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Everything You Need to Know About Non-functional Testing in One Comprehensive Guide

Testing is a crucial part of every software development process as it helps to ensure that not only customer satisfaction is guaranteed, but the software itself matches all standards and requirements. While testing was traditionally limited to the functional requirements, the concept of non-functional testing has gradually come under the spotlight. Its growing importance could be attributed to the fact that modern applications and their ecosystems have both undergone drastic transformations.

Non-functional testing guide
The older applications usually used to run in closed, largely undistributed environments where everything was generally within control. However, the arrival and widespread utilization of cloud computing and microservices have changed the face of the applications and their ecosystems. Non-functional requirements (NFRs) have become as important as their functional counterparts, and the need and importance of testing these NFRs have consequently become equally important.

What is Non-Functional Testing?
Non-functional testing refers to the testing of those aspects of a software application which are not connected in any way with a defined user action or a function.

As the name suggests, it concentrates on an application’s non-functional aspects such as performance, usability, security, compatibility, and all other aspects that are not tested under functional testing. Non-functional testing is performed to verify these NFRs and if the system’s behavior is in accordance with them.

The following are some of the significant non-functional aspects of an application that are considered and tested under non-functional testing:

How does the application behave and perform under normal circumstances?
How does it behave when a large number of users log in simultaneously?
How much stress could the application handle?
How secure is the application?
Is the application robust enough to recover from a disaster?
Does the application show similar behavioral patterns in a different environment or OS?
Are the documents accompanying the application easy to understand?
The singular purpose of NFR testing is to ensure that the application works well with regards to the non-functional aspects.

Ultimately, the motive of non-functional testing is to test all characteristics of an application that would help to provide an application which meets the business expectations.

The Importance of Non-functional Testing
Consider an application that is developed and wholly tested for functional requirements, but non-functional testing is not performed. Now imagine what would happen when the application goes live and is immediately subjected to a massive load.

In the absence of non-functional testing, you would be very unsure of the application’s ability to handle massive traffic. The application may become slow or even crash in the worst case scenario. What an embarrassment that would be! In another scenario, imagine if the application is not tested for security, if that is the case then an unauthorized party could easily crack the data entered by the app users.

Non-functional testing is as important as functional testing. It ensures security and establishes the reliability of the application. It ensures that the application developed is robust enough to work under duress. The application’s compatibility with various devices, its user-friendliness, its endurance and a host of other vital parameters are established and verified through NFR testing.

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