Over the years, software programming has changed, and as a result, testing, which is an important aspect of software development, has changed as well.
It all began during the programming and debugging phases when detecting faults while debugging was regarded as testing. Testing was given its own identity in 1957 and was viewed as a distinct activity from the debugging process. Until the late 1970s, testing was regarded as a means of ensuring that software met the defined criteria. It was then expanded to discover the flaws as well as ensure the software's proper operation. In the 1980s, testing was also used as a means of determining quality. It grew in prominence as a result, and was handled as a well-defined and managed process inside the software development life cycle
For a better understanding of the software testing evolution, let us take a look at some of the crucial and defining periods separately.
1. Early stages of programming and testing
During this time, development and testing were viewed as separate tasks. When the software was finished, it was handed over to the testing team for review. During the requirement analysis phase, testers were not highly involved and had minimal interactions with business stakeholders. They were significantly dependent on knowledge passed down to them through documentation created during design and development or expertise gathered from code developers. The testing team's testing methodologies were constrained due to a lack of understanding of the customers' objectives and expectations. The testers would create a test plan based on their knowledge of the documentation and test the program on-the-fly. There were some limits, and the testing was not exhaustive.
2. Evolving to manual tеsting
Various approaches such as agile testing, exploratory testing, and others emerged in the late 1990s. Manual testing was carried out with the use of comprehensive test cases and test plans.
Exploratory testing provided people the flexibility to test and break software in their unique ways by investigating it within the scope of testing charters.
The rapid and extensive expansion of the software development process necessitated increasingly comprehensive testing methods. Agile testing's incremental and iterative methodology assisted in accomplishing this goal. The iterative testing method made it possible to automate repetitive tests.
3. The era of automatic testing
With the turn of the millennium, a slew of new methodologies emerged, completely overhauling software testing. These methods completely changed the way people approached testing. At every stage of the SDLC, testing was now considered essential. Quality assurance and control have become more important at every stage.
Testing was elevated to a new level thanks to automation. The testers were further empowered to carry out their responsibilities with increased efficiency thanks to a myriad of automated testing frameworks. Automation aided in the rapid and accurate execution of regression and sanity testing.
Scaling up the testing process was also necessary during this period. Crowdsourcing and Cloud testing let the company manage product testing at a faster pace with less infrastructure and manpower investment.
4. Continuous testing era
Customers wanted to see an intermediate functioning model of the eventual product when the business dynamics began to shift. As a result, there was an increase in demand for regular and intermediate software releases.
High connection and faster deployment and testing across different platforms were made possible by upgraded network infrastructure. This allowed for more frequent delivery, which resulted in more testing effort.
Continuous Integration and Continuous Deployment have become prominent concepts. Continuous testing has also become more important as a result of these developments.
Shorter delivery cycles have resulted from the rise of DevOps and CI/CD. Risk assessment in real-time has become increasingly important. At every level of the software development life cycle, risk assessment and management were required. Continuous testing aids in the management of such risks by identifying and resolving issues prior to each software release.
The business stakeholders expected an interim release with short deadlines and no sacrifices on the eventual product's quality. Continuous testing needs to improve its efficiency to keep up with these demands. That's where artificial intelligence comes into play in the testing process.
5. The Age of Artificial Intelligence
Simply put, Artificial Intelligence is a machine's capacity to see, analyze, and learn to imitate human behavior.
AI algorithms are based on data analysis that predicts the future. This implies that AI testing is primarily reliant on data.
Many AI-powered testing solutions are now available to assist with unit testing, API testing, UI testing, and other tasks. Visual testing is a famous illustration of how AI may be used in testing.
Within the last few years, the software sector has evolved dramatically. While it is difficult to forecast exactly what the next decade will bring, undoubtedly, as the IT sector continuously evolves, a new variety of challenges will appear, providing a whole new set of issues for quality assurance professionals to solve.
While QA professionals are sometimes overlooked, their contributions to DevOps are becoming more widely recognized. Simultaneously, testing will become endemic throughout other aspects of the software lifecycle process, with rapidly emerging technologies bringing tests within reach of a larger number of team members.