Best Practises for Web Application Testing

You’re about to launch a web application, and you know that testing is essential to avoid being one of the 75% of web applications with critical vulnerabilities. So, where do you even start? First, define your testing objectives and allocate resources effectively. Next, choose the right tools for automation and scripting, and don’t forget to test for security and performance. Prioritise critical issues and refine your approach as you go. Remember, testing is an ongoing process, not a one-time event. And, trust us, you’ve only scratched the surface – now it’s time to plunge into and get your hands dirty.

Key Takeaways

• Establish clear test objectives to ensure focussed efforts and allocate resources effectively, avoiding aimless testing.• Choose the right testing tools, considering factors like scalability, features, and pricing, to maximise testing efficiency.• Automate repetitive testing tasks to reduce manual effort, increase testing efficiency, and reduce time spent.• Perform regular vulnerability assessments and penetration testing to identify potential security weaknesses and prioritise critical issues.• Continuously iterate and refine testing strategy as the application evolves, adopting an agile methodology to ensure ongoing testing and improvement.

Understand Your Testing Objectives

Before you dive headfirst into the world of web application testing, define what you’re trying to achieve – what’re you testing for, and what do you hope to gain from the process?

It’s easy to get caught up in the excitement of testing, but without clear objectives, you’ll end up wandering aimlessly in the wilderness of bugs and errors.

So, take a step back and ask yourself: what’re the business requirements that need to be met? What’re the stakeholder expectations that need to be fulfilled?

Are you testing for functionality, performance, or security? Are you trying to confirm compliance with industry regulations or simply improve user experience?

The answers to these questions will shape your testing strategy and help you allocate resources more effectively.

Don’t be that tester who’s just throwing darts at a board, hoping to hit something.

Be the one who knows exactly what they’re aiming for. By understanding your testing objectives, you’ll be able to prioritise your efforts, focus on high-impact areas, and deliver results that matter.

So, take the time to define your goals, and the rest of the testing process will fall into place.

Choose the Right Testing Tools

Now that you’ve got a clear idea of what you’re testing for, it’s time to arm yourself with the right tools for the job – and trust us, you don’t want to be stuck with a Swiss Army knife when you need a precision scalpel.

You’re about to venture on a quest to find the perfect testing tools, but before you start, remember that not all tools are created equal. You need factors like Tool Integration, Vender Evaluation, and scalability in mind.

  • Verify vender claims: Don’t take venders at their word. Dig deeper and verify their claims through demos, trials, or even pilots.

  • Assess tool integration: Will your new tool play nicely with your existing tech stack? Make sure to investigate integration options and potential roadblocks.

  • Think about scalability: Will your tool of choice grow with your testing needs? Make certain it can handle increased traffic, users, or data without breaking a sweat.

Develop a Comprehensive Test Plan

Now that you’ve got your testing tools in place, it’s time to get down to business and develop a thorough test plan.

You’ll need to define the scope of your testing, outlining exactly what aspects of your web application you’ll be putting through their paces.

Next, you’ll set up a test environment that mimics real-world conditions, so you can see how your app performs under pressure.

Test Scope Definition

When crafting a thorough test plan, you’ll need to define the test scope to verify you’re covering all the necessary bases, and that means identifying what to test, how to test it, and what to leave out of the equation.

Think of it like a recipe for your web application testing: you need to know what ingredients to use, how to mix them together, and what to leave on the shelf.

Business Requirements: What’re the must-haves for your web application? What features or functionalities are crucial to its success? Make sure you’re testing those thoroughly.

Technical Boundaries: What’re the technical limitations of your application? What’re the potential bottlenecks or areas of high risk? Identify those technical boundaries and prioritise your testing accordingly.

Scope Exclusions: What can you reasonably leave out of the testing equation? Are there certain features or functionalities that are nice-to-haves but not essential? Be honest with yourself – if it’s not critical, it might be okay to leave it out.

Test Environment Setup

You’ve got your test scope defined, and now it’s time to build a playground for your web application to frolic in – aka setting up a test environment that’s as robust as your testing plan. Think of it as a digital sandbox where your app can get its feet dirty without causing any real-world chaos.

For a solid test environment setup, you’ll need to ponder a few vital factors.

First, decide on the infrastructure: will you go for Virtual Machines (VMs) or Cloud Infrastructure? VMs provide a self-contained environment, while cloud infrastructure offers scalability and flexibility. Whichever you choose, verify it mirrors your production environment as closely as possible.

Next, think about the tools and software you’ll need to support your testing. This might include browsers, devices, and any specialised software required for your app.

Don’t forget to configure your network and security settings to mimic real-world conditions. By setting up an exhaustive test environment, you’ll be able to identify and squash those pesky bugs before they wreak havoc on your users.

Test for Security and Performance

Get ready to rip your web application apart, because testing for security and performance is where the gloves come off. You’ve set up your test environment, now it’s time to put your app through the wringer. This is where you find out if your app can withstand the digital equivalent of a zombi apocalypse.

Security is a top priority, and you should be performing regular vulnerability assessments to identify potential weaknesses. This involves penetration testing, where you simulate a cyber attack on your own app to see how it holds up. Yes, it’s a bit like hiring a team of digital ninjas to try and break in, but trust us, it’s necessary.

Use the right tools: There are plenty of free and open-source tools available for vulnerability assessments and penetration testing. Do your research and find the ones that work best for you.

Test for performance under load: Don’t just test your app when it’s idle – see how it performs when it’s under heavy load. This will give you a better idea of how it will hold up in the real world.

Test for security from the inside out: Don’t just focus on external threats – make sure you’re also testing for internal vulnerabilities, like what happens if an authorised user tries to access sensitive data.

Iterate and Refine Your Approach

Now that you’ve put your web app through the wringer, it’s time to refine your testing approach, because let’s face it, your app is probably still a hot mess.

But don’t worry, that’s what iteration is for!

As you analyse the results of your testing, you’ll likely identify areas that require more attention. This is where Risk Analysis comes in – prioritise the most critical issues and tackle them first.

Remember, not all bugs are created equal, and you need to allocate your resources wisely.

In an Agile Methodology, testing is an ongoing process, not a one-time event. As your app evolves, so should your testing approach.

Continuously refine your strategy based on new insights and lessons learnt. Don’t be afraid to pivot or adjust your approach as needed – it’s better to adapt than to stick with a flawed plan.

Think of testing as a continuous loop: test, refine, repeat.

With each iteration, you’ll get closer to a more stable, secure, and high-performing web app.

Automate Whenever Possible

You’re probably tyred of manually testing the same scenarios over and over, and who can blame you?

It’s time to automate whenever possible, and that means getting familiar with test automation tools, scripting test cases, and reducing manual effort – because let’s be real, your time is better spent on more exciting things than repetitive testing.

Test Automation Tools

When it comes to testing, your time is better spent sipping coffee and letting automated tools do the heavy lifting, rather than manually banging your head against a wall of repetitive tasks. Automation is key to efficient testing, and the right tools can make all the difference.

Some exceptional test automation tools include:

  • Selenium Framework: A popular open-source tool for automating web browsers, perfect for testing web applications. Its flexibility and customisation options make it a favourite amongst testers.

  • Cloud Integration: Leverage the power of cloud-based testing with tools like Sauce Labs or BrowserStack, which offer scalable and on-demand testing infrastructure.

  • TestComplete: A commercial tool that supports a wide range of applications, including web, mobile, and desktop, with advanced features like AI-powered testing and robust reporting.

Explore these premium test automation tools.

Scripting Test Cases

With your arsenal of automation tools locked and loaded, it’s time to script those test cases and let the robots do the tedious work for you. You’ve got the perfect opportunity to automate the repetitive tasks that drive you nuts. Scripting test cases is all about making your life easier and freeing up your time for more exciting things… like actual testing.

As you start scripting, remember that test data is key. You’ll want to create realistic scenarios that mimic real-user interactions. Think about it, if your test data is weak, your test results will be too. Make sure you’ve got a solid understanding of your application’s requirements and that your test data reflects that.

Now, script reusability is key to maximising your effort. Design your scripts to be modular and reusable. This way, you can use them across multiple test scenarios, saving you time and energy in the long run.

Reducing Manual Effort

Manual testing is a necessary evil, but let’s be real, it’s about as exciting as watching paint dry – so automate whenever possible to free yourself from the drudgery. You didn’t become a tester to spend your days clicking buttons and filling out forms, did you?

By automating repetitive tasks, you can focus on more strategic activities that add real value to your organisation.

To get started, perform an effort analysis to identify tasks that consume the most time and resources. Then, prioritise those tasks for automation.

Automate data-driven tests: Use tools like Selenium or Appium to automate tests that require large datasets or repetitive inputs.

Automate regression testing: Use automation to verify that changes to your application haven’t broken existing functionality.

Automate smoke testing: Write automated tests to quickly verify that critical functionality is working as expected.


You’ve made it to the finish line!

Now, go forth and conquer the wild west of web application testing.

Remember, a solid testing strategy is like a trusty compass – it keeps you on course, even when the terrain gets rocky.

By following these best practises, you’ll be well-equipped to navigate the twists and turns of testing, and emerge victorious with a robust, secure, and high-performing web app.

Contact us to discuss our services now!

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