What is End to End Testing & Why is it Important?

End to End Testing

What is End to End testing?

End-to-end (E2E) testing is a software testing method that examines an application’s entire flow, in real-world user scenarios. It ensures all components work together as intended, by validating the application’s functionality from a user’s perspective. The purpose of end-to-end testing is to uncover any errors or problems that could occur as various components of the application communicate with one another. 

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Imagine testing a shopping website. E2E testing would go beyond checking if you can add items to a cart. It would simulate the entire purchase process, from browsing products and logging in to secure payment and order confirmation. This approach helps detect issues that might arise when various parts of the application interact. This is exactly where E2E  testing fits in the picture. 

This type of testing covers all layers of the application stack, including the user interface, business logic, data persistence, and external integrations. By identifying and addressing issues related to system integration, data integrity, and user experience, end-to-end testing helps ensure the reliability, stability, and performance of the software before it is deployed to production environments. Additionally, it provides stakeholders with confidence in the system’s ability to meet business requirements and deliver value to end-users.

Why is End to End (E2E) Testing Important?

E2E testing is an integrated test run that has to happen before the product is certified to be released to the customers. It is necessary to make sure the sub processes or individual functionalities fit into the bigger picture and deliver a hassle free experience for the end-user. E2E testing provides a holistic approach in validating an application’s functionality from the user’s view point.

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End-to-end testing is most effective when it is integrated into the development process, providing a strong validation mechanism at key points.  Let us try to understand this through an example. Consider a scenario where a user wants to watch a movie on an OTT app. For this to happen, we see that most of the applications will have the following flow and each of these steps are dependent on the previous one to work fine.

  • Login: The test begins with a user logging into the OTT app using their valid credentials. This verifies successful login functionality.
  • Browse Content: The user browses the library using various methods like browsing categories, searching for specific titles, or using the “Continue Watching” row. This ensures smooth navigation, search functionality, and content loading.
  • Movie Selection: The user selects a movie to watch. The test verifies that movie details like synopsis, cast, and trailer load correctly.
  • Playback: The user starts watching the movie. This tests video playback functionality, including smooth streaming, subtitles, and the ability to adjust playback settings.
  • Continue Watching: After watching for some time, the user pauses playback and exits the app. The test verifies that the app remembers the user’s progress and the movie appears in the “Continue Watching” section when the app is reopened.

This is just a sample flow that covers the most basic functionality an OTT application is expected to deliver. Further functionalities can be added to this flow in order to have a wider test coverage. For example, downloading content, multi-profile support, parental controls, network connectivity issue handling, content missing error handling, and so on and so forth.

By performing all these E2E test scenarios, the OTT Platform can deliver a robust, bug-free application to the end-users. This sort of testing can be performed once all the features of the product are individually tested and are integrated. Considering the Software Development Life Cycle (SDLC), End to End testing can be performed after the development phase is completed for that particular iteration and before the software is released to the end-users. This serves as a gateway that ensures confidence in the product’s reliability and behaviors. 

Next, let’s look at the different types of end to end testing based on certain categories as defined below.c

Different Types of End to End Testing

There are two main ways to categorize E2E testing approaches: by focus and by automation level. Let’s break it down:

1. By Focus:

Horizontal E2E Testing: This approach focuses on testing a broad user journey across various functionalities. Think of it as testing the entire checkout process on an e-commerce website, from browsing products to placing an order and receiving confirmation.

Vertical E2E Testing: This method goes deeper, concentrating on a specific feature or functionality and making sure all its underlying components work seamlessly together. For example, on the same e-commerce website, vertical E2E testing might solely focus on the functionality of the shopping cart, checking if items are added, removed, and quantities are adjusted correctly.

2. By Automation Level:

Manual E2E Testing: This traditional approach involves a human tester manually navigating through the application, simulating user journeys, and noting any issues encountered. Although it takes time, manual testing can be valuable for exploratory testing or tasks that require human judgment.

Automated E2E Testing: This method utilizes automation tools and frameworks to script user actions and automate test execution. It allows for faster and more repetitive testing, which is ideal for regression testing or ensuring core functionalities remain intact after code changes.

Learn more about this through this blog on Automated End to End testing.

How to Perform End to End Testing?

End-to-end (E2E) testing goes beyond individual components testing in software development, ensuring a seamless user experience from start to finish. Below mentioned steps explains how to perform End to End testing:

E2E Testing Process

Test Planning

  • Before writing your test cases, define the scope for end-to-end testing.  Identify the essential features and functionalities you need to test, along with the user journeys and interactions you want to validate. Don’t forget to consider any risks and dependencies that may impact your testing process. Defining your test scope will help you focus on testing the most crucial aspects of your system while avoiding unnecessary scenarios.
  • Create a dedicated testing environment that closely resembles the production setup. This ensures that tests reflect real-world conditions.
  • Select End to End testing tools like Selenium, Cypress, or Appium based on your application’s technology stack and requirements.

Designing  and Developing Test Cases

  • Once you define your scope, design and develop your test cases using the user requirements and specifications as a guide. A well-crafted test case should include a concise and descriptive title, a list of preconditions and assumptions, a series of steps to follow, and an anticipated outcome or result. Additionally, make sure to incorporate any necessary data, parameters, or variables for your test case. The key to a well-designed test case is that it should be straightforward to comprehend, execute, and update.
  • Focus on core functionalities and high-impact user journeys first. This ensures that critical areas are thoroughly tested within time constraints.

Test Analysis and Execution

  • Run your test cases manually or utilize automation tools for execution. Automating your test cases can help you save time and effort, while also boosting the reliability and consistency of your end-to-end testing process.
  • It’s important to have a strategy for when and how you run your test cases. You can choose to run them before or after each deployment, on a scheduled basis, or on demand. Additionally, it’s crucial to have a strategy for monitoring your test cases. This can involve using dashboards, reports, or alerts to keep track of their progress. By regularly running and monitoring your test cases, you can ensure that your system is functioning properly and address any problems or bugs that arise.

Continuous Improvement

  • Update and refine your test cases as the application evolves to reflect changes and new functionalities. Consider integrating E2E tests into your Continuous Integration and Delivery (CI/CD) pipeline. This allows for automated testing with every code – commit or build, catching issues early on.
  • Continuously learn from test results and adapt your E2E testing strategy to better address user needs.

By sticking to these guidelines and continuously improving your methods, you can effectively conduct end-to-end testing and ensure your software provides a smooth and user-friendly experience. Remember, end-to-end testing is an ongoing journey, not a final destination. It’s a process that adapts alongside your software, ensuring its quality and user satisfaction.

Test Scenario for End to End Browser Testing

Consider a mobile application that helps users search for jobs, manage applications, and connect with potential employers.

Objective:

Perform comprehensive end-to-end (E2E) testing to ensure a seamless user experience for all functionalities within the app.

Scope:

  • User Registration and Login (including social media login)
  • Job Search Functionality (filters, location, keywords)
  • Job Details Display (accurate information, clear formatting)
  • Application Process (resume upload, cover letter composition)
  • Saved Jobs Management (adding, removing, organizing)
  • Notifications and Alerts (new job matches, application updates)
  • Messaging with Employers (in-app chat functionalities)

Testing Devices and Platforms:

  • Android (various popular models and Android versions)
  • iOS (various popular iPhone and iPad models, current and previous iOS versions)

Test Scenarios

Successful User Journey: A user registers, creates a profile, searches for jobs, applies for a position, saves interesting opportunities, receives notifications, and starts a conversation with an employer.

Negative Testing: Test scenarios with invalid data entry, missing information, network connectivity issues, server errors, and unexpected app behavior.

Accessibility Testing: Ensure the app is accessible for users with disabilities (screen reader compatibility, text size adjustments, color contrast).

Performance Testing: Analyze app loading times, responsiveness, and battery consumption under different user loads.

Deliverables: 

  • Detailed test reports documenting all executed test cases, including passed and failed scenarios with screenshots and logs.
  • Bug reports with clear descriptions of identified issues, steps to reproduce, and severity levels.

Expected Skills:

  • Experience with mobile app testing methodologies
  • Knowledge of E2E testing principles
  • Familiarity with Android and/or iOS testing frameworks
  • Excellent communication and reporting skills

By conducting thorough E2E testing, we can ensure that this application offers a user-friendly and reliable platform for job seekers to find their dream jobs. Early identification and resolution of bugs will minimize app crashes, improve user satisfaction, and enhance the application reputation in the market.

This was a manual approach. If you wish to learn how to automate end to end testing test cases, take a look at this blog.

Unlike many other testing approaches, there are a few well known open source frameworks which perform end to end testing. Below section talks about the popular frameworks used for E2E testing.

End to End Testing Frameworks

The world of E2E testing offers a vast array of tools and frameworks to conquer the user journey. Here’s a breakdown of some popular options to consider for your testing needs:

Selenium: A pioneer in the E2E testing arena, Selenium boasts wide browser support and language bindings for various programming languages like Java, Python, C#, etc. Its flexibility allows for both manual and automated testing, making it a versatile choice.

Cypress: This modern framework focuses on front-end testing, particularly web applications. Cypress offers a user-friendly interface, built-in waiting mechanisms, and a visual debugger – streamlining the testing process.

Appium: Designed for mobile app testing, Appium leverages Selenium’s core functionalities to automate interactions across various mobile platforms (iOS, Android, etc.). It allows you to test native, hybrid, and web mobile apps using a single framework.

These are a few frameworks that are popular in the industry today. Now, let’s see some best practices that are essential to be followed for end to end testing.


Best Practices for End-to-end Testing

End-to-end (E2E) testing plays a vital role in ensuring your software functions seamlessly from a user’s perspective. Here are some key best practices to follow for effective E2E testing:

  • Always prioritize the user’s perspective. Focus on testing real-world user journeys and functionalities they’ll encounter most frequently.
  • Define the scope of your End to End testing based on critical features and user workflows. This ensures efficient use of resources.
  • Set up a dedicated testing environment that closely resembles the production setup. This minimizes surprises when deploying the software.
  • Write clear, concise, and easy-to-understand test cases. Use descriptive names and steps to facilitate future updates and collaboration.
  • Automate repetitive and time-consuming test cases using a chosen End to End testing framework. This frees up time for more exploratory testing.
  • Monitor test execution, record results, and generate comprehensive reports for future reference. This aids in identifying trends and analyzing test effectiveness.
  • Integrate security considerations into your E2E testing strategy. Simulate potential attacks and identify vulnerabilities before deployment.
  • Every testing cycle offers valuable insights. Analyze results, identify areas for improvement, and adapt your End to End testing strategy for better coverage and efficiency.

End to End testing is a journey, not a destination. By following these best practices and continuously refining your approach, you can ensure your software delivers a flawless user experience from start to finish. With this, now let’s see how TestGrid comes into the picture of End to End testing.

TestGrid: Breaking the Complexity of Testing

TestGrid specializes in low-code automation solutions and provides a range of features to streamline end-to-end testing processes, especially for teams with varying coding skills. Let’s take a closer look at some of their main functions:

TestGrid Logo

Simplified Test Creation:

  • No need to write code for automated test cases with TestGrid, making test automation accessible to testers with limited programming experience.
  • A visual interface replaces complex scripting languages, allowing users to record actions, interact with screen elements, and define assertions visually.
  • Break tests into reusable components for different scenarios, promoting code reusability, reducing maintenance, and enhancing efficiency.

Enhanced Efficiency and Maintainability:

  • Use external data sources for dynamic test cases, improving coverage and reducing manual test creation.
  • Run multiple tests simultaneously for faster testing, especially useful for large test suites or regression cycles.
  • Integration with popular DevOps tools and CI/CD pipelines automated test execution, catching issues early in development.

Additional Capabilities:

  • TestGrid offers functionalities for both web and mobile app testing, providing a comprehensive solution for validating applications across platforms.
  • AI-powered healing features automatically suggest fixes for failing tests, saving valuable time.
  • TestGrid is a key component in automating End to End tests, but it’s just one piece of the puzzle. Here’s how it all comes together:

TestGrid in End to End Testing Strategy

Before diving into TestGrid, it’s important to plan and design your testing strategy. This involves outlining what you want to test, prioritizing user journeys, and setting up the necessary testing environment. Once you’re ready to start developing tests, TestGrid makes it easy to create clear and maintainable test cases that can be easily updated as needed.

When it comes to executing tests and analyzing results, TestGrid streamlines the process. However, it’s still important to investigate any failures, pinpoint root causes, and refine tests for optimal performance.

In the end, TestGrid serves as a valuable tool for E2E testing by simplifying automation, boosting efficiency, and enabling user-centric testing through visual aids.

Sign up for free and check TestGrid today or book a demo to get an in-depth walkthrough of  100+ features.