What is functional testing? What are the functional software testing best practices? Our guide discusses the differences between non-functional and functional software practices, functional testing best practices, and how to test software functionality.
Functional testing is a type of black-box testing. It answers the fundamental questions “does this actually work?” and “can the user do what we expected?” This method of software testing tests the functional requirements of an app, verifying whether the software works as per customer needs. Functional testing is not concerned with how processing occurs, but rather, with what the results of processing should be.
Functional testing checks:
There are 6 steps in the functional testing process:
So what is the difference between non-functional software testing and functional testing? The answer is relatively simple: non-functional testing is concerned with how, and function testing is concerned with what. Functional testing verifies what the system should do, and non-functional testing tests how well the system works. Functional testing is carried out to verify software actions, and non-functional testing validates the performance of the software.
Another comparison you might see when discussing this is black box testing vs white box testing. Black box testing looks at the functionality of the software without looking at the internal structures. White box testing looks at these internal structures.
Many functional tests will be designed around given requirement specifications - meeting business requirements is a vital step in designing any application. For instance, a requirement for an ecommerce website is the ability to buy goods.
A practical example of this is: when a customer checks out of a shopping basket, they should be sent to a secure payment page, then to bank security verification and then they should receive a confirmation email. Functional testing verifies that each of these steps works.
A practical example would be: checking how many people can simultaneously check out of a shopping basket.
Not every type of software test falls neatly into these two categories, however - for instance, regression testing could be considered both depending on how the tests are run.
Functional testing is essential, and when executed correctly, it can reduce the number of software bugs you encounter, and improve the experience for your customers.
As discussed, functional testing is best undertaken through a combination of manual and automation testing. The automation means that simple, repetitive tasks are thoroughly checked, whilst manual testing is great for finding those odd bugs caused by user interaction.
Whether you’re designing software, web apps, or an API, it’s important that it works. Functional testing is the key to understanding whether it does - and if it doesn’t, how to fix it.
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