Top Test Data Generation Techniques
It is common knowledge that testing is the process of evaluating a software program’s functionality based on the availability of data. The medium through which the software’s entire functionality is tested and the necessary modifications can then be implemented is the data that is readily available for any test. However, what precisely is test data?
In layman’s terms, test data is the documented form that a software testing solution must use to verify its operation. The collection of data is what affects or is affected by a particular module’s implementation. Positive and negative test data are the two types of test data that can be categorized. For a given function, positive test data are used to verify that a particular input produces the expected result. A program’s ability to handle unusual and unexpected inputs is evaluated through negative testing.
Another important aspect of software testing is the generation of test data. It is a procedure that creates a set of data to evaluate the capabilities of new and revised software applications. This could be the actual data from the previous operations or a set of artificial data created just for this purpose.
In most cases, test data are produced in sync with the test case for which they are intended. There are multiple methods for creating test data. The following are examples of some of these:
Manual Test Data Generation
This is a straightforward method for producing test data. The generated test data is then used to test a variety of scenarios, often to cover all essential test cases. Null, valid, and invalid, data sets for performance and standard production data are all common types of test data.
The fact that this method does not necessitate the addition of any additional resources is one of the primary advantages of employing it for the production of test data. Most of the time, the testers create the test data using their skills and judgment. Nevertheless, there are certain detriments to this technique as well. Because it takes time, the method results in low productivity. Because adding more data will require many resources, it is difficult to do so. In addition, it is essential for the person entering the data to possess domain knowledge to produce error-free data.
Automated Test Data Generation
This method makes use of tools for creating data, which helps speed up the process and results in better results and more data. Selenium/Lean FT and Web services APIs are two common tools used in this method.
The high level of accuracy provided by automated test data generation is one of the main advantages. This method also results in improved output delivery speed. The fact that this method can be used during non-working hours and without human interaction is its best feature. In turn, this saves a lot of time and generates a lot of accurate data at the same time.
The high cost of using this method is the main drawback. Additionally, they are available within a particular framework, making system comprehension challenging. As a result, it becomes a legal requirement for businesses to train their employees properly and for human resources to have the necessary skills.
Back-end Data Injection
The back-end data injection technique makes use of large database-equipped servers. This is because the test data that is stored in the database can be directly updated in the existing databases, making a large amount of data quickly accessible through SQL queries. Even though this method of creating test data eliminates the need for front-end data entry, care must be taken to ensure that database relationships are not altered in any way.
The speed with which data can be injected into the system is the best feature of this method. Additionally, the person carrying out this procedure is required to have less technical expertise. Most importantly, it lets you make entries that are older than the current date, which is one of the biggest problems with using manual or automated methods to generate test data.
Yet, this strategy has its shortcomings and may lead to catastrophic results if not implemented properly. In addition, it necessitates domain expertise to accurately enter database tables and comprehend the system’s data flow or data migration testing. This technique carries an alarmingly high risk of damaging applications and databases. As a result, using this method necessitates the team having a reliable database backup.
Third-Party tools are a great way to create data and put it into the system. Because these tools know everything there is to know about the data in back-end applications, they can pump in data that is similar to what happens in real-time. As a result, it makes a large amount of diverse data accessible to the testers.
The data’s accuracy is the main advantage of using third-party tools. This is because the tools have a deep understanding of both the system and the domain. In terms of handling the backdated data fill, which enables users to perform all necessary tests on historical data, there is another advantage. In addition, these tests do not necessitate extensive domain knowledge or expertise.
The high cost of third-party tools, which can drain an organization’s budget, is a source of concern for their users. Another disadvantage is that they can only be used with a particular kind of system, which limits the users and applications they can work with.
Path-Wise Test Data Generators
They are regarded as one of the best methods for producing test data because they provide the user with a particular approach rather than multiple paths to prevent confusion. Utilizing this method enables users to predict its coverage and acquire more specific and improved knowledge. The program to be tested and the criteria for testing it, such as path coverage, statement coverage, etc., are entered by the user using this method.
Generating test data can be achieved in a variety of ways. One only needs to select the best option based on their program and requirements. This can be to the company’s advantage in many ways and result in remarkable outcomes if done correctly.