Functional Testing Tools Overview
What is Functional Testing Software?
Functional testing is a step in product development where software is tested to ensure it conforms to requirements. These functional requirements are generally concerned that a product’s components (e.g. a UI element or similar) simply do what they are meant to when used normally as intended. While relatively limited (by design), functional testing tools are optimal for QA purposes.
With functional testing software, input simulating user behavior can be fed into an application. Its response, the output, can be evaluated against a predetermined requirement. The test result is simply an observation of the output compared to a requirement. The results of a functional test can usually be expressed as a simple “pass” or “fail.” But besides input/output testing, functional testing tools may also support testing overall usability of a system of components against a requirement. A unified functional testing framework provides means of testing individual components, sub-systems, or an entire chain of anticipated user actions and related processes. Functional testing tools may be triggered manually, but to provide quality assurance at speed, advanced functional testing tools provide automated testing.
Types of Functional Testing
Various kinds of functional tests provided or supported by functional testing tools are:
Unit testing of a small unit of code, or a single task within the software code. Unit tests are often automated.
Smoke testing, or alternately sanity testing. This is a preliminary test to uncover severe failures that might make more detailed or advanced process testing impossible.
Interface testing, or the process of testing a product’s graphical user interface to ensure it meets specifications, or that navigation works as designed.
System testing, or testing components working in concert within an integrated system to ensure together they behave in compliance with requirements.
Regression testing, which is designed to uncover new bugs after patches or configuration changes have been made to a system.
Functional testing is distinguished from non-functional testing by its purpose, and by a typical test result. Non-functional testing includes measuring how an application scales or performs under various scenarios (e.g. performance testing), or simply measuring how the app handles realistic or high usage volume (e.g. load testing). Rather than signaling whether or not a functional requirements of a system or sub-system has “passed” or “failed” for QA or compliance purposes, non-functional tests produce results supporting more detailed analyses and comparisons. But while these tests differ, it is not uncommon that test software vendors support all types of software testing within a single test automation tool suite purchased via single license.
Many functional testing tools are available free and open source. These tools are usually purpose built and specific to certain kinds of projects or apps (e.g. for Android apps, etc.). Open source tools may present the best option for small projects and independent developers. Also inexpensive live testing tools are available, some for $20 monthly. But functional test tools providing automation or complex multi-purpose testing are generally priced $250 monthly for short-term subscriptions, or $2000 to $3000 annually per licensed user with volume pricing available. Such high end suites support testing applications across browsers, mobile platforms, APIs, as well as ERP applications, and legacy systems. They also include load and performance testing capabilities, as well as live support. The intended users of advanced test automation suites are larger enterprises.