Wednesday, 22 January 2014

Testing Educational Software in India 2014

Testing Educational Software in India 2014


Education as a discipline has-been receiving a lot of importance globally in the recent years. Specifically in the US, a lot of importance has been given on K-12 education and a lot is being spent on educational research. The current Obama administration is pushing to have businesses pledge $118m for educational research to improve current learning processes and techniques. Recently, in July 2011, Microsoft has pledged $15 M for research on use of gaming technology in education, all of which is very welcoming amidst recent times where there is scrutiny and cut in spending in most disciplines

Thanks to growth in technology, education has been creating positive global impacts and is bringing the world together. A lot more people are globally able to pursue higher education (such as masters programs) from reputed universities in the US through distant learning programs; children here in the US are able to take on e tutoring from teachers across the world; anytime / anywhere learning is now  feasible through hosted educational software and mobile devices such as e readers.

Education has been one of the more stable industries during the last few years escaping the hands of recession. If you do a simple online search on "Education industry during recession" or "Unaffected industries during recession" you can see an interesting bunch of results that show up. If you really look at this more closely, we've all accepted that education is mandatory.

Now, to what level one wants to leverage education is really one's own call, but at least we would all agree that fundamental education is mandatory for every child. In addition to this, a lot of industries have mandated compliances and audit checks specific to their business, which calls for additional education on those specific areas – be it HIPAA compliance, 508 accessibility compliance, PCI compliance etc.

Also, a lot of skilled people have lost their jobs in the recent years. If the ones on the job need to sustain themselves, they need to really excel and prove themselves for which we have seen people take on a lot more certification courses than in the past. The ones who have lost their jobs now have more time and want to strengthen their skills through additional certifications, to stay competitive in the job market. All of these have resulted in a positive boost for the educational sector, helping it stay steady amidst these trying times.

Let's now look at what are the unique aspects of validating and verifying quality for educational software through software quality assurance. Understanding this is important to see why India is well positioned to test educational software.  Like in any other software, certain elements such as functionality, UI are important to be verified for educational software as well. But what are different are:

Content verification - Content is important for any software to ensure correct use of language and the right messaging to appeal to the audience, content for learning software goes an extra mile; strong subject matter experts are needed to create the content, and unless it is correct, precise and effective in teaching the subject, the target cannot be reached well enough.

Learnability of content - Since the primary goal of educational software is to efficiently teach the subject to its target audience, QA & testing is the key to understand for how learnable the software is. Thinking through how the instructional design needs to be done, QA and testing for effectiveness of the story board are all required to ensure the software is designed to meet its goals


Usability & role based testing - Specific to educational applications, a lot of roles come into existence such as teacher, student, administrator, evaluator etc. State transition testing, along the sequence of expected and unexpected paths is more important for educational applications in comparison to others. Usability testing extends itself further in educational applications to verify the learnability of the content

Software performance testing – This is becoming more important for education in the recent years given how global & collaborative education has become. You can have a student take a course via a CD, another take the same course via a local download, another take the same course via a live streaming session, another take it via a hosted model etc.  Similarly, at the backend, content may be received from several different sources such as digitized software, a teacher from a remote location ingesting his/her content, content being uploaded by a publishing house. With such variables involved in the mix, careful capacity planning is important and the software's load handling capabilities and scalability need to be thoroughly tested for.

SecuritySecurity testing services for educational software is critical as tolerance for failure is very low, especially when it comes to online exams, results sharing etc. Think of a situation where a question paper or an answer key is accidentally shared with students, a student's answers get overwritten or are saved under another student's profile. This is not a case like a shopping transaction where an apology can be sent and another transaction can be initiated. So, security testing especially application vulnerability and database security testing are very important.

Compatibility testing more important than in other applications – Given how learners are these days empowered to take on offline/anywhere/anytime learning, the use of devices to take on such courses has come to the limelight. This calls for QA and testing of software on a wide yet optimized range of supported platforms and devices.

Integration testing is very important as often times content comes from various sources; when such cross collaboration happens, there is a good chance integration scenarios might not work seamlessly, unless adequately tested and verified for. For e.g. a student may have downloaded some questions from a web application, some questions off a memory drive, some questions from a friend on a social network etc. to consolidate the set of questions he / she wants to prepare for. Such cross sharing of information and consolidation is often going to be supported by learning applications to make the learning experience holistic.

In our next series we will cover the various aspects of Software Quality Assurance of Education Software and discuss more on India's edge in testing educational software.

Author:QAInfoTech
Source: Link

How to Effectively Report Bugs?

How to Effectively Report Bugs?

All applications have bugs, either trivial or crucial. "To err" as the saying goes, is all too human – as long as codes are written by us, humans, there are bound to be errors in software applications. Therefore, it is rather essential that bug reports are clear and informative.

What if, you are trying to understand a technical document for a long time but the result is null. Frustrating, isn't it? Same is the case when a tester writes a lengthy bug report but a developer is getting nothing out of it. Expertise matched with perfect communication is the key to success.
A good tester maybe able to find showstopper bugs, but if she/he is not able to articulate it well, it becomes difficult for the developers to comprehend the information and fix errors. Hence, as a tester you need to understand the importance of effective communication while reporting a bug, most independent software testing company does keep this as priority.

The objective of bug report is to help reproduce the problem with minimal efforts and help the developer debug and fix the problem. A good bug report must contain precise information required to reproduce, analyse, debug and fix the problem. More often than not, assuming the bug to be quite obvious, a tester may take for granted that developers would be smart enough to understand it automatically and refrain from providing complete information. On the contrary, our testers are taught to provide each and every minute detail of the bug to make it simpler for the developer to understand and fix it in one single go, this makes software testing services more effective for any offshore or outsourced work.

The best time to report a bug is as soon as it is found in the application. This is the time when the tester is aware of every fact, so the possibility to overlook details in the report is minimal.

Check Requirements:


Before calling it a bug, ensure that it's not working as stated down in the baseline requirements.

Root Cause:

Once you have concluded that it's a bug, start to dig down to find the root cause for the same. There may be various paths leading to the root cause, but finding and fixing each and every path is not an intelligent procedure. Rather finding and fixing the core issue would resolve the bug on all the possible paths.

Search the Bug Tracking Tool for duplicity:

Before reporting a bug, make a close search in the bug tracking tool using intelligent keywords to check whether that bug already exists or not.

Summary:


It should be simple, clear and precise. Is here that you should connect to the actual problem and grab the developer's attention.

Steps To Reproduce:


Before providing the steps / series of user actions, describe the state of application and prerequisites. The steps for user actions should be logical and non- redundant. A tester should also try to club a few steps into one if the total number of steps is high.

Environment Tested Upon:

It is important to cite the environment a particular application was tested on at the time you found the bug. It also helps finding the root cause of the issue.
a. Content manifesting: Details about what content the bug is reproducible on
b. Content Non–manifesting: Details about what content the bug is NOT reproducible on
c. Configuration manifesting: Details about what configuration the bug is reproducible on
d. Configuration Non – manifesting: Details about what configuration the bug is NOT reproducible on

Evidences:


While performing QA Testing activities, we generally come across some bugs which are not reproducible each & every time. Therefore, it is important to capture evidence around such issues when they happen, so that it would be easier to find the root cause. Provide the following as part of bug report:
  • Labelled screenshots
  • Screen recording of the issue
  • Any kind of log files
  • The struts
  • Video capture, if possible

Expected Behaviour & Actual Behaviour


It's very important to document the application behaviour after executing the steps to reproduce. By providing the expected behaviour of the system under test, it gives a clear comparison as to what deviation happened which has made it a ‘bug'.

Linking Bugs:


At times you come across similar bugs but they relate to different functionalities in the application; the best way is to log them as individual bugs and link them to each other.

Author: QAInfoTech
Source: Link

What is Performance Testing Services?

What is Performance Testing Services?


One of the toughest challenges organizations face today involves achieving and maintaining their business's mission-critical applications at peak performance and scalability levels.

Without an effective methodology for predicting system behaviour and performance under real life stress conditions, they are exposed to the types of catastrophic application slowdowns and failures that cripple productivity, drive away customers and decimate the company's bottom line.

Even when poor performance gets captured in the testing phase, the solution often taken involves throwing additional hardware at the problem, a very expensive and wasteful use of financial resources. As such it becomes imperative that businesses effectively engineer their systems for peak performance.

Software Performance Testing experts assure whether a system's performance meets its goals and requirements, now and in the future. In this series of Articles on Performance Testing Services, we are going to focus on six core activities while rendering Performance Engineering. This Article talks about the most important activity, i.e. the information Gathering process.  Remain glued to this space for subsequent articles on other core services related to Performance Testing. The Articles are written by Performance Testing expert.

Performance engineers get busy very early in the project's System Development Life Cycle gathering the vital information necessary for successful performance testing of any software or application. Arguably, this information gathering phase is the most critical phase in the project for the performance engineer, as it is the foundation upon which performance tests are built. And it's a process that continues throughout the project's SDLC.


Once assigned to a project, it is important the performance engineer contact the application project manager for all available written documentation on the project. Among the documents commonly available are Requirements document, Project Plans, Specifications, Marketing material, Contracts, Staffing information, Project schedules, Budget, and so on. Such documentation is essential for the performance engineer to get a feel for the project, the effort required and possible constraints.


In conjunction with gathering the key business documents, PEs should contact the project architect and/or infrastructure folks to obtain system architecture diagrams, for both the production and the test environments. These documents will be used down the road to help identify any test environment related risk and/or constraints. Through these documents, as well as conversation with the project manager, we establish the type of Performance Testing Services required for the project. It indicates for example whether our purpose is testing for normal and peak loads for a new application, or for a new release of an existing application. This knowledge clues us as to the direction and effort needed to collect accurate data, response times, throughput and resource utilization information. Whereas such data may be readily available for an existing application, working with a new application involves estimates that must be accurately quantified if our testing is to have value.

On the other hand, some projects are designed for capacity planning purposes. Here, anticipating future increases in customers and user activity, the goal becomes finding failure points in our infrastructure and determining the necessary hardware, software and configurations need to meet these projections.

Software Performance Testing can also focus on gauging the effect of infrastructure or environment changes, to assure our applications perform according to expected requirements.Lastly, a project goal may entail addressing and resolving an already identified performance issue.Once the written documentation has been gathered and reviewed the PE is armed with enough information to meet the project team to begin the performance requirements gathering process.

The fact that we focus on Performance Engineering, and not just limit ourselves to Performance Testing Services, distinguishes  in the industry. Expert Test Engineers work closely with clients and help configure a performance testing environment that accurately simulates production. The team follows up with timely and efficient testing, monitoring, in-depth analysis and tuning recommendations. Software Performance Testing is a complete package that ensures the most cost-effective, efficient and comprehensive solution to your performance needs.

Author:QAInfoTech
Source: Link

Monday, 13 January 2014

Automation for Mobile App Testing for Increasing Productivity and Efficiency

Automation for Mobile App Testing for Increasing Productivity and Efficiency 

QA engineers often find it more challenging to test a mobile application in comparison to evaluating desktop and web application. In comparison to other applications, mobile apps also have a smaller footprint on the virtual machines. At the same time, the app needs to run flawlessly on a wide variety of mobile operating systems and devices.

Along with the performance and efficiency of the app, the testing strategy also needs to consider its hardware configuration and screen size for different handheld devices. Therefore, more and more enterprises are automating mobile app testing process to avail a number of advantages. In addition to increasing productivity and efficiency, mobile application testing automation can further reduce the testing time and cost.

Top Five Advantages of Mobile Application Testing Automation

1) Reduces Testing Time and Cost: Most organizations automate application testing to save both time and cost. Unlike to conventional and manual testing methods, the test automation tools evaluate an apps quality more rapidly and efficiently. The automated test scripts can be executed several times to identify all flaws, errors and bugs in the app. Also, the tools can evaluate each feature and functionality of the mobile application without requiring any additional time. Each enterprise has to initially invest in test automation tools and framework. But these tools can be used to evaluate mobile apps over a longer period of time, and thus get higher ROI.

2) Address Specific QA Challenges: Often QA engineers face many challenged when evaluating the quality of a mobile app. The look, feel, features and performance of the application also need to be tested for different handheld devices and operating systems. Some of the test automation tools allow QA engineers to test both native and hybrid apps without putting any extra time and effort. These tools further identify all flaws that affect the functioning of the mobile app on different operating systems.

3) Easy to Carry Out Several Tests: Unlike desktop and web applications, the mobile app must be tested by QA engineers more thoroughly. The testing professionals also have to run a variety of tests to evaluate the apps quality and performance. Along with usability, interface, compatibility, services and low level resource testing, the QA engineers also have to run operational, performance and security testing. As they have option to choose from several test automation tools, the testing professionals can carry out the required tests without any manual effort or intervention.

4) Option to Use Open Source Test Automation Tools: Often an organization has to invest some amount of time, money and effort to automate its mobile application testing. Along with hiring skilled QA engineers, it also has to buy several test automation tools according to specific needs of the project. However, each enterprise has option to choose from a number of efficient test automation tools that are open source and free. The open source tools further reduce the overall cost of automating mobile application testing. Further, the test scripts and tools can be used across different application formats, in addition to being modified easily for future projects.

5) Avail Benefits of Mobile Cloud Computing Environment: Many reports have highlighted how the web-based mobile environment provided by Cloud computing is effective in reducing overall project development time and cost. The environment further enables QA engineers to deploy, test and automate a variety of mobile applications without any hassle. At the same time, the environment is effective in meeting quality requirements, while focusing on the common challenges faced by QA engineers. As the data and test are stored on the web, the QA engineers have further option to use more efficient scripting language, access live environment through modem and bypass the network. An organization can automate mobile app testing to avail the distinct advantages of the web-based mobile environment, while meeting the latest industry standards.

However, the mobile application testing automation strategy of an organization must identify the key QA challenges like variation in mobile operating systems and devices, selection of right test automation tools, and the latest trends and standards. The right mobile application testing automation plan can further get higher ROI to the enterprise in the long run. You can hire certified automation testers from top automation testing companies India who have proven expertise of handling automation testing projects as well to save you on the time and costs.

Author: Ken Miller
Source: Link

Saturday, 11 January 2014

Controlling Development and QA Costs With Test Management Software

Controlling Development and QA Costs With Test Management Software  


Effective test management is essential for optimizing the features, functionality and quality of a software application. The process further ensures that best product is developed by deploying limited resources, while implementing smart test management practices at various stages of the project.

Many organizations, nowadays, use test management software programs to make plan and manage the testing process effectively. These programs are further effective in covering a wide variety of test activities including test planning, test authoring, test execution, test tracking and test reporting. Further, an organization can use test management software to build complex applications by deploying teams deployed across different geographical locations, while controlling both development and quality assurance (QA) cost.

Using Test Management Software to Curtail Software Development and QA Cost

1. Enhanced Software Quality:- The quality and performance of the software will have a direct impact on its popularity. So each enterprise has to deploy both manpower and resources to carry out QA activities. Some of these applications also need to be tested frequently to fix all errors, bugs and flaws through additional coding and testing. The test management software enables organizations to cover all test activities. So an organization has option to reduce operational cost by reducing manpower and resources.

2. Easy to Outsource Projects:- Most companies outsource software development and QA projects to control labour cost. The test management software makes it easier for such organizations to coordinate between the members of its distributed team residing in different location. Thus, an enterprise can easily outsource the project to a region that has favourable payroll standards. Many reports have already highlighted how test management software facilitates quality assurance efforts, and brings down QA cost.

3. Option to Hire Experienced QA Engineers:- The outcome of a software testing project is often affected by the knowledge, expertise and experience of the QA engineers. It is also important for an enterprise to hire experienced QA engineers to optimize its QA efforts. But each organization, nowadays, explores option to beat competition by cutting down project cost. That is why; most organizations hesitate to hire experienced QA engineering team to control cost. The QA management software enables companies to avail the services of an offshore team of experienced testing professionals without incurring any additional expenses.

4. Reduce Software Development Cost:- A constant increase is noted in the number of organizations adopting test driven development (TDD) approach. At the same time, many companies even automate their testing efforts to avail the Agile benefits. Each organization can use real-time test management software to release a high quality and flawless product, with reduced development time. As the tools enable developers to access the current updates, they can easily implement the coding or bug reports changes at once. Further, the most current and updated version of the software can be evaluated to identify errors in the early stages of the process. As many reports have highlighted an organization can control development cost by identifying and fixing bugs earlier in the product cycle.

5. Optimize Bug Identification Efforts:- An enterprise can get higher ROI in the long run by constantly optimizing its QA efforts. Also, each organization must use test automation tools according to specific needs of a project. The right test management software will definitely optimize the organizations bug identification efforts. The software further helps enterprises to enhance both efficiency and productivity by adopting Agile project management techniques. Similar to Agile development model, the test management software also enables QA engineers to evaluate the software early and often. Further, the test cases can be reused in future production cycles to save both time and resources.

Each enterprise has option to choose from several test management software programs. But the organization must evaluate the pros and cons of each application to ensure that it is effective in bringing down the software development and QA cost. And for this you would need to hire software testing companies who have proven expertise and experience in handling projects relevant to your business domain.

Author: Ken Miller
Source: Link