Testing Web Applications – Best Practices

Web app testing should be thorough, in order to avoid troubleshooting at a later stage. You need to choose the right methodology and practices during the testing of your web apps depending upon the developmental parameters and application characteristics. For instance – for a banking web app, security takes precedence over usability while with commercial web apps, reliability and availability are the key requirements. The following are the best practices for testing or debugging web apps –

Interface Testing – Interface testing is a must for web apps that are going to work on a variety of platforms. The data flow between modules should be smooth and interfaces should be backward compatible while accommodating to frequent component changes at the same time.

• Functional Testing – This testing targets the reliability of individual functions. For invalid inputs, the error messages should be appropriate and prompt, and boundary conditions must be tested in the test cases. Functional testing for web apps includes flow testing, compatibility testing, configuration testing and database testing. It can be as simple as testing whether all the links are functional to something as complicated as reflection of user made webpage changes on the database.

• Security Testing – For web apps where modifications and data leaks are the main areas to counter, security testing is the most important part of testing. Authorization and authentication mechanisms for these web apps need to be extremely efficient and effective. This testing can be dynamic – running the app and checking its response – or static – simple code analysis.

• Performance Testing – Various scenarios need to be considered for performance testing of a web app. This would include stress testing to gauge the maximum performance limits, scalability testing to determine application adaptability to software or hardware changes, and load testing to check performance under heavy load.

• Usability Testing – The user interface is tested in this phase, making sure that the accessibility standards are being followed. Web navigation, site map, color combinations, over-crowded content issues, user friendliness, et al are tested in this phase.

• User Acceptance Testing – Is your web app ready to go live and be used effectively by a user? This is what this phase of testing focusses on. It checks proper data feeding controls, field widths and time outs, mandatory fields, and browser compatibility. It would involve alpha and beta testing as well.

Various testing tools are used in the process of web app testing like RFT, JSpec RhinoUnit, Dojo Testing, Adobe Flex, et al.