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19 February 2024

07 Min. Read

Functional Testing

What is Functional Testing? Types & Examples

What is Functional Testing? Types and Examples

Key Highlights

In this blog, we cover following key highlights:

  1. Discover how Functional testing maintains API sanity.

  2. Ensure software reliability with critical Functional testing.

  3. Explore diverse Functional testing types for comprehensive evaluation.

  4. Attain a complete assessment of UI, APIs, databases, enhancing user experience.

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What is Functional Testing?

Functional testing is a phase in software development that assesses whether a system’s functionalities meet specified requirements. This testing method validates the application’s functions by examining its input, output and overall behavior. Functional testing ensures that each component performs correctly by emphasizing the verification of specific features. It evaluates the software’s functionality against predefined specifications thus firmly establishing itself as an essential part of the quality assurance process.

The primary focus of functional testing is on the application's user interface, Application Programming Interfaces (APIs), databases, security, client/server applications, and functionality.

Various techniques like black-box testing, white-box testing, and gray-box testing are used to assess different aspects of the software. The process of functional testing involves creating test cases based on functional specifications, executing these test cases and comparing the results with expected outcomes. Functional testing uncovers defects early in the development lifecycle, reducing the overall cost of fixing issues.


Why is Functional Testing Important?

Functional testing serves as a critical mechanism to guarantee the reliability and efficacy of a software application. Functional testing ensures that the end product aligns with the intended design by systematically evaluating the software's functionalities.


  • Functional testing is so crucial because it is able to identify and rectify defects very early in the development process.


  • It helps uncover discrepancies between expected and actual outcomes through rigorous testing scenarios. This not only enhances the software quality but also reduces the likelihood of encountering critical errors in the later stages of development or during the process of deployment.


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  • It ensures that the application’s features interact cohesively, preventing potential malfunctions that could adversely impact end-users.


  • Functional testing is indispensable for delivering software that meets functional specifications and stands as proof to the performance of the application.

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Types of Functional Testing

Functional testing encompasses various types, each designed to address specific aspects of software functionality and ensure a comprehensive evaluation of the application. Let’s discuss the types of functional testing:


  • Exploratory Testing: This method relies on testers’ domain knowledge and intuition to uncover defects by involving simultaneous learning, test design and execution. This is an ideal choice for scenarios where requirements are unclear.


  • Scripted Testing: A structured approach to functional testing is created when predefined test cases are designed and executed to verify specific functionalities.


  • Regression Testing: Regression testing, an integral phase in software development, maintains the overall stability of the software. It ensures that recent code changes do not negatively impact existing functionalities.


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  • Smoke Testing: This is a preliminary check that ensures that the main functions of the application are working in accordance with expectations before a complete testing is conducted.


  • Unit Testing: Individual units of the software in isolation are tested to confirm their proper functionality.


  • Component Testing: The functionality of specific software components are assessed ensuring they operate seamlessly within the larger system.


  • Sanity Testing: This is a quick check to determine if some parts of the application are working as intended.


  • UI Testing: User interface elements are evaluated to confirm their alignment with design specifications.


  • Integration Testing: Functional testing at this level assesses the interaction between different components to verify their collaboration and interoperability with each other.


  • Acceptance Testing: The final phase of functional testing, acceptance testing ensures that the software meets the specified requirements and is ready for deployment.


  • System Testing: This testing type assesses the entire system's functionality, covering all integrated components to confirm that the software functions as a cohesive unit in diverse scenarios.


The array of functional testing types collectively ensures a thorough examination of software functionality, addressing various dimensions and complexities inherent in modern software development.


Top Functional Testing Tools in 2024

Functional testing tools automate the verification of software functions, enhance efficiency and ensure that applications work as intended. They contribute to the software development lifecycle by automating repetitive testing tasks thereby reducing human errors and expediting the testing process. They help empower organizations to conduct functional testing across different application types, ensuring the delivery of high-quality software to end-users.


We have covered both the free tools and the paid tools in the Functional testing category. The Top Functional Testing tools in 2024 to consider:

  1. HyperTest

  2. Appium

  3. Selenium

  4. Tricentis TOSCA

  5. TestComplete


Hypertest Homepage

1. HyperTest - Functional Testing Tool:

HyperTest is a potent functional testing tool, offering a simple interface and features that streamline the validation of software functionalities.


It excels in automation, allowing teams to automate repetitive tasks and execute regression tests with each code change thereby ensuring the swift identification of potential regressions and accelerating the testing process.


HyperTest auto-generates integration tests from production traffic, so you don't have to write single test cases to test your service integration. For more, read here.


appium homepage

2. Appium - Functional Testing Tool

A widely acclaimed open-source tool, Appium specializes in mobile application testing, enabling functional testing across different platforms. Its flexibility makes it a valuable asset for testing mobile applications' functionalities.


Selenium - Functional Testing Tool

3. Selenium - Functional Testing Tool

Selenium is a powerful open-source framework for automating web applications. It specialises in functional testing, providing tools and libraries for testers to create test scripts, validate functionalities and identify potential issues in web applications.


Tricentis TOSCA -  Functional Testing Tool

4. Tricentis TOSCA - Functional Testing Tool

Tricentis TOSCA is a functional testing tool, offering end-to-end testing solutions for applications. It excels in ensuring the functionality of complex enterprise systems, providing a unified platform for test automation, continuous testing, and risk-based testing.


TestComplete - Functional Testing Tool

5. TestComplete - Functional Testing Tool

TestComplete is a functional testing tool that supports a wide range of applications on the web and mobile. Organisation can use TestComplete because of its script-free automation capabilities and extensive object recognition.


Benefits of Functional Testing

It has now been firmly established that functional testing is an exceedingly critical phase in the software development lifecycle. Its main focus is on validating that an application’s features and functionalities align with the specified requirements. This strict and rigorous testing process provides a host of benefits that contribute to the success of the software. Below are some of the significant benefits offered by functional testing:


  1. Error Identification with Code Examples:

  • Before: Write unit tests for each module to catch errors early.

  • After:

# Example: Unit test in Python for a calculator's add function
import unittest
from calculator import add

class TestCalculator(unittest.TestCase):
    def test_add(self):
        self.assertEqual(add(2, 3), 5)

if __name__ == '__main__':
    unittest.main()

This approach ensures errors are identified and rectified early, reducing later costs.


2. Enhanced Software Quality through Function Verification:

  • Before: Manually verify each function against specifications.

  • After:

// Example: Jest test for verifying a user creation function
const createUser = require('./user');

test('createUser creates a user with a name', () => {
  expect(createUser('John')).toEqual({name: 'John'});
});

Functional testing like this guarantees adherence to specifications, enhancing product quality.


3. Reduced Business Risks with Scenario Testing:

  • Implement scenario-based testing to simulate real-world use cases.

  • Example:


scenarios:
  - description: "Test successful login process"
    steps:
      - visit: "/login"
      - fill: {selector: "#username", value: "testuser"}
      - fill: {selector: "#password", value: "securepassword"}
      - click: "#submit"
      - assert: {selector: "#welcome", text: "Welcome, testuser!"}

This method minimizes the risk of functional defects, protecting the business.


4. Improved User Experience via Interface Testing:

  • Conduct thorough UI tests to ensure intuitive user interaction.

  • Example:


<!-- HTML snippet for a login button -->
<button id="loginButton">Login</button>

// JavaScript test to simulate button click
document.getElementById('loginButton').click();
assert(pageContains('Welcome User'));

5. Early Defect Detection with Structured Test Cases:

  • Design detailed test cases to uncover defects early.

  • Example:


-- SQL test case for validating database entry integrity
SELECT COUNT(*) FROM users WHERE email IS NULL;
ASSERT COUNT == 0;

This structured approach to test case design and execution promotes prompt defect resolution.


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6. Accurate Requirements Verification via Test Scripts:

  • Validate that software functionalities meet detailed specifications using automated tests.

  • Example: Automated test script to verify user registration functionality aligns with requirements.


# Python test using pytest to verify user registration meets specified requirements
import requests

def test_user_registration():
    # Specification: Successful user registration should return a status code of 201 and contain a 'userId' in the response
    api_url = "https://api.example.com/register"
    user_data = {"username": "newUser", "password": "password123", "email": "user@example.com"}
    
    response = requests.post(api_url, json=user_data)
    
    assert response.status_code == 201
    assert 'userId' in response.json(), "userId is not in the response"

    # Further validation can be added here to check other aspects of the requirements,
    # such as the format of the returned userId or additional data integrity checks.

This script demonstrates a direct approach to verifying that the user registration feature of an application conforms to its specified requirements. By automating this process, developers can efficiently ensure system accuracy and alignment with documented specifications, facilitating a robust and reliable software development lifecycle.


7. Cost-Efficient Development with Pre-Deployment Testing:

  • Focus on identifying and fixing defects before deployment.

  • Example:


// JavaScript example for testing form input validation
test('email input should be valid', () => {
  const input = document.createElement('input');
  input.type = 'email';
  input.value = 'test@example.com';
  document.body.appendChild(input);
  expect(input.checkValidity()).toBe(true);
});

Early testing like this contributes to cost efficiency by avoiding post-deployment fixes.


8. Regulatory Compliance through Automated Compliance Checks:

  • Implement automated tests to ensure compliance with industry standards.

  • Example:


# Python script to check for SSL certificate validity
import ssl, socket

hostname = 'www.example.com'
ctx = ssl.create_default_context()
with ctx.wrap_socket(socket.socket(), server_hostname=hostname) as s:
    s.connect((hostname, 443))
    cert = s.getpeercert()
    print(cert)

Such testing ensures software meets regulatory and compliance requirements, critical in sensitive sectors.


The benefits of functional testing extend far beyond mere error detection. It is a prerequisite in the software development process, assuring not only the accuracy of functionalities but also enhancing the overall quality of the software.


Best Practices for Functional Testing

Adopting best practices for functional testing becomes imperative for the delivery of high-quality software. They not only enhance the efficiency of testing processes but also contribute to the success of software projects. Here are some key best practices that organizations can incorporate to optimize their functional testing tasks:


  1. Strategic Test Case Selection:

  • Test cases based on critical functionalities and potential areas of risk should be prioritised.

  • The focus should be on high-impact scenarios that align with user expectations and business objectives.

  • The coverage of different functional aspects needs to be comprehensive and complete to identify potential issues early in the development cycle.


2. Form a Dedicated Automation Team:

  • A dedicated team for automation should be established. This streamlines and enhances the efficiency of functional testing processes.

  • Automation tools to create and execute test scripts can be used thus reducing manual effort and accelerating the testing lifecycle.

  • Automation scripts should be regularly updated to align with changes in application features and functionalities.


3. Implement Data-Driven Tests:

  • Test coverage should be enhanced by implementing data-driven testing techniques, allowing for the evaluation of the application's behavior under various data sets.

  • Different combinations of input data should be used to validate the software's functionality in multiple scenarios.

  • Test data and test scripts need to be separated as this can facilitate easy maintenance and scalability of test cases.


Perform data-driven testing without the effort of creating and maintaining test data.

4. Adaptability to UI Changes:

  • Test scripts with a focus on object-oriented and modular approaches, can be designed, to enhance adaptability to UI changes.

  • Test scripts should be regularly updated and maintained to accommodate changes in the user interface, ensuring continuous test accuracy.

  • Locator strategies that can withstand UI modifications without affecting the overall testing process should be employed.


5. Frequent Testing:

  • Functional testing should be integrated into the development pipeline for continuous validation of code changes.

  • Agile methodologies should be adopted to conduct testing in short cycles, facilitating early defect detection and swift issue resolution.

  • Automated regression testing should be implemented to ensure that existing functionalities remain intact with each code iteration.


6. Testing on Real Devices and Browsers:

  • Conduct functional testing on real devices and browsers to replicate the many environments in which end-users engage with the application.

  • Ensure compatibility by validating functionalities across various platforms, browsers, and devices.

  • Use cloud-based testing platforms to access a broad spectrum of real-world testing cases.


Conclusion

Functional testing is crucial for ensuring software reliability, accuracy, and quality. It evaluates each component against specific requirements, catching defects early and improving user experience by delivering smooth interfaces and functionalities.


From unit to acceptance testing, it comprehensively assesses an application's performance. Functional testing verifies alignment with requirements, enhancing software quality and minimizing deployment risks. It's a key step in delivering dependable, user-focused software.


Interested in elevating your software's quality with functional testing? Schedule a demo with HyperTest today.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

1. What is functional testing and types with examples?

Functional testing ensures software meets requirements. Types: Unit, Integration, System, Acceptance. Example: Testing login for user authentication.

2. Which is functional testing tool?

Functional testing tools: Selenium, Appium, Selenium, Tricentis TOSCA, TestComplete.

3. What is functional testing vs manual testing?

Functional testing checks software functions; manual testing involves human execution of test cases, covering broader aspects.
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