Performance and functional testing are specific ways of testing the effectiveness of software, usually in the software development stage. Both are important for businesses who are having software designed to meet specific needs because it is important to know if the software being designed will be able to meet the demands of the business. Software company Starbase states that the point of functional testing is to find out if there are any differences between the how the software has actually been implemented and its functional specification, in other words, the point is to test whether or not the software does what it was designed for in the first place. Performance testing on the other hand looks at specific performance issues such as how the software performs under stress to help identify any bottlenecks to prevent future down time.
There are five steps in functional testing. These steps are as follows:
- First the functions that the software is expected to perform must be clearly identified and highlighted.
- Information created based on these specifications.
- The output required based on the specifications is determined.
- The test is implemented.
- Actual outputs are compared to expected outputs.
There are several types of performance testing, including load testing, spike testing and endurance testing. Load testing involves testing a system under a specific load to see how its performance is affected. This could involve a set number of users all using the system simultaneously inputting a certain number of transactions. This test can identify potential bottlenecks in the system. A bottleneck is any situation where a limited number of resources can affect the performance of an entire system. Spike testing involves pushing the system to its limits to see if the system will fail, cope with the sudden increase in usage or if performance of the system suffers at all. Endurance testing is done to see if the system can continue to function under the expected load that it is likely to be put under. Any leaks can be identified as well as potential performance degradation.
In a world where businesses increasingly rely on technology to run efficiently and generate maximum profits, it is important that any software used is reliable and that it performs the specific function that it was designed to perform.
With regard to function, if software does not do what it was designed to do, this can have serious ramifications for your business. Apart from anything else, for many businesses, the function of the software may have legal ramifications, which are crucial to the business. For other businesses, they may be willing to accept a certain level of function failures in the short term as long as ultimately, the software does the basics of what they want.
Any reduction in performance of software can lead to serious problems, which can affect productivity, customer satisfaction, create a backlog of work and ultimately profitability. Depending on the size of your business and how serious the problem was, this can also generate unwanted negative press attention, which can also negatively impact on profitability. For this reason, thorough testing is imperative. However, it is important to consult with a professional who knows what they are doing.