All You Need to Know About Computer Aided Software Testing (CAST)
With almost everything transitioning to an automated system, it is no surprise that even programs are tested using another software program.
But is this move a reliable, seamless, and efficient step toward identifying opportunities and faults? Find out more today!
Computer-aided software testing: a Simple definition of CAST
Computer-aided software testing (CAST) refers to the use of software tools that automate the process of software testing. The term 'software testing' is generally used interchangeably with the term "software quality assurance" or "software quality control". Any kind of automated test can be classified as a CAST test, although there are other types of testing.
Computer Assisted Software Testing (CAST) has become a popular alternative to manual testing. CAST tools are used to automate the process of testing software application to save time and money. These automated tools can help developers test their web applications without having to invest in human resources or spend too much time on each application.
What are CAST tools?
In a nutshell, CAST is a computer software application that tests other software programs. It is never intended to replace manual testing but to complement and work with the tests and analysis that software testers, quality analysts, and software engineers have carried out.
A CAST will check the code of the software and then delve into possible errors to apply a fix in the programming code.
The purpose of a CAST tool is to isolate required functionality, test it, and check it for defects. A CAST tool can be used in conjunction with manual testing and can also replace it in some cases. CAST tools are intended to be used as a complement to manual testing, not as an alternative. They can automate the tedious parts of manual testing and provide results that are useful for decision making. For example, if you are using CAST software and discover a bug in your web application, you can immediately start fixing it and submit the patched version back to your clients.
CAST tools have become very popular because they speed up development time and reduce costs. Manually testing every application is not only labour-intensive but also expensive as one needs to hire software testers. CAST tools allow software engineers to save both time and money by automating the software testing process, which eventually helps them to get more done for less money.
Nowadays, Software development companies are highly adopting automated testing tools in order to provide a quality products to the customers. To ensure seamless and efficient execution of test cases, a software engineer can use these testing tools.
Software testing tools can be categorized into the following types:
Functional testing tools: These tool types help QA teams test the functionalities of testing software applications. Functional testing tools include requirement testing tools, code reviews, regression testing tools, and test design tools.
Non-functional testing tools: These types of tool categories help QA teams perform non-functional tests like load testing, performance testing, security testing, etc. Non-functional testing tools include static analysis tools, static analysis tools, character-based testing tools, UI testing tools, test data preparation tools, performance testing tools and GUI testing tools.
Manual testing is a time consuming and laborious process. It is also an expensive one. So, to reduce manual efforts and time, automation testing tools are used in the industry.
Following are some of the advantages of using automated testing tools
Automated testing tools help teams to organize their work effectively and create a better workflow. The automated tests can be run at any time with just one click on the button. This increases the efficiency and productivity of the teams as well as reduces costs.
Less Human Errors
Automated tests cannot make mistakes as any human tester can do while executing the test cases manually. These tools record all the steps executed, including every input and output, displayed at all times during execution. If there is any bug or error, it can be traced easily with all the details available in a test report.
Execute Tests Faster
Using automation frameworks, Software engineers can execute tests much faster than manual tests which require more time for execution. With automation tools, one can execute hundreds or thousands of tests within the same amount of time that it would take to execute manual tests.
Types of Computer-aided software testing Tools
- Requirements testing tools – They identify the requirements of testing software applications, including the functional and technical requirements. Such tools also analyze requirements, define scope and traceability, etc.
- Regression testing tools – They are used to test the software components that have been modified, to ensure that they work as expected.
- Test design tools – help in the creation of test cases and test scripts.
- Static analysis (also called static code analysis or SAST) tools – automatically analyze the source code against a defined rule set. These tools are often used as part of a CI/CD process, to prevent code containing known security vulnerabilities from being deployed in production.
- Character-based testing tools – check whether character-related functionalities like sorting, aligning, printing, etc., are working as expected.
- UI testing tools – checks whether the UI (User Interface) of an application is working fine or not. These tools can be used for checking buttons and links on web pages, verifying whether an API call is returning the correct response or not, etc.
- Test data preparation tools – These tools help in creating test data for automation testing by populating databases with required records or files with the required content.
- Performance testing tools – They measure the performance of an application under load against various parameters like: response time of an application, and stability of an application on different operating system platforms.
- Dynamic analysis tools – These tools analyze the software during execution or a program’s run-time behavior. The results of testing through dynamic analysis tools are generally presented in the form of tables, graphs, and charts that help testers and developers visualize the behavior of an application.
- Comparison tool – These tools compare files, folders, databases, source code, and other data to find differences between them.
- Debugging tool – Debugging is a process that involves the detection and removal of errors from a program’s source code. Debugging tools help with these processes by enabling programmers to find errors in their code and then fix them.
- Functional testing tool – Functional testing is an important part of software verification and validation processes and aims to ensure that the program functions as expected by comparing its actual output with the expected output.
What are examples of CAST tools?
A wide range of CAST tools defines this kind of software. Here are some of the most commonly used today:
1. Requirement Testing Tools
These provide in-depth support in validating the requirements of the software.
2. Graphical User Interface (GUI) Testing Tools
Designed to capture the overall interaction needed from the user, the GUI testing tool will log the standard number of clicks to get from one link to another and other keyboard activities while the software is in beta mode.
3. Dynamic Analysis Tools
This is designed to provide runtime information while the software is being used or executed.
4. Debugging Testing Tools
Programmers rely heavily on these tools to detect bugs and how they impact the program's overall performance. These tools also help programmers proactively see possible system failures and apply timely intervention.
5. Comparison Testing Tools
These tools compare the actual result with the perceived and expected result, so modifications can be made as needed.
How Do CAST Tools Work?
For many businesses, computer-aided software testing is an essential part of the development process. By using automated test cases, developers can create standardized tests that will be run each time any changes are made to an application's codebase. These types of tests help developers avoid problems like untested code and broken features when applications reach the point where they need to be released to users.
What are CASE tools and why they are important in the software development process?
CASE tools are important for the management of software development projects. They provide the project manager with a way to manage not just the development process but also the people that are involved in it. Case tools can be classed into categories such as; software design tools, requirement-analysis tools, code-generation tools, document product tools, etc.
A computer aided software engineering tool helps to keep track of how much time is being spent on each task. This helps to identify where improvements can be made, and where the project development team should be focusing on. The best advantage that comes with CASE tools is that they are completely automated. This means that developers do not need to spend hours manually entering data into them. Instead, they automatically update everything for the entire development process.
CASE tools provide software project managers with an efficient means for tracking changes and bugs in the code that a team is working on. This can make it much easier for a software development team to identify potential problems before they become serious ones, and ensure that the developers can focus on fixing these problems rather than trying to figure out what went wrong in the first place.
How Businesses can benefit from using computer aided software testing tools (CAST)
Computer-aided software testing (CAST) tools provide ways to help businesses test software. Businesses can use CAST tools to make sure their software is working properly and meets the needs of users.
Businesses can benefit from using CAST tools in the following multiple ways.
- The ability to write tests at the same time as coding
- The ability to write tests that are easy to understand and maintain
- More efficient test runs through automation
- A reduction in errors due to manual data entry, more efficient testing and more accurate results
- An increase in productivity thanks to easier testing and a faster pace of development.
How businesses and companies benefit from Software quality assurance
Software quality assurance is a particularly important part of the development process at most companies. The way we do things today is different from what it used to be even a few years ago.
In the past, software testing service and quality assurance were often viewed as an afterthought in the product development process. They were often seen as a separate department, with different goals and priorities than the rest of the organization. This separation only added to the disconnect between developers and testers, often leading to a situation where testers were left out of the loop or left to deal with rushed quality assurance processes that did not allow them to do their job effectively.
This approach is no longer effective in today's highly competitive business environment where speed, innovation and customer experience are important factors when it comes to success in software development. As we've seen from recent studies and surveys, there are several advantages that companies gain from investing in quality assurance processes.
For most businesses, the modern IT landscape is a nightmare. There's the ever-present threat of hackers and data breaches, not to mention dealing with the constant changes in technology that have to be implemented across all departments. For companies that have legacy applications that are built on older software platforms, this can be an even bigger problem. They need to keep their existing infrastructure working or risk losing market share from dissatisfied customers or being exposed to cybercriminals looking for an easy mark. However, businesses that are willing to take the plunge and invest in computer-aided software testing tools will reap many benefits from doing so, including increased productivity and reduced costs.
Computer aided software testing tools help software development managers and the development management team to:
- Increase team productivity and quality of work.
- Manage changes in a better way and control change impact on software quality.
- Reduce project risk with proactive & predictive quality assurance programs.
- Incorporate best practices into the software testing process through automated testing tools.
- Provide real-time visibility into the latest test results, broken down by project phase, application and test type so that they can track all progress against the project plan in real-time.
- Cope up with the changing business priorities & release schedules by leveraging automation to reduce the amount of manual effort required to verify each build.
- Assigning tasks and managing resources – these tools often assign tasks to testers, and track who is working on what task, and their progress. Managers need to assign complex projects to individual coders so they know exactly who is responsible for what tasks. A computer aided software testing tool makes it easy to assign tasks and monitor progress throughout the day, so managers know exactly what’s going on at all times.
- Raise defects – allowing testers to raise defects from within the tool provides a central repository for all problems. Software development team managers can also track which tester raised the defect, when it was raised, and who is dealing with it.
- Track test coverage – being able to see which tests have been run against certain pieces of code helps Software development team managers to ensure that they are covering everything that needs to be tested.
- Report on progress – this is where management often get their information from, the ability to generate reports on progress is essential to every Software development team manager. They can set up alerts in case there are any problems with code or if the project seems like it’s going off track. This enables managers to take action before it becomes too late or too expensive to do so.
What are the advantages of CAST?
Lesser Errors As A Result Of Manual Testing
With CAST, human errors are lessened, and should there be a need to double-check the output, CAST programs keep track of all input and output, so finding the cause of the error and applying the necessary fix takes less effort.
There's no need to hunt for where the error is because it's just a matter of going to that particular line of code and making adjustments.
Efficient And Time-Saving Process
Manual checking can be tedious and time-consuming. CAST can complete an entire day's worth of work in minutes. This means your team can attend to other tasks while the CAST works in the background.
Back then, a team would have to invest a day or two in debugging and applying the fix. With CAST, errors can be corrected in a matter of minutes.
A streamlined process can ensure that everything gets noticed regarding the effectiveness, functionality, and overall quality of the software program being tested. Sure, manual checking also has its checklist, but it's so easy to skip a few or miss a syntax by accident. CAST can make sure that a detailed workflow is followed every time.
What are the limitations of CAST?
Continuous Maintenance And Improvement
There will come a time when your existing CAST is no longer suitable for newly released software. For this reason, you need to constantly update and maintain your CAST, ensuring that new releases will be able to keep you from losing any data.
Vulnerable To Certain Elements
Power outages, hacking, and viruses can render your CAST vulnerable, regardless of whether it's the best and most updated program. When any of these happen, your CAST is as good as nothing. Understand and work within the limitations of your CAST.
Dependent On Fed Input And Expectations
When testing, humans rely on their experience and awareness of the expected result. They brainstorm while testing what can be done to improve the software. On the other hand, CAST depends entirely on the data you feed it and will only provide suggestions by the end of the testing if it meets your expected results numerically.
It doesn't offer you recommendations and flexibility while testing or provide possible setbacks during the process. You will only find out that there are opportunities when it doesn't meet your expectations or targets.
By no means is CAST cheap, and the expenses don't end with acquiring the software for your business or organization because there are plenty of other costs, like upgrades and maintenance, that you need to be prepared for, especially after your contract.
Where can CAST be used?
1. Load Testing
When businesses and organizations launch new software or application, they must be sure that the software can handle the load. This may pertain to the number of users currently using the app, all the submitted requests that need to be processed, and the delivery of output as expected within the target time.
This is where CAST comes into play because it can test the load capacity, monitor the response time, and challenge and determine the maximum capacity a new program can withstand and process.
2. Regression Testing
CAST systems can also be used when new codes or updates to the existing software are applied and ensure that they will have minimal to zero impact on the working elements of the system.
This is a huge advantage over manual monitoring, which is repetitive. It allows for focusing on just the newly incorporated changes instead of going line by line when it comes to the codes.
Where can CAST not be used?
1. User Experience Tests
These are tests where the end-user needs to respond or provide feedback on the app’s overall functionality and feedback on its ease of use.
2. Tests With No Final Result
CASTs need to have an expected output as a reference and baseline, so without one, there’s no point in using this software.
Hands down, for the last two decades, CAST has paved the way for growth and more opportunities in software development.
CAST has become a game changer in software development because it continuously challenges software development teams to create a program that will increase productivity and boost work quality.
Through CAST, software development has more control over managing the tentative impact and comes up with action in real time to reduce any possible risks.
This software promotes a streamlined structure that ensures every software program released is of the highest quality without compromising everyone's time, effort, and sanity.