How to Ensure Quality of Test Data
- March 23, 2015
What is Test Data?
For the purpose of testing a software application; one needs to enter some data for testing most of its features. Any such data that is used in tests is known as ‘test data’. It can be of different types. It may be valid or invalid. It could be stored in any standard file formats for example XML, SQL, system test data and Stress Test data. Valid and reliable test data proves to be very helpful for achieving the quality of testing. If it is given as an input that is quite different from the business, it means that some tests are inappropriate and incorrect.
In some cases, we give multiple sets of values or data is used as input for testing the same functionality of a particular feature(s). These multiple sets of values or data are stored in a separate file which is called test data and is used whenever we want to test the application. Its also quite useful to provide this data to clients and also with the project.
Importance of Test Data
In order to find the maximum bugs in the application, it is very important to have well designed test data. If designed poorly then it may not test all the possible test scenarios and you may end up compromising on software quality despite of executing your test cycle. Well designed test data can be used along with automation test scripts as well.
What is Test Data Generation? Why test data should be created before test execution?
Test data generation is an integral part of software testing. It is the process of creating a set of data for testing the software applications. It may be the artificial data created for this purpose or the actual data that has been taken from previous operations. It could be generated in following ways:
- Mass copy of data from production to testing environment
- Mass copy of test data from legacy client systems
- Automated Test Data Generation Tools
Test data should be generated before the execution of test cases. Its creation involves a lot of steps which can be very time consuming; that’s why it may exceed your testing duration.
What is good Test Data?
The quality of your testing depends upon the quality of test data. While developing it; following points should be kept in mind:
- Give no data input and then check the output
- Give valid test data input and then check the output
- Give invalid test data input and then check the output
- Check output when it is invalid format
- Check output when it is meeting boundary value conditions
- Check output when it is qualifying your equivalence partitions
- Check output when it is meeting your state transition testing
- Check output when it is meeting with your use cases
The above mentioned test data are useful for functional or black box testing. Different software application uses a different type of test data. You may use some or all of the above mentioned creation methods. In case of complex scenarios and enterprise applications, it is best to use automated test generation tools where you can generate huge test data in little time by defining the rules. I would conclude by saying that no matter which approach you are using; you should not forget to put in much time and effort in creating test data as it really helps a lot in finding the bugs!