The debugging and testing phases are among the most delicate to perform throughout software development. They have the task of verifying the correct functioning of the code and the presence of any errors (also called bugs). Performing them in the correct way is important, but often also difficult and laborious.
Developers, however, can count on automated control software, capable of replacing the human operator in the most repetitive tests. The automation of these important processes must, however, be done with reliable tools, in order to ensure the acquisition of useful and reliable data.
Differences between debugging and software testing
Testing and debugging have two definitions that are often used as a synonym for each other, but (though interconnected) they are actually quite distinct operations.
The testing of a software consists in verifying that it meets the customer’s requirements and that it works correctly. It is at this stage that any errors are identified (which may be either syntax code syntax or incompatibility between integrated functions).
Once the anomalies have been identified, we move on to the debug or debugging operation, i.e. the phase of correcting them. Finally, to check if the changes made work, the testing is performed again.
Automating testing and debugging: why it is useful
The development of increasingly complex applications and software, which require a high degree of flexibility and scalability, involves not indifferent testing and debugging operations. Detecting errors manually between thousands of lines of code is a long job, requiring time, resources and patience.
With automation tests, on the other hand, the above operations can be performed by the machines, thus freeing developers from the burden of performing difficult and above all repetitive checks. When testing a software, in fact, many of the tests to be carried out are similar and vary only in certain aspects (such as a different operating system or different input data).
Preparing different terminals, with dozens of operators involved in testing the application in every possible scenario, would be too expensive and time-consuming for any software development company. That’s why automation is the most sensible and convenient choice.
How to automate testing and debugging
The automation of tests and debugging is carried out through special software testing programs. There are many of them on the market, but choosing the right one is not always easy and immediate. Depending on the type of application that is being developed, it may be useful to customize the testing software, to adapt it to what the developers need at that time.
This necessity underlines how important it is to choose a program that is flexible, easy to use and that allows a certain degree of integration. It is not uncommon, in fact, that developers, once the application to be tested is finished, start working on the testing software, in order to prepare it properly for the tests they need.
However, it should be noted that what has been said so far is related to waterfall development environments, where the code is written in full before being tested. Automation in Agile/DevOps models (which are based on the integration and continuous distribution of new parts of the software) is possible, but requires more specific and complex testing programs.
Automatic software, in this case, must be able to continuously perform the tests, keeping pace with the product design cycle. Choosing the right application (whether commercial or open source) is even more important to facilitate testing and debugging.