Testing Levels

28 March, 2014
There are four levels of software testing. Each level builds on the last.
  • Unit testing tests the minimal software component that can be tested.
  • Integration testing exposes defects in the interfaces and interaction between integrated components.
  • System testing tests an integrated system to verify that it meets its requirements.
  • Acceptance testing allows the end-user or customer to decide whether or not to accept the product.
    • Alpha testing is simulated or actual operational testing by potential users/customers or an independent test team at the developers’ site. Alpha testing is often employed for off-the-shelf software as a form of internal acceptance testing, before the software goes to beta testing.
    • Beta testing comes after alpha testing. Versions of the software, known as beta versions, are released to a limited audience outside of the company. The software is released to groups of people so that further testing can ensure the product has few faults or bugs. Sometimes, beta versions are made available to the open public to increase the feedback field to a maximal number of future users.

After modifying software, either for a change in functionality or to fix defects, a regression test re-runs previously passing tests on the modified software to ensure that the modifications haven't unintentionally caused a regression of previous functionality. Regression testing can be performed at any or all of the above test levels. These regression tests are often automated.

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