SaaS Testing Overview:
Before applying any testing approach, whether it’s conventional or innovative, it’s crucial to fully comprehend the specific testing technique. This understanding not only facilitates the effective use of the testing method in our application, but also maximizes the advantages obtained from the testing instrument.
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“SaaS testing” might be a term that you’re acquainted with. SaaS (Software as a Service), PaaS (Platform as a Service), and IaaS (Infrastructure as a Service) are the three categorized models of Cloud Computing. Take a look at our guide on cloud testing.
This piece of writing will tackle fundamental questions regarding SaaS testing – along with its procedures, application, challenges, and other crucial aspects.
Let’s start with a general question:
What You Will Learn:
What is SaaS?
Short for Software as a Service, SaaS enables businesses to provide software applications to users online. This eradicates the necessity for users to install and operate applications on their own devices, thus reducing costs related to hardware acquisition, setup, maintenance, and aid.
What is SaaS Testing?
With the rise of Cloud Computing, SaaS platforms have become notable for providing different services. Once the application development cycle is finished, SaaS application testing ensures that the application adheres to all necessary quality standards.
In simple terms, SaaS platform testing includes a series of verification activities aimed at assuring the quality of the software. These activities encompass performance testing, security testing, data integration testing, scalability testing, reliability testing, and more. Examples of well-known SaaS applications available online without any installation include Cisco Web Ex and Google Apps.
In the current competitive world, businesses are adopting cloud computing and opting for software delivery through SaaS models. The advantages of on-demand service and pay-per-use are the main drivers behind this transition.
Here are some reasons to consider SaaS application testing:
- Better reliability, scalability, and availability
- Decrease in the expense of software deployment and maintenance
- Efficient error recovery
- Rapid deployment and high reachability
- Pay-per-use model
- Ongoing upgrade testing when adding new users
- Reduced internal system dependencies
- Adjustability in resource scaling and pricing
- Easy access over the internet without any software installation
- Easy updates and upgrades for SaaS applications.
From the conversation above, it’s evident that SaaS application testing involves the validation of various components, including security, compatibility, and performance. SaaS testing is known for delivering quick and efficient products, but it requires detailed quality assurance at every stage.
Comparing SaaS to Traditional Testing:
While SaaS application testing shares some characteristics with traditional testing, it is generally considered more complex.
Here are some factors to support this statement:
- Products are delivered quickly, creating a need for increased focus on quality assurance
- Configurable and non-configurable elements of SaaS applications require extensive business and domain understanding
- SaaS application testers conduct extensive testing to ensure users can fully utilize the benefits of these applications
- The test environment needs to support automatic deployment, execution, and validation of the application
- SaaS testing presents advantages over traditional testing, such as lower maintenance cost, reduced risk, emphasis on innovation, pay-per-use model, and easy accessibility without software installation.
Steps for SaaS Implementation and Preferred Practices
Now that we have grasped the basics of SaaS, let’s explore the development lifecycle of SaaS applications. But first, there are significant parameters to consider when implementing SaaS.
The list below gives a better idea:
- Unambiguously define the reasons for adopting SaaS implementation in your business
- Understand your business necessities and identify objectives early for better results
- Plan and sketch the necessary steps and procedures to meet your business needs and implementation objectives
- Establish a team with developers who have in-depth knowledge of SaaS concepts and industry best practices. The team should possess expertise in multiple technologies for optimal results
- Include an IT professional on the team to ensure proper support and documentation during software service delivery
- Fully understand and agree upon the terms of the Service-Level Agreement before signing any contracts
- Consider scalability, security, network bandwidth, backup, and recovery when constructing the infrastructure
- Plan for disaster recovery to prevent application discontinuation
- Establish a customer support call center to handle queries after software service delivery.
In addition to the points above, other factors like payment criteria, trained employees, exit strategies, documentation, and more should be considered before implementing SaaS.
Understanding the SaaS Development Lifecycle:
Usually, Agile development methodology is used for SaaS development. However, the specific lifecycle might differ based on project requirements. The SaaS development lifecycle generally comprises six phases as shown in the figure:
Here are the phases with a brief explanation:
- Envisioning Phase: Identify business needs and opportunities via market analysis
- Platform Evaluation Phase: Evaluate and implement planned features (performance, security, scalability, disaster recovery, etc.)
- Planning Phase: Formalize collected information into technical specs for developers
- Subscribing Phase: Decide architect, pricing, and disaster recovery strategy for high service availability
- Developing Phase: Establish the development environment and conduct various types of testing, including load and performance testing
- Operations Phase: Deploy services and continuously update and secure the application for enhanced user experience
The explanation above provides a brief summary of the SaaS development lifecycle. Actual lifecycles might differ based on project requirements.
Getting the Focus of SaaS Testing Methodology
SaaS testing plays a central role in ensuring that applications built on this model perform as expected. Core components of SaaS testing include applications, infrastructure, and network. SaaS testing focuses on various key areas:
Here are some of these areas:
- White box and black box testing as part of component testing
- Functional testing to rigorously check whether the application meets the requirements
- Integration testing to ensure seamless integration with other systems
- Exploratory testing for new test cases
- Network security, threat, integrity, and accessibility testing as part of infrastructure and security testing
- Quality testing of SaaS connectivity and user interface portability and compatibility
- Regression testing for any upgrades, releases, or data migration in the application
- Reliability testing to reduce the risk of failure during real-time deployment
- Comprehensive network security testing
- Performance and scalability testing to validate application behavior under heavy loads in different environments
- Compatibility testing across different browsers for different users
- Continuous upgrade testing for SaaS applications introducing new features or updates
- API testing to ensure functionality, security, completeness, and performance of documentation
- Operational testing for customer support, payment, and billing processes.
While SaaS applications offer numerous benefits, they also come with their own set of challenges. Due to direct internet access by customers, security is a major concern. Despite the challenges, businesses continue to adopt SaaS applications because of their advantages.
Challenges in SaaS Application Testing
Although challenges may vary depending on the project, some common difficulties in SaaS application testing include:
- Frequent upgrades and releases within short timeframes, allowing limited time for testing application validity and security
- Inadequate validation of backend components associated with the application’s user interface
- Managing privacy and preventing exchange of customer data with different user behaviors simultaneously
- Identifying highly accessed areas for performance testing with a large number of users from different locations
- Maintaining privacy and data integrity during integration and migration of SaaS applications
- Testing all licensing factors, including usage, number of users, and functionality, with new releases
- Lack of standardization in SaaS applications.
To tackle these challenges, consider the following steps. Keep in mind that these steps may vary based on project requirements:
- Automate scripts to address frequent upgrade challenges
- Identify frequently accessed areas in the application to focus performance testing when time is limited
- Employ strong encryption for data security during integration
SaaS applications are increasingly popular, and SaaS testing is known for delivering high-quality applications.
Best Practices for Testing SaaS-Based Platforms
After understanding the challenges, let’s look at some best practices for testing SaaS-based applications:
- Enhance SaaS testing efforts by observing various organizational patterns
- Utilize powerful hardware applications to assess application performance under additional resources
- Ensure full access to testing requirements for SaaS applications
- Periodically test application performance by increasing workload with concurrent users from multiple environments
- Develop a test plan based on the testing requirements specification
- Regularly check for security concerns, especially during integration and migration.
Compared to traditional methods, SaaS models have shorter testing duration, leading to the elimination of certain testing elements. Employing agile methodologies and automation testing tools can help overcome these challenges.
Tools for SaaS Testing
In addition to fundamental testing elements like functional, performance, and unit testing, SaaS testing also encompasses application security considerations. Here’s a brief overview of some SaaS testing tools:
This testing tool offers end-to-end test solutions and allows users to control development and testing processes. Key features of PractiTest include:
- Effective communication with organizational stakeholders at various levels
- Management of projects, testing processes, and information
- Continuous project status updates
- Efficient communication with other stakeholders.
qTest is a cloud-based test management tool used for seamless communication and scalable test management solutions. Its main features include:
- Easy learning curve and coordination across multiple locations
- Possibility to add notes and create detailed defect sheets
- Free trial with simple sharing options
- Efficient project planning and management of schedules, test cases, and results
- Dashboard for project progress, queries, and helpful reports.
QMetry acts as an interface that links project requirements to test cases and defects. This ensures end-to-end coverage of project progress and traceability. Key features of QMetry include:
- Flexibility to use older test cases when requirements change
- Real-time editing of test cases during execution
- Defect management with links to avoid duplicate logging
This is just a brief overview of each tool. Each tool has more features and capabilities that can be explored individually.
This article has covered various aspects of SaaS testing. With the growth of cloud testing, people have gained valuable insights into different aspects and challenges of SaaS testing.
About the author: This is a guest post by Sushma S., a Senior Software Test Engineer in an MNC.
Feel free to share your comments or queries.