Functional/System testing with Visual Studio/Test Manager

If your reading this blog you likely understand what functional testing and you may use the term system testing.

Wikipedia defines these terms as:

System testing of software or hardware is testing conducted on a complete, integrated system to evaluate the system's compliance with its specified requirements. System testing falls within the scope of black box testing, and as such, should require no knowledge of the inner design of the code or logic”

Functional testing is a type of black box testing that bases its test cases on the specifications of the software component under test. Functions are tested by feeding them input and examining the output, and internal program structure is rarely considered.”

If you have read Agile Software Engineering with Visual Studio (by Sam Guckenheimer & Neno Loje) you will have heard about “reducing waste”. Identified as tasks that reduce waste are functional and system testing. These two tasks can be done during code development through unit tests reducing the cost of bug fixes, bug analysis, creating a suite of automated tests and automated regressions tests and reducing the number of people involved in testing and the bug. In some teams developers and testers have been testing the same thing one through unit tests and then again later by a testers. This is duplication of work effort that is a expensive waste.

In Visual Studio there are unit testing tools and third party add in tools that developers can use to create very robust unit tests. You maybe thinking “the developers do not test the same “stuff” that testers do”. Your right, I agree. However since the team is encouraged to make changes to reduce waste why don’t we testers help them. In Visual Studio we can create test cases that are associated to the requirement/user story work item that describes what needs tested. We can pair up with developers to help them write robust unit tests to cover all the testing including boundary, error and data testing.

There are people that believe the future of the “software testers” is about to make a big change. Testers will need to be able to write and execute unit tests themselves therefore requiring the basics of coding and the ability to add assertions (validation) to the unit tests. (Check out MSDN’s Verifying Code by Using Unit Tests topics. ) I believe this will be a reality in the future but I also believe it will evolve.  If you want to start now pair up with your developers to help them create unit tests that execute both the “happy path” and boundaries of an individual method, class or component. Help them to create system integration tests. Getting expose to how unit tests are designed and coded will help you move into the future. In addition having knowledge of what has been unit tested reduces test duplication later. TFS and Visual Studio help us with all this through work item traceability.

Example of work item traceability:


Example of a Test Case and Associated Automation:


Visual Studio has the tools that will help us move into the future with confidence and the security we’ll need. Humans in general are not adapt to change but change we must. I am one of those people that embraces change and excels in change but then I have had Visual Studio in my pocket!

- Kent Beck

The role of professional testing will inevitably change from “adult supervision” to something more closely resembling an amplifier for the communication between those who generally have a feeling for what the system must do and those who will make it do.

Kent Beck author of Test-Driven Development (Addison Wesley 2002), 86.

Visual Studio – my companion, my mentor, my stability, my aid, my reporter, my success

Testa Smile 

(stay tuned, next blog  I will show you how easy it is to create a unit test!)