Testing Guides

What is End-to-End Testing?

Published on
October 19, 2022
Sneha Christall
Product Marketing Manager

This guide provides an overview of end-to-end testing, end-to-end test automation methodologies, types of end-to-end testing, benefits, and challenges, as well as end-to-end testing best practices.

End-to-End Testing- An Overview

End-to-end testing is the process of verifying the entire application from start to end, accounting for all components, subsystems, and integrations that make up the application. It is also referred to as E2E and can involve several other types of testing such as integration testing, performance testing, and usability testing. It helps ensure the functionality and performance of the entire application by simulating real-world scenarios using live data. In this manner, testers can attain high coverage with improved clarity of the application’s functions from an end-user perspective before release. 

Why End-to-End Testing?

End-to-end testing helps ensure that accurate information is relayed between multiple subcomponents of the application and that all dependencies of an application work as intended. It also helps verify the application’s backend capabilities. In cases of applications that function on the cloud, end-to-end testing becomes further essential. In terms of user experience, end-to-end testing plays a crucial role in testing the application frontend as well as compatibility across multiple browsers. 

Types of End-to-End Testing

End-to-end testing is of two types:

  1. Horizontal end-to-end testing: Horizontal end-to-end testing is the most common type of end-to-end testing. By incorporating the end-user perspective, horizontal end-to-end testing validates that the user efficiently navigates the entire system without coming across any unwanted bugs or defects. 
  1. Vertical end-to-end testing: In vertical end-to-end testing, tests are performed as per a predefined hierarchy or sequence. Each component is tested from start to end for accuracy and reliability. It is usually performed for those components of the application that do not involve the UI. 

How to Perform End-to-End Testing?

Typically, an end-to-end software testing life cycle includes the following four steps:

  1. Test Planning: In this planning phase, the test plan and objectives are defined based on the client's requirements. 
  2. Test Design: Here, the test environment is set up based on the above requirements. This phase also includes risk analysis and ensuring that necessary resources are allocated toward key test objectives. 
  3. Test Execution: In this phase, test cases are executed and progress is monitored to ensure that they are in line with the predefined test plan. 
  4. Analysis of Results: Here, test results are analyzed and reasons for test failure are identified. All results are then sent to the development team for rectification. 

Benefits of  End-to-End Testing

  • As most applications today consist of complex architecture with multiple interconnected layers, end-to-end testing helps ensure that each layer works well in isolation as well as in conjunction with each other. It also helps test integrations with third-party applications. 
  • End-to-end testing helps verify both the front-end and back-end of applications as well as cross-browser compatibility. 
  • As end-to-end tests focus on real-world scenarios, they help assure stakeholders in the business that the application is reliable and stable. 
  • End-to-end testing helps fix defects earlier on in the software development life cycle before they become costlier and more challenging to resolve. 
  • End-to-end testing also provides higher levels of test coverage as opposed to other testing methods such as unit and functional testing
  • Furthermore, end-to-end testing covers a wide range of individuals across development, QA, and management teams. 

Challenges of  End-to-End Testing

  • In order to analyze an application’s workflow, end-to-end test cases must be run in a specific sequence that matches the end user’s flow through the application. Developing test cases that match this sequence can become time-consuming. 
  • End-to-end testing involves having a clear understanding of the end user’s goals. In some cases, end-to-end testers may not have enough knowledge of the specific challenges the end user wants to resolve. 

End-to-End Testing Best Practices

  • Develop a proper sequence of testing. Unit and integration testing must be performed at the beginning in order to resolve the most apparent defects. 
  • Data flow between individual subcomponents needs to be tracked properly. 
  • Prioritize the end-user experience with due focus on those features whose failure can cause maximum issues. 
  • Ensure that setup processes are brought down to a minimum. 

How Virtuoso Performs End-to-End Testing

Learn more about Virtuoso’s end-to-end testing here

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