No organization would release any application without testing it. Testing brings confidence in an application’s build by promising that every line of code, each feature on the website, and every flow works smoothly and as intended.
In this comprehensive guide, we will clarify our understanding of what end-to-end tests are, why it is needed, how they work, the checklist for this testing and the benefits the automation testing provides other than just saving time and resources.
There are various ways to test an application each with its own purpose that covers specific aspects of the application. End-to-end testing is one such way that is often favored by developers over all others. It plays an important part in application development and is a determining factor of application Quality Assurance. It is a testing technique that allows tests of an application’s workflow from beginning to end in real user scenarios.
End-to-end testing might be the most important way of testing, but most often it is a time and resource-intensive one. Luckily, there are ways to automate end-to-end tests.
End To End Testing
End-to-end (E2E) testing is a testing method that tests an application’s flow from beginning to end. End-to-end testing aims at simulating a real-user scenario and validating that the application is working sufficiently throughout the testing process. It also checks the integration of the application dependencies to make sure that the data integrity and overall integration work together as expected.
By replicating the actions an actual user would take, the test helps to evaluate whether the results confirm the requirements or expected outcome. Testing a user experience includes, paying for a service on a website, doing registration on a website, or using features.
Essentially, the test goes through the application each operation to test the application in a test environment which ideally represents the production environment. This is to ensure how the application communicates with hardware, network connectivity, external dependencies, databases, API services, and other applications. E2E testing is performed after functional and system testing is complete.
End to End testing balances with other forms of testing like unit testing, system testing, and functional testing to provide additional coverage and verify the application as a whole. E2E Testing also known as Chain Testing is usually executed after functional and System Testing.
In addition, end-to-end testing is often discussed with two other popular testing types: unit testing and integration testing.
Unit testing aims at the smallest components of an application, such as testing an API endpoint, testing a function, etc. Though unit testing allows focusing on these components, it is important for the tester to ensure that all the pieces are working together.
Ensuring that the pieces work together properly is a goal of integration testing. Integration testing does not cover everything, it just helps to ensure the reliability of the application. Because of not knowing how the application works for the end user, end-to-end tests are needed.
Why End-to-End Testing
Applications these days are highly complex and interconnected with multiple subsystems. Even if a single system fails, it would fail the entire software. End to End Testing can increase the coverage of our testing as it checks the entire flow including all the subsystems similar to the user environment.
Every application the programmers develop they create into smaller units and test it, and then they interconnect and integrate those smaller units with multiple systems and databases outside its environment. That makes the app’s workflow reasonably complicated.
End-to-end testing in application testing checks the entire flow including all the subsystems similar to the real user environment. End-to-end testing helps determine if various dependencies of an application are working accurately. It also helps to detect issues and reduces application failures by checking if accurate information is being communicated between multiple system components.
End-to-end testing reduces the risk by-
- Verifying the database and backend layer of the application.
- Interacting with different layers of the architecture and verifying the overall functionality.
- Increasing the test coverage and scope of the application.
- Executing repeatable tests at different points and processes in the application.
- Involving the front end in the testing ensures a better user experience across multiple devices, platforms and environments.
E2E Testing Checklist
End-to-end testing is not just about testing the user interface, there are many pieces to test that make up a user interface, the frontend design, the database, and the API must be tested separately and together.
Below are some checklists to be followed during End to End testing.
- Database- First the database of the application needs to be tested. Testing is to be performed to ensure that data are stored and organized properly, can be read, and updated correctly when necessary.
- Performance- A webpage may navigate correctly but for proper user experience speed also counts. Hence, it is important to check the performance of a page or feature in terms of speed. This ensures that it provides a uniform, seamless user experience while navigating.
- Security- Web application security is an essential component. Testing the security of the application determines how secure an application is for both the user and the organization. Vulnerability testing tools and other security testing techniques are especially important in this case.
- Functionality- Testing the functionality of the application as a whole is the main reason for testing in the first place. It is important to ensure that all features function as expected. Unit tests can also be used here.
- Usability- As components are functional, they should be usable too. So make sure to test events like clicks on elements, proper navigation, and so on. So that users find all the components of the application as part of a typical user flow, simple and easy to use.
When to perform End-to-End Testing
- End to End Testing can be performed when the system is stable.
- It can be executed at any point of time in the testing process to verify the integration.
- It is performed after system testing when all the components are integrated.
- Usually preferred during regression when there is an incremental feature already existing in the application.
Benefits of End-To-End Testing
Conducting end-to-end testing helps to ensure that the application is bug-free and ready to release. This testing is essential to the application’s success since it employs a full-stack testing methodology, and acts as a verification step for the overall business logic and workflow of the application
Below are some of the benefits it provides to organizations in terms of overall application quality, workflow optimization, and efficient operation.
- End-to-end testing confirms application health by validating that it is functional at every level from the front to back end and on multiple systems. Also, it provides an outlook on the application’s performance across different environments.
- Incorporating many different sub-systems in the testing process, can effectively expand test coverage and create additional test cases that may not have been considered previously.
- In end-to-end testing, the application is usually tested after every iteration, which means that finding and fixing issues will be faster. This will also increase applications productivity because the chances of bugs creeping into the further testing process are reduced. Thus ensuring the application workflows operate seamlessly.
- It tests the application with the user’s perspective in mind, and issues present in the application are highlighted as a whole. It ensures that each functionality works together and not individually.
- Comprehensive testing each step of the way, fewer bugs, breakdowns, and end-to-end testing will decrease the need to repeat tests, and eventually, the costs and time associated with it.
Challenges in End-to-End Testing
End to End testing is a useful form of testing but successfully carrying out this testing and detecting bugs in a complex workflow entails challenges. Below are some common challenges that come with E2E testing.
Creating a workflow is challenging in end-to-end testing because the application has much functionality. Since an application is a combination of third-party systems, subsystems, and APIs, it may result in creating and running thousands of test cases.
Another challenge is getting access to a test environment similar to production is not easy and is also not always available for testing. Several elements need to be set up to reflect it as a replica of a real user environment, like logging into virtual machines, real devices, and system updates that might interrupt test execution.
End to End testing is an incremental process and the most important challenge with this is dealing with long-term test maintenance demands. Whenever a new feature gets added to it, it means the longer the test flows, the higher the number of test steps. And over time the need to keep up with many potential UI changes and add new sets without disrupting the existing ones can be difficult. Also, long-term maintenance makes it a time-consuming and effort-heavy responsibility.
Since end-to-end covers the entire stack and tests each functionality of the application, the run time for the test can be long compared to other testing techniques that only test isolated components of the application. In the world of continuous constant feedback, slow test run time can negatively affect the efficiency of the development and testing team.
End-to-end testing is incredibly complex because it involves the entire workflow, finding out all the dependencies, and mimicking the actual user interactions. One day if the test runs properly, the other day the test might fail. Because it validates different parts of the application, and it is difficult to isolate the problem. As a result, test cases replicating real user scenarios can become unstable due to the complex nature of actual usage scenarios.
Perform end-to-end testing using LambdaTest
End-to-end testing is a non-negotiable part of the testing pipeline. It needs to be planned from the earliest stages, and invest time, effort, and resources in it so that the user does not have to face not any unnecessary disruption in their experience.
To overcome the above challenges and reap all the benefits the best way is to access an ideal test environment that is to test on a real device cloud. If in-house devices labs are not possible, use a cloud platform like LambdaTest that offers a cloud Selenium grid of more than 3000 real devices, browsers, and operating systems with respective versions for testing purposes. It provides access to a device that users will use to navigate the app and ensure that the app functions flawlessly in real user conditions.
LambdaTest is a leading testing platform built in the cloud. It is a cross-browser compatibility testing platform that is used for testing web and mobile applications both manually and automated. It helps to access the cloud for end-to-end testing without making it complicated, and it lets you execute tests in real, virtual devices simultaneously. One of the core features it provides is the recorder that records the test movement in the application which reduces the hassle of creating a good user journey.
Testing on the LambdaTest platform will give you a lot of privileges and plugins to other systems, you can also communicate with a third party about our testing needs.