In today’s time, every organization needs a business application but keeping those solutions secured for the end-users is very essential. And to avoid any security issues, testing is required. For this, software testing service providers prefer static testing. This type of testing is carried out during the early stages of the software development lifecycle. This helps in preventing errors from occurring because it is easier to identify the problem’s source and rectify it. In this blog, we will learn more about static testing, its techniques, tools, pros & cons, and tips that can help testers to understand this concept clearly and apply it.
1. What is Static Testing?
Static Testing is the most popular software testing technique. It is used by the testers to check defects in software solutions without any need of executing the code. Static testing is performed to avoid errors at an early stage of the software development life cycle. It can be done manually or through automation with the use of various software testing tools. Basically, software testing services providers use this method to detect errors that cannot be found dynamically and this helps in saving all the troubles that go behind solving any bug at the later stage of the software development process.
For more understanding, here’s tweet explaining what is static testing.
2. Why Should We Perform Static Testing?
Some of the basic and most important reasons behind performing static testing are –
- Static testing helps in improving software development productivity.
- It enables the testers to find and address bugs, structural defects, and errors early on.
- With static testing, the cost and the timeline for dynamic testing can be reduced at the later stage of the development process.
- It helps in reducing the number of defects that might be found later in the process.
3. What Do We Want to Test During Static Testing?
While carrying out static testing, the testers would prefer to test some specific areas and they are-
- Business requirement documents
- Test data
- Unit test cases
- Functional or system requirements
- Test plan strategies
- DB fields dictionary spreadsheets
- Performance test scripts/automation
- Traceability matrix documents
4. Static Testing Techniques
When it comes to performing static testing on any software solution, there are two main types of static testing, and they are –
- Review process
- Static analysis
4.1 Review Process
The main aim of the static testing review process is to remove errors from the software design. This process comes with documents like the software specification document to detect, check, and solve the errors and ambiguities. The review process of static testing is further divided into four steps:
4.1.1 Informal Reviews
Informal review in static testing is done to improve the quality of software. The software requirement specification document is shared with industry experts and reviews are collected from them. On the basis of valuable inputs provided by them, modifications will be made accordingly.
The next stage is the walkthrough review process which is carried out by an expert on the specific subject. Here the expert is responsible to review the documents in order to confirm the software feature’s feasibility and ensure that there are no issues with the functions of the system during development.
4.1.3 Peer Review
After the walkthrough review comes the peer-review process. Here the members of the internal software development team perform peer reviews. All the technical specifications requirements are reviewed in this process. This review ensures that every team member reviews the software documents properly and finds issues if there are any.
The last process in the review analysis phase is inspection. Here the reviewing of the supporting documents like software requirements specifications (SRS) is done to ensure that all the specifications are listed properly.
4.2 Static Analysis
Static analysis is a type of static testing approach that assesses the code written by programmers. This process ensures that the code of the system meets the required standard. The static analysis team reviews the code for general best practices. In this process, there the three different phases to find out the issues in the code and they are –
4.2.1 Data Flow
Data flow is an analysis process that looks at how data or information comes into the system. It checks the interactions of the system and its data experiences. Here the experts also check how the data leaves the system.
4.2.2. Control Flow
Another method to check the code is to evaluate the order of code execution statements. This process helps in knowing whether the code meets the intended behavior or not.
4.2.3 Cyclomatic Complexity
The last type of code analysis method in static testing is cyclomatic complexity. It helps in measuring the complexity of the program. This process is related to the number of independent paths in the control flow graph of the software.
5. Tools Used for Static Testing
Some of the most popular tools are –
Checkstyle is a popular tool used to maintain the quality of Java code. It is helpful in checking out every type of coding standard that is available in Java.
Some of the features of Checkstyle are –
- Identify the program methods and classes that are used to design the software.
- Verifying formatting issues and code layout.
- Checking different features of the code.
Source Github Checkstyle: Checks Java source code and other text files for adherence to a set of rules.
SourceMeter, an advanced static code analysis tool supports various languages like C, C++, Python, Java, and RPG projects. It is a tool that helps the testers to identify issues in the code.
Some of the features of SourceMeter are –
- Deep static code analysis.
- Precise coding error detection.
- Platform-independent tools.
ESLint is one of the best static testing tools that every tester uses to detect and fix problems in JS code. It supports popular coding styles such as Standard and AirBnB. This tool enables the testing team to define custom style guides that suit their own test cases.
Some of the major features of ESLint are –
- Automatic error fixing.
- Statically parse code to detect issues.
- Custom rules can be made.
6. Advantages of Static Testing
- Static testing comes with increased product quality.
- It offers deeper insight into the system.
- It helps in reducing the effort and cost of fixing bugs.
- Static testing can start early in the software development life cycle, so it is completed during the verification process and this helps in getting early feedback.
- It contributes to increasing the software quality issue awareness.
- Detects efforts at an early stage.
7. Disadvantages of Static Testing
- Static testing requires lots of documentation.
- It comes with analysis tools that are not compatible with some of the software programming languages.
- It needs many meetings and evaluations.
8. Tips for Successful Static Testing
Some of the tips for successful static testing are –
- When it comes to static testing, the experts must train the testing team members on the process, with proper examples.
- The testers must deliberately plan and track every testing activity.
- The focus of testers must be on the main things that really matter.
- There must be no delays that can cause any issues with test execution.
- The main focus while performing static testing must be to keep the process formal.
As seen in this blog, static testing is a very popular approach to checking the quality of the software and detecting any type of bugs in the source code. It is very helpful in finding issues at an early stage of the software development life cycle. It is not a substitute for a dynamic testing technique but helps in finding various types of bugs with ease. In this technique, the static testing reviews are very effective and they not only help in finding defects but also enable the developers to understand missing requirements, non-maintainable code, and design defects. This is why testers prefer static testing for checking the code thoroughly.