise their established strategies and thus save important time in the development of the software. Furthermore, they have an impact on user satisfaction.

The combination of different test types allows for comprehensive test coverage and creates robust and high-quality software.

The Advantages of Automated Testing

Automated tests have several advantages over manual tests. One of these is efficiency, because automated tests perform complex tasks automatically and process large amounts of data. This not only saves time, but also resources.

In addition, automated tests can be repeated as often as desired without human intervention and scaled to perform a large number of test cases. Sources of error can thus be better identified and checked. Automated tests are also able to simulate error conditions and check the reaction of the tested software. Developers get an overview of weak points and unexpected behaviour.

At the same time, they deliver consistent results because the tests are executed with high precision. The probability of errors is significantly reduced, subjective interpretations are avoided.

After completion of an automated test, detailed reports are generated on the identified errors and test results. This facilitates the follow-up of problems and the cooperation between developers and testers.

Unit Tests and Their Advantages

The so-called unit tests are the most basic form of tests and focus on checking individual code units. They help to ensure the stability of the code, improve maintenance and minimise risks of regressions. Because they can be executed quickly, developers detect and fix errors early. The goal is to ensure correct functionality.

Unit tests offer several advantages:

  • early error detection
  • improved maintainability and extensibility
  • improved readability and understanding of the code

Unit tests are a fundamental type of test and therefore form the basis for other types of tests. They play an important role in ensuring the stability and quality of the code.

Integration Tests and their Advantages

Integration tests are primarily used to check the cooperation of several code units or modules. They test whether the integration of the individual components works smoothly and delivers the expected results. Errors in communication between modules are usually uncovered by this type of test. These include data inconsistencies, interface problems or faulty dependencies.

The test environment should be as close as possible to the actual conditions in order to ensure a realistic check of the integration. The probability of errors in the production environment is also reduced in this way.

The benefits of integration testing include:

  • early error detection
  • ensuring interoperability
  • better fault isolation
  • avoidance of regressions

Integration testing helps improve the overall quality, stability and reliability of an application.

Functional Tests and their Advantages

Functional tests aim to check the requirements of a software for its functionalities. This involves testing whether the desired functions are executed and the expected results are delivered. The tests simulate typical scenarios from the user’s point of view. Functional tests can be carried out on the user interface as well as on the backend level.

There are different types of functional tests:

  • Smoke tests are the first stage of testing and identify obvious errors or problems at an early stage.
  • Regression tests ensure that functions that have already been tested continue to work properly, even after changes have been made to the software.
  • End-to-end tests simulate the user flow and also check that different components or systems work together correctly.
  • Scenario-based tests simulate typical user scenarios. Here, specific actions and inputs are performed and the expected reactions are checked.
  • Data integrity tests check whether data is stored, processed and transmitted correctly. They check the consistency of the data to ensure data integrity.

Functional tests not only ensure the user-friendliness and quality of the software, but also support error detection. They are therefore an essential part of the overall test process and important for the development of a software.

Performance Tests and their Advantages

Performance tests aim to check the performance of a software application under certain conditions and to identify problems related to speed, resource consumption or response time. A performance test measures different aspects. These include, for example, response time, processing speed and load capacity.

The various types of performance tests include:

  • Load tests check the performance of an application under a defined load.
  • Stress tests simulate extreme load conditions that go beyond normal usage scenarios. The purpose is to determine the performance limits of an application.
  • Scaling tests check the application’s ability to handle a growing number of users or load. This ensures that the application is able to handle the additional load and still maintain adequate performance.
  • Throughput tests measure performance in terms of the number of transactions processed simultaneously.
  • Latency tests check that the application responds within the expected time and that response times are acceptable.

Performance tests are primarily suitable for identifying potential bottlenecks in advance. Developers are then able to make any necessary optimizations and improve the performance of the software. At the same time, they ensure that a growing number of users does not cause any performance degradation and that the user has a positive experience.

Performance testing ensures that an application meets performance and scalability requirements under real-world load conditions.

Safety Tests and their Advantages

Security tests are used to identify security vulnerabilities and potential threats in a software application. The goal of these tests is to verify the robustness of the application and maintain the integrity of the data.

These tests focus on various security factors. These include authentication, encryption, input validation, and vulnerability protection. They can be performed both at the application level and at the network level.

Safety tests come in different forms:

  • Vulnerability testing checks the application for known vulnerabilities and weaknesses. Vulnerability testing can be performed manually or using automated security analysis tools.
  • Code analysis tools check the source code of an application for potential security problems. These tools can look for insecure code patterns, missing input validation, or potential attack surfaces.
  • Network security tests verify the security of the network infrastructure on which the application is hosted.
  • Penetration testing attempts to penetrate the application and exploit security vulnerabilities. This can include various techniques such as SQL injection, cross-site scripting, cross-site request forgery or denial of service.
  • Vulnerability testing involves checking the application for known vulnerabilities and weaknesses. Vulnerability testing can be done manually or using automated security analysis tools.
  • Code analysis tools check the source code of an application for potential security problems. These tools can look for insecure code patterns, missing input validation or potential attack surfaces.
  • Network security tests check the security of the network infrastructure on which the application is hosted.

Security testing is required to find vulnerabilities or security holes before they are used by attackers to penetrate systems. Developers improve the entire application with such tests. This includes measures such as data transmission, input validation, and authentication.

In addition, security tests facilitate compliance with security-relevant standards if the application processes personal or other sensitive data. Security testing is therefore an important step in ensuring the security of a software application.

Acceptance Tests and their Advantages

Acceptance tests are usually performed by the end users themselves or by testers acting on behalf of the users. They are therefore also known as user acceptance tests or customer acceptance tests. They help developers determine whether an application meets users’ needs and requirements. In addition, acceptance tests examine functionality, usability, and added value of the application for users.

Depending on the application and the user, acceptance testing comes in different forms:

  • Functional acceptance tests
  • Usability tests evaluate the usability and user experience of the application.
  • Performance acceptance tests verify the performance of the application.
  • Security acceptance tests check the application for possible security holes, vulnerabilities or attack surfaces.

Acceptance tests ensure that the software fulfills its purpose, especially with regard to the users. That is why the inclusion of users in the testing process is also necessary. In addition to the user perspective, inclusion brings another advantage: customers feel that they are taken seriously; the customer relationship is strengthened. They also help to identify errors that play a role for the user and hinder him in his work. Developers can fix problems and improve overall quality.

Acceptance testing is therefore an important step in the overall development process and enables software to meet user requirements.


The aforementioned test types enable comprehensive application development and are therefore of crucial importance for the future of a software.

However, each type of testing performs certain tasks and provides important information about the state of the software. Developers are able to use the different types of tests to improve the quality of the software and deliver a better experience to the user.

Automated testing is an important part of an efficient workflow and should be carefully implemented in every software project.

However, automated tests cannot cover all types of tests. Aspects such as user experience or exploratory testing still require reviews in manual form. Nevertheless, automated tests are a valuable complement to manual tests and are indispensable in software development to improve the overall process.

#softwareengineering #datascience #automation #testing

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