In the early days of the WWW era, websites were rather static and simple. Today though, many web applications are quite complicated and more so what people think of as “software.” This complexity comes with a lot of responsibility since you want your app to perform as expected and please your users. This is why proper and thorough testing practices are mandatory for releasing high-quality web apps.
Pave the Way for More Efficient Test Practices During Development
Not thinking about testing during the development process can lead to unnecessary frustrations for your testers. Because testing web applications is no longer optional, you should consider testing requirements right from your project’s start.
Here’s what you can do during development to make testing more efficient:
Leverage Your Past Experiences
Suppose you know that the component you are creating may be faulty in a particular browser if it’s not programmed in a certain way. If you share this knowledge right away and write the functionality accordingly, you can save time and headaches when testing.
Tip: Share your experience with colleagues and make comments in the code if you know about error-prone components.
Use a Solid Foundation
Reuse Code Snippets From Other Projects
If you’ve already done something, why not do the exact same thing again? By reusing previously tested code from other projects, you can save time in development and testing. Of course, you still want to write tests for these snippets, but you can expect them to be less of a problem for you.
Clean Code Saves Everyone’s Day
Writing clean code should be a no-brainer since it’s not only easier to test, but also improves your team’s productivity and motivation. If you need to work with someone else’s code, you sure don’t want to spend too much time deciphering what’s going on there. And clean code can help make it more readable and understandable.
The tricky part of achieving clean code is that every single programmer needs to contribute. A great way to improve code quality is to enforce style/code guidelines and let developers install linters in their IDEs that automatically check the written code for spelling mistakes and wrongly styled code.
Be Prepared and Identify Browsers and Devices to Test
While your web app must be all-around highly functioning, it is critical to make sure that it looks and works correctly on the many different browsers and devices, which is called cross-browser testing. After all, the interface of your web app is what users see and interact with. If you present users with a faulty UI, you may be missing out on some new loyal customers.
Before you start cross-browser testing – or any other tests that you must conduct in a browser – you first need to know where to test. For this purpose, you should work with your app’s existing analysis data and determine your users’ preferred browsers and devices. If you don’t have such data, you can find general figures and statistics on the internet.
Based on the results, you then create a matrix with the browsers to be tested, their versions, and various devices such as smartphones and tablets. Also, make sure to make this matrix an integral part of your web app test strategy and update it from time to time, so you don’t miss out on anything new!
Next, evaluate the environments in your matrix and identify the troublemakers, i.e., which are the most demanding to test on and which are more prone to errors? Make sure to test on these first and work your way up to the easier ones. If you do it the other way around, you will likely break previously working code, and then have to test everything again.
Which Test Types Should You Use?
As mentioned earlier, web apps tend to be complex and need to be thoroughly tested before you ship them to your users. Let’s take a quick look at the most essential tests you should include in your web app test strategy to produce a high-quality product your team can release with confidence:
Does your web app work as specified? You can make sure of this by performing a variety of tests:
- Unit tests in your frontend and backend code. For example: Does a specific input produce the expected output?
- Database integrity tests. For example: Do database operations such as updating or deleting rows cause unwanted side-effects?
- HTML and CSS checks. For example: Does your code comply with the W3C standard, and are your elements accessible via keyboard?
- Frontend functionality tests. For example, do forms and other elements that the user can interact with work as intended? A great tool for this kind of testing is Selenium, which you can learn more about in our webinar here.
Your team has seen your web app every day for some time now, so it’s wise to get a fresh pair of eyes involved and check your web apps’ usability. You can do this by inviting a small group of external testers that match your app’s target audience and watch them use your application. As a result, you can see what is working well and which areas still need improvement.
Most web apps get their data from the server via an API. Of course, you need to make sure that both endpoints are individually tested well, but also that the right data is being sent and retrieved. Besides, this is the perfect opportunity to review any error messages from your web application to ensure that they are accurate and understandable.
As discussed earlier, you need to make sure that your app works on different browsers, major browser versions, and your users’ favorite devices. In contrast to functional tests, cross-browser testing mainly focuses on checking whether the user is presented with a consistent experience, regardless of the technology used. Manually performing these types of tests can be tedious. However, testers can save a lot of time by creating and running automated tests with Selenium, a toolbox for browser automation.
Your users and search engines hate slow websites. Therefore, it is extremely important that you continuously try to improve the speed of your web application. However, other factors can impair the performance, which is why we recommend the following:
- Assets: Always remember to keep your pictures, videos, etc. as small as possible – compress, compress, compress!
- Backend code and database queries: Optimize your API code and database queries to keep waiting times for requests as short as possible.
- Stress tests, load tests, and capacity tests: To improve and scale your app in the future, you need to know its metrics: What is the maximum number of users who can use your app at the same time? What does it take to make the system fail? How much data can the server process at the same time?
Be sure to check out LoadNinja to get accurate load tests in just minutes, using real browsers in the cloud.
Not only finance and e-commerce web apps have to be tested for security gaps! Take extra time and let testers look for loopholes and other vulnerabilities. Pay special attention to:
- SQL Injection
- Cross-Site Scripting (XSS)
- Broken Authentication
- Cross-Site Request Forgery (CSRF)
- Components with well-known vulnerabilities
- Encryption of sensitive data
- Cookie and Session handling
As you’ve seen, there are many things to consider to ensure your web app is thoroughly tested. We recommend that you create a web app test strategy that helps you keep track of your tasks and makes testing more straightforward for the entire team.
Since testing can be quite time-consuming, you should also look for tools that can help you be more productive. Give our cross-browser test services a shot and see how we can help you deliver high-quality apps to your users more frequently.