E2E or end-to-end testing is one of the most powerful tools in your app development tool kit.
Just like a superhero, it may not always be seen, but it’s always there, saving the day and ensuring your app’s success.
You might assume that another costly round of testing on your project is superfluous and wastes too much precious time to get your app to the market. But you’re missing out on the crucial fact that E2E testing is your last sieve for bugs before your app comes to market: it keeps you from having to fix app glitches after users have already noticed them, saving you money and protecting your brand’s reputation. It’s much better to prevent potential problems before your app goes live.
Below, Dzmitry Seachouck, Lead Quality Assurance Engineer at Solvd, breaks down the nitty-gritty of how to do E2E testing based on his vast experience working on all sorts of projects for a diverse set of clients.
What is End-To-End Testing?
The E2E testing method allows engineers to cover a complete software system with tests and then check it as a whole, from start to finish. Such tests help verify if the solution under testing behaves as expected within the simulated real-world user scenarios and under standard test conditions.
Solvd engineers design tests and run them when the development stage is over, but before the product release, making sure that all of the system’s components are integrated and functioning properly. They are running E2E tests only after functional and integration testing of a newly created solution, and never before other tests or simultaneously with them.
Why is End-To-End Testing performed?
Modern mobile, cross-platform or web application architecture involves lots of components. For instance, marketplaces consist of standard architectural elements (database, server and client parts) and auxiliary elements, such as checkout, accounting, delivery, custom loyalty systems and other features. When testing an entire architecture, engineers have to use different tests. Functional testing involves verifying the functioning of individual components. Integration testing will provide insights into the work of a combination of elements. Finally, an adequate end-to-end software testing process comes like the cherry on top of this testing cake: it helps simulate the real interactions of a user with the app and test an application’s architecture from a user’s perspective.
By using end-to-end testing best practices, testers can catch any usability issues that other tests might miss. It’s like a safety net that ensures that the system is ready to face consumers in the real world. Plus, it also assures that the system is stable and reliable enough to handle anything and everything real users could throw at it.
The End-To-End Testing process step by step
E2E tests are complicated and pricey, so when you, together with your provider, plan them out, remember to initiate tests once and only after you have drawn up a clear plan that has all of the product’s features factored in.
When you’re thinking about what to test, you want to cover everything from the user interface to the database. You’ll want to test what happens when a user takes the “happy path" as well as probable cases when something takes the “sad path.” Also, you’ll have to check how the different parts of your system work together, like how your website talks to a database or an external service.
Once your provider’s team has an idea of what tests are needed for your solution, they start making a list of the different app parts that require testing and ways to achieve your business goals through E2E tests. Successful planning of E2E testing hinges on studying an app’s architecture and any relevant documentation. This planning will help identify potential problem areas and define the main focus of the tests. Planning also helps foresee probable risks or bottlenecks that could potentially slow testing down.
As soon as your provider has all of this information, the team starts breaking testing down into stages and makes a checklist of everything that needs to be tested or double-checked before launching the tests.
Researching the app’s architecture and documentation
Your business objectives, target audience and KPIs are paramount. So choose a provider who cares as much about your business success as their own, and you’ll be able to entrust their engineers and testing team to conduct E2E testing properly.
If you’re curious to look inside a tester’s mind, below are questions that professionals usually ask themselves to make the end-to-end software testing process a walk in the park:
What are the expected testing results?
What do end-users need from interaction with the app?
In what ways could the engineering team help achieve your goals?
How to verify if the goals and objectives are both viable and meet the needs of the client’s target audience?
The relevant answers facilitate project planning, designing a product and drawing up project documentation.
Building a great team and monitoring the testing processes
To foster effective collaboration and optimize your project success, your provider will assemble a diverse and savvy team that includes at least one software architect, one product manager, one business analyst and developers. These team members will have enough time allocated for regular meetings and ongoing collaboration with testing and QA specialists.
Keeping abreast of the testing process is crucial, even when working with a trusted provider. If you wish for a smooth and efficient testing process, coordinate all aspects of testing, especially when tasks are distributed among multiple testing teams. It requires a significant effort in continuous coordination. Your project manager should be fully involved in setting testing goals, planning and overseeing E2E tests. An experienced and reliable project manager will also assist you in identifying and resolving team workflow issues and unifying disparate testing processes across teams.
Considering probable risks
Professional testers stay vigilant about solution architecture and testing deadlines from the project’s start to finish. When they realize that some deadlines are impossible to meet, they will warn about the risks, pulling the project team’s attention to the fact that launching E2E tests will be tough or fall behind schedule.
For instance, the lead QA engineer on your project may detect that the development of a specific functionality will take longer than expected to finish, or they may foresee limitations in nudging a third party to move faster. He will ask for a meeting to communicate about timing because of potential bottlenecks and suggest delaying the E2E test start because the development still requires completion. In addition, with all of the potential risks identified, you can decide on the metrics for future test and reporting formats that will make progress tracking easier for you and your team.
You should always pay attention to your testers’ concerns so you can mitigate any potential risks before they occur. Don’t be misled by thinking that you have evaluated every aspect of testing and that you know the steps needed better than testers do. That’s especially true when you’re opting for E2E testing for the first time.
Identifying testing stages and completing documentation
You should have dates scheduled to start E2E tests and to finish them. Besides, you should have the project and testing goals right before your eyes in order to allocate an adequate amount of resources.
Before setting out on a testing journey, think carefully about end-to-end testing best practices, creating tests, testing strategy, and planning.
Build up your strategy based on the following pillars:
End-to-end testing methods (horizontal or vertical)
Testing objectives (primary and secondary)
Testing requirements (what tests you’re going to run and what the objectives achieve)
Probable risks and communication bottlenecks
Testing scope and what requires extra attention
Entry, suspension and exit criteria
Role definitions and tasks for all QA teams
Other matters as per your individual project’s needs
For the test planning, focus on the processes and specifics of test management:
Specific test tasks
Devices under testing and the required testing software
Testing team size and task allocation
Links to the sets of test scripts and test suites
A schedule that hinges on the development process and includes drawing up test cases, reviewing them, launching tests and fixing errors
Other matters that are relevant to your individual case
Before E2E Testing starts
The checklist below is your project saver: make sure you have every item marked as completed so as to have end-to-end tests running efficiently while consuming an optimal amount of time and resources.
The stories and epics designed for your testers have been successfully completed, which is an essential practice for agile and DevOps teams.
All forms of testing, including functional, unit, integration and regression testing, have been conducted.
Your team has meticulously reviewed, addressed, and validated all defects.
The code freeze phase has been set up.
Test scenarios have been meticulously prepared and reviewed by all relevant team members.
A test environment, along with the necessary configurations, has been set up.
All necessary devices for testing are readily available.
A detailed description for setting up valid tests has been prepared.
The current build meets the entry criteria
When E2E Testing is in progress
Your trusted QA team is who makes the real magic happen. They will use a relevant test environment provided to them and follow the required procedures to fix any defects.
QA engineers are in charge of running all the tests, and they can also find bugs or glitches and document them in tickets. They feed in test data and review all the defects and recommend which ones need to be fixed first. That is done following the process of validating fixes according to the testing process you have laid down in your testing strategy. Engineers can suspend testing if the predefined critical percentage of failed cases is reached. They can restart testing once these failures are sorted out.
Team members from other groups, like business analytics or product owners, can jump in and check how E2E tests align with the corresponding business goals. All of those working together should make sure that the results received from end-to-end testing are consistent with the overall plan.
The after-testing stage
After finishing a round of E2E testing, the QA team will provide you with a comprehensive report describing metrics and completed tasks. From this report, you can learn about problem areas that need to be solved and defects ranked by their level of severity (high, medium or low) according to the rules specified in the test strategy.
With this report in hand, you can have meetings with QAs, developers, product managers and stakeholders where you’ll be able to analyze the results of the solution thoroughly and find ways to make it live up to your users’ expectations. You’ll be able to make data-driven decisions and figure out how to make your solution second to none for your audience. Once all fixes and improvements are completed, you’ll need another round of E2E testing to make sure everything is working as it should.
Frequently Asked Questions
How long does E2E testing take?
E2E testing can take a significant amount of time. It basically depends on the size and complexity of the system under testing, the skill and experience of the testers and the amount of time available for tests.
Why does testing take so much time?
As you need to make sure that your application is fully-functional, it can be time-consuming to determine and set up the tests that your unique app requires. Analyzing and fixing errors that have been found properly also takes time.
Is end-to-end testing UAT?
No, end-to-end testing is not UAT (user acceptance testing), don’t confuse the two. UAT is a specific type of testing run by business users to verify that the system meets the requirements. While E2E testing can be run by a professional QA team in a simulated environment, UAT is normally done by users in a live environment and it also takes less time to finish.
What will I get after the tests are performed?
You will receive a report where our QA team will outline the results of the E2E tests and identify any issues they found. You, along with a savvy development team, can use this report to identify and fix glitches in the application before it gets released.
Just like a superhero, end-to-end testing protects your app and its users against potential glitches and a poor user experience. By simulating real-world usage and by testing all the different components, like the user interface, backend services and database, such tests help ensure the seamless work of all the various components together. That gives you the confidence that your app will perform at its best when it’s released, engaging a large audience and fostering user loyalty, and allow your business to grow.
You can entrust app development, automation and manual testing tasks to a reputable provider like Solvd, and remember to stay on top of the E2E testing life cycle in order to get the best results possible for your investment.