Software Testing: Learn about End-to-End Testing

  • August 19, 2021

Nowadays, no company that takes its work seriously would launch an application or a new program to the market without performing the proper software testing. And although there is any number of types of testing, today we will be talking about end-to-end testing.

End-to-end testing is just one of the many ways to test software. It might even be the most important way in the world of software testing, although it often requires more time and resources. Fortunately, there are ways to automate end-to-end testing.


What is end-to-end Testing within Software Testing?

Typically, end-to-end testing is the process of testing a piece of software from start to finish as it will be used by real users. For a web application, you launch a browser, navigate to the correct URL, use the application as intended, and verify the behavior. For a desktop application, you must launch the application, use it, and verify its behavior as well.

Whatever your piece of software, the idea of software testing is to run the application with all its dependencies: database, external services, metrics, logging, etc. This can still be in a test environment, separate from the production environment.

As you may have noticed we start by saying “usually” and we mean that it may not always be possible to run the application without real side effects, even in an isolated test environment. This may be the case when external dependencies only exist in the production environment.


Why is end-to-end testing necessary in Software Testing?

The software can and should be tested at many levels. At the lowest level, we have unit testing. This is where programmers write a small path to test that what they are doing is correct. All these small paths together will form the application.

However, just verifying that all those little pieces work is not enough. It does not ensure that they work together correctly. This is where integration testing comes in. In integration testing, you use two or more components together in a test and verify the result.

But even if all these tests run perfectly, you may still have bugs or unmet requirements.

First of all, if you have a user interface, unit and integration tests do not cover the user interface. Is the user interface structured correctly? Is it a pleasant experience? Are all the required elements in place? Can the user achieve what they want to achieve? These types of questions can only be answered through end-to-end testing offered by software testing.
A second reason why end-to-end testing is necessary is that there are so many moving parts in modern software: servers can make applications behave differently, the configuration must be set up correctly, and external dependencies influence our application. Testing separate components will not cover all of this.
Does this mean that unit and integration tests are worthless? Definitely not. Unit, integration, and end-to-end testing play an important role in an overall testing strategy.