Software testing and software development are two distinct terms in computing. They are two different and important stages in the life of a software program because they perform different functions that support the existence and efficiency of a program. It is important to define each of these terms and identify the various roles they play.
Software testing is the process of confirming the correctness, quality, and completeness of a computer software. It involves carrying out some specific activities that are designed to spot the errors in a software program so that it can be corrected before it is released and distributed to the end users.
The test helps the developers to check whether the result of the test will correspond with the expected result as well as check if the software is error free. How is this done?
To test a software, it is operated under some controlled conditions to see whether the output is the expected output, study the behavior of the program, look for errors, and check whether the software will meet the needs of the user or not.
For instance, if a program is designed to process the payroll of a company, during testing, the various stages of processing of payroll will be tested on the program. Different parameters may be tested in the program to ensure that it functions in all the areas where it is expected to be used by the end user. The program may fail or show some flaws such as inaccurate calculation or omission of some data, factors that can have serious effects on the output of the program. When this occurs, the program will be taken back to the software programmer to correct all the errors. That is the essence of software testing.
While software testing involves analyzing software program to determine its efficiency and errors in addition to evaluating some features of the software, software development refers to how the software program is developed. It is simply the process of writing a computer code and maintaining it. In a broad sense, software development involves all the developmental stages of the software from the conception of the idea to the launching of the programs.
While software development may sound simple, the process may involve an extensive research, prototyping, re-engineering, developing an extensive algorithm, drawing a flowchart, several modifications, coding for hundreds of hours, debugging both serious and minor errors, and other processes that may contribute to the existence of the software program. Software development is also called application development, enterprise application development, designing software, platform development, and the likes.
This brings out the difference in the two terms. While software development refers to all the processes that culminate in the existence of a software program, software testing is checking the software to see areas of improvement, detect potential errors, test the software for accuracy, or any other activities that will ensure the successful launching of error-free software. It is a way of finding out whether a program is functioning in conformity with the objective of the software when it was under development.
Software programs are tested by software developers who are also called programmers while a software program can be tested by a software tester, test lead, test administrator, test designer, automation tester, or manager.
Although the testing is not a part of the software development, it serves as the guide to the developer to see what can go wrong and render their efforts useless.
In essence, software development precedes software testing. Without developed software, there is nothing to be tested. On the other hand, without well-tested software, a program is nothing.