Technology

End-to-End testing: Everything you need to know!

Introduction

There are numerous approaches to software testing, and end-to-end testing is one of them. Although it requires the most time and resources, this process can be automated.

In this article, we explain what end-to-end test automation is and how it fits into a larger testing plan that may benefit any business.

We’ll start with the fundamentals, going over the “what” and “why” of end-to-end testing. After that, we’ll discuss the importance of end-to-end testing in a thorough testing approach.

You’ll see that the advantages of test automation extend far beyond time savings. We believe in test automation, even though manual testing has its place—and end-to-end testing can be done manually. As a result, you’ll also learn about the importance of automation in modern testing strategies.

Before we part ways, we speak about how to tell the difference between end-to-end testing and other types of testing.

What do you understand by end-to-end testing?

End-to-end testing (E2E testing) is an app testing method that examines an application’s workflow from start to finish. This method simulates real-world user scenarios to test the system’s integration and data integrity.

The test goes through every activity the application may perform to see how it interacts with hardware, network connectivity, external dependencies, databases, and other apps. End-to-end testing is often performed after functional and system testing.

Steps for End-to-End Testing:

To start and finish any E2E test, follow the procedures below:

  • Examine the needs. Have a good understanding of how the app should function in every way.
  • Create a test environment that meets all of the requirements.
  • Examine the hardware and software requirements.
  • Make a list of how each system should react.
  • Make a list of the testing methods you’ll need to evaluate these responses. Include precise details of the standards to be followed in each test (language and tools.).
  • Create test cases
  • Run tests, analyze the results, and save them.

Misconceptions related to End-to-End testing

End-to-end testing should not be confused with user interface testing. While they may have some similarities, UI testing can be considered a unit or integration testing because each UI piece can be tested separately. On the other hand, end-to-end test automation necessitates testing the complete flow. In addition, UI testing focuses on whether the user interface appears and behaves as intended, whereas end-to-end testing focuses on whether the underlying system functions effectively.

However, UI and end-to-end testing frequently overlap. For example, when testing an app’s login flow, you might check that the login fields display the relevant keyboard and the login works. Put another way- you can add UI tests to your end-to-end tests if you are very careful and explicit about it.

End-to-end tests are also ineffective for evaluating specific features. This is because they violated numerous testing fundamentals. Because they involve interaction with the entire system, they usually are pretty slow to run. They take a long time to get started because the whole system must be developed first, making it difficult to follow the adage “fail quickly.” They can’t isolate a bug; in most cases, all you’ll know is that something isn’t working. Once a bug is discovered, you’ll have to devote more time and effort to isolate it.

Finally, end-to-end tests are notoriously unreliable since they are susceptible to real-world difficulties that affect your final system, such as network concerns.

What is the need for end-to-end testing?

The software can and should be thoroughly tested. The unit test is the most basic level of testing. This is when programmers create a minor routine to try the one they’re working on. Your application will be made up of all of these minor procedures.

However, programmers will benefit from writing these simple test routines since they will receive immediate feedback on whether or not they are correctly implementing a feature.

While checking that all of the minor bits operate is insufficient. Integration tests are helpful in this situation. Integration tests combine two or more components in a trial and verify the outcome.

However, even if all of these tests pass, you may still have problems or unfulfilled requirements.

First and foremost, unit and integration tests do not cover user interfaces. Is the user interface well designed? Is the experience enjoyable? Are all of the required components in place? Is it possible for the user to achieve their goals? Only an end-to-end test can answer these types of queries.

End-to-end test automation is also crucial since modern software has many moving parts: servers can cause applications to act. Differently, settings must be set up correctly, and other dependencies can influence our program. Separate component testing will not cover everything.

Does this rule out the value of unit and integration tests? Certainly not. Unit, integration and end-to-end tests are critical components of a comprehensive testing approach.

What are the relevant factors for measuring end-to-end testing?

To track the progress of end-to-end tests, consider the following elements:

  • Test case preparation: Are the appropriate test cases built to test each software function? The graph should depict the rate at which current and prospective test cases are being developed.
  • Weekly test: It is critical to have a weekly percentage-based test completion report. The relevant parameters here are the test cases that are now running, not running, and have failed.
  • Details on defects: It’s crucial to know what proportion of defects are detected, closed, or opened each week. It lets testers and management keep track of faults and supervise their resolution by prioritizing defects (for explanation).
  • Test environment availability: This shows how much time is scheduled for testing each day against how much time is spent.

Why is end-to-end testing necessary?

Every program is connected to and integrated with many systems and databases outside its environment. The app’s workflow is convoluted as a result.

E2E testing evaluates whether an application’s numerous dependencies are functioning correctly. It also examines if reliable data is being transmitted between various system components.

  • Backend: End-to-end testing verifies an app’s database and backend layers. This is required because the app’s fundamental functions rely on backend capabilities.
  • Multi-tier system: If an application has a complicated design with numerous tiers, E2E testing is necessary to ensure overall functionality and interaction between particular levels.
  • Distributed Environment: E2E testing is required in a distributed setting, such as an SOA (service-oriented architecture) or cloud environment. It’s also necessary for apps with several components to interact together to function correctly.
  • Consistent User Experience: E2E testing ensures that the software provides a consistent user experience across numerous devices, platforms, and environments because it involves the front end. E2E testing, for example, includes cross-browser compatibility testing.

What are the challenges in End-to-End Testing?

Detecting flaws in a complicated workflow is naturally difficult. The most important ones are listed below:

Creating workflows: Test cases in an E2E test suite must be executed in a specific order to investigate an app’s workflow. This sequence must correspond to the end-journey user’s journey through the app. Creating test suites to meet this procedure can be time-consuming, especially when thousands of tests must be completed and executed.

Accessing the Test Environment: Testing programs in development environments is simple. On the other hand, every application must be tested in client or production settings. Prod environments are unlikely to be available for testing at all times. Testers must install local agents and log into virtual computers even when they are. Testers must also anticipate and avoid difficulties such as system changes that could disrupt test execution. Testing on an actual device cloud is the best method to get a perfect test environment.

Test environment availability: This shows how much time is scheduled for testing each day against how much time is spent.

End-to-end testing: Best Practices

1. Prioritize the result:

Test as if you were the user when generating test cases. Are the characteristics identified? Is it possible for people to achieve what they want? Acceptance test papers and user stories can assist in clarifying the user’s perspective. Create test cases that reflect this.

Focus on end-to-end tests on app functionalities that will create the most problems if they fail. Begin with these features and build more complex test cases to validate them. For this, consider employing a risk assessment matrix. Read this to gain a better understanding of risk-based testing.

2. Exception testing should be avoided: An end-to-end testing framework is best for testing frequent user scenarios. Platforms like HeadSpin use integration testing or low-level unit testing to test exceptional use cases.

3. Maintain Order: Since end-to-end testing frameworks cover the entire application, test cases will inevitably be complicated. Each system component must be tested, increasing the number of potential failure spots and the difficulty of diagnosing each anomaly. In E2E testing, structure and organization are critical. Do unit and integration tests first to resolve the first level of issues.

4. Improve the setup and teardown processes: Ensure that the test environment is prepared to begin testing. The setup process should be as minimal as feasible. When the tests are finished, it should take an equivalent amount of time to wipe the test data, restore the environment to its original condition, and make it available to rerun tests.

Takeaway

This article attempts to explain end-to-end testing and why it is required. Other tests, such as unit and integration tests, accompany end-to-end testing. It is part of a more comprehensive testing approach to help every company. This is particularly true if your end-to-end tests are automated.

To sum-up:

  • We learned about end-to-end testing.
  • We did burst some misconceptions related to end-to-end testing.
  • We understood the need for end-to-end testing.
  • We also learned about the main challenges faced in end-to-end testing.

Huynh Nguyen

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