Database Testing is a type of software testing that checks the schema, tables, triggers, etc. of the database under test. It involves creating complex queries for performing the load or stress test on the database and checking its responsiveness. It checks the integrity and consistency of data. Database testing usually consists of a layered process that includes the User Interface (UI) layer, the business layer, the data access layer, and the database.
What is a Database?
A database is an organized collection of data stored and accessed electronically that is set up for easy access, management, and updating. Small databases can be stored on the file system while large databases are hosted on cloud storage.
- The database is easy to manage and access for the user.
- One can organize data in a database into tables, rows, columns, and indexes, making it easier to identify the appropriate data.
- A database is controlled by the database management system.
What is Database Testing?
Database testing is a type of software testing that checks the data integrity, consistency schema, tables, triggers, etc. It involves creating difficult queries to load and stress testing the database and reviewing its responsiveness.
- Database testing is also known as data testing or back-end testing.
- Database tester works with the application developers to properly test the scenarios in which the database is to operate.
- A database tester should be familiar with the database structure and should fully understand the business rules of the application.
- Database tests can be fully automated, fully manual, or a hybrid approach using a combination of both manual and automated processes.
Why is Database Testing Important?
Below are some of the reasons to perform database testing:
- Ensures database efficiency: Database testing helps to ensure the database’s efficiency, maximum stability, performance, and security.
- Ensures information validity: Database testing helps to ensure data values and the information received and stored in the database is valid or not.
- Helps to save data loss: Database testing helps to save data loss and saves aborted transaction data.
Differences between User-Interface Testing and Data Testing
Below are some of the differences between user interface testing and database testing:
It is also known as Front-end Testing or Graphical User Interface (GUI) Testing.
It is also known as Backend Testing or Data Testing.
Testers must have knowledge of business requirements as well as the usage of automation frameworks and tools.
Tester needs to know the database technologies like SQL.
The purpose of UI testing is to deal with the look and feel of the software application.
The purpose of database testing is to deal with data integrity, validating data duplication, etc.
UI testing includes validating text boxes, buttons, select dropdowns, the look, and feel of the application, etc.
Database testing includes validating schema, columns, database tables, etc.
- Images Displays
- navigation of pages
- buttons and calendars
- selections of DropDowns
- Storing procedures of triggers
- Validation of database servers
- Data duplications
Types of Database Testing
Database testing can be classified into three types of testing:
1. Structural Testing
Structural Database Testing is used to validate all the elements inside the data repository which are used for data storage and are not allowed to be directly accessed by end users. Different types of structural testing are:
- Schema Testing: Schema testing is also known as mapping testing and is performed to validate various types of schema formats, verify unmapped tables/ views/ columns, and provide various tools for database schema validation.
- Database Table and Column Testing: This type of testing verifies the compatibility of database fields and column mapping at the backend and the front end. It aims at detecting and validating unmapped database tables/ columns. Validates the length and naming convention of the database fields and columns.
- Database Server Validations: This validates the database server configurations, ensures that the user only performs the authorized actions, and ensures that the database server is capable of catering to the needs of the maximum number of user transactions as per the business requirement specifications.
2. Functional Testing
Functional database testing ensures that the transactions performed by the end users are consistent with the business requirements. Various types of functional testing are:
- Black Box Testing: Black box testing checks the various functionalities by verifying the integration of the database, verifying the incoming and outgoing data from the function.
- White Box Testing: White box testing deals with the internal structure of the database and requires database triggers and logical views testing which supports database refactoring.
3. Non-Functional Testing
Non-functional testing involves performing various types of testing:
- Load Testing : Load Testing is a type of Performance Testing that determines the performance of a system, software product, or software application under real-life based load conditions. Basically, load testing determines the behavior of the application when multiple users use it at the same time. It is the response of the system measured under varying load conditions. The load testing is carried out for normal and extreme load conditions.
- Stress Testing : Stress Testing is a software testing technique that determines the robustness of software by testing beyond the limits of normal operation. Stress testing is particularly important for critical software but is used for all types of software. Stress testing emphasizes robustness, availability, and error handling under a heavy load rather than what is correct behavior under normal situations. Stress testing is defined as a type of software testing that verifies the stability and reliability of the system. This test particularly determines the system on its robustness and error handling under extremely heavy load conditions.
- Security Testing : Security Testing is a type of Software Testing that uncovers vulnerabilities in the system and determines that the data and resources of the system are protected from possible intruders. It ensures that the software system and application are free from any threats or risks that can cause a loss. Security testing of any system is focused on finding all possible loopholes and weaknesses of the system that might result in the loss of information or repute of the organization. Security testing is a type of software testing that focuses on evaluating the security of a system or application.
- Usability Testing : Several tests are performed on a product before deploying it. You need to collect qualitative and quantitative data and satisfy customers’ needs with the product. A proper final report is made mentioning the changes required in the product (software). Usability Testing in software testing is a type of testing, that is done from an end user’s perspective to determine if the system is easily usable.
- Compatibility Testing : Compatibility testing is software testing which comes under the non functional testing category, and it is performed on an application to check its compatibility (running capability) on different platform/environments. This testing is done only when the application becomes stable. Means simply this compatibility test aims to check the developed software application functionality on various software, hardware platforms, network and browser etc
Database Testing Process
- Test Environment Setup : Database testing starts with setting up the testing environment for the testing process to be carried out in order to get a good quality testing process.
- Test Scenario Generation: After setting up the test environment test cases are designed for conducting the test. Test scenarios involve the different inputs and different transactions related to the database.
- Test Execution: Execution is the core phase of the testing process in which the testing is conducted. It is basically related to the execution of the test cases designed for the testing process.
- Analysis: Once the execution phase is ended then all the process and the output obtained is analyzed. It is checked whether the testing process has been conducted properly or not.
- Log Defects: Log defects are also known as report submitting. In this last phase, the tester informs the developer about the defects found in the database of the system.
Objectives of Database Testing
1. Data Mapping
- It checks whether the fields in the user interface or front-end forms are mapped consistently with the corresponding fields in the database table.
- Verifies the data that passes through and out between the applications and the backend database.
- The test engineer verifies whether the correct CRUD (Create, Retrieve, Update, and Delete) activity gets used at the backend when a specific action is done at the front end and whether the user action is effective or not.
2. ACID Properties of Transactions
Every transaction a database performs has to stick to these four properties: Atomicity, Consistency, Isolation, and Durability.
- Atomicity: This means that the database transactions are atomic i.e. if a transaction is performed on data, it should be performed entirely or should not be implemented at all. Thus, a transaction can result in either success or failure. This is also known as All-or-Nothing.
- Consistency: This means that the database state should remain valid and preserved after the transaction is completed.
- Isolation: This means that multiple transactions can be implemented all at once without impacting one another and altering the database state. The database should remain consistent even if two or more transactions occur concurrently.
- Durability: This means if a transaction is committed, it will keep the modifications without any fail irrespective of the effect of the external factors.
3. Data Integrity
- The updated and the most recent values of shared data should appear on all the forms and screens.
- The value should not be updated on one screen and display an older value on another one.
- The status should also be updated simultaneously.
- This focuses on testing the consistency and accuracy of the data stored in the database so that expected results are obtained.
4. Accuracy of Business Rules
- Complex databases lead to complicated components like relational constraints, triggers, and stored procedures.
- Hence in order for testers to come up with appropriate SQL queries to validate the complex objects.
Database Testing Components
- Transactions: Transactions mean the access and retrieval of data. Hence in order during the transaction processes the ACID properties should be followed.
- Database Schema: It is the design or the structure of the organization of the data in the database. Tools like SchemaCrawler which is a free database discovery and comprehension tool can be used or Regular expressions are also a good approach to follow.
- Triggers: When a certain event occurs in a certain table, a trigger is auto-instructed to be executed. White box testing and black box testing have their procedures and set of rules which help to precisely test the triggers.
- Stored Procedures: It is the collection of the statements or functions governing the transactions in the database. The stored procedure systems are used for multiple applications where data is kept in RDBMS. White box testing and Black box testing can be used to test the stored procedures.
- Field Constraints: Field constraints involves default values, exclusive values, and foreign key. Testing field constraints involves verifying the outcomes retrieved from the SQL commands.
How Automation can Help in Database Testing?
Automation in software testing helps to automate repetitive tasks and thus reduce manual work, thus helping test engineers to focus on more critical features. Below are some of the scenarios where automation can be helpful in database testing for test engineers:
- Frequently altering applications: In Agile methodology where there is a new release to production at the end of every sprint. But with the automation of the features which are constant in the recent sprint, test engineers can focus on new modified requirements as it takes at least 3 weeks to complete one round of testing.
- Easier to monitor variations: With an automated monitoring process, it becomes easier to find the variations where a set of data gets corrupted due to human error or other issues and fix them as soon as possible.
- Modification in database schema: Every time when database schema is modified, in-depth testing is needed to make sure that everything is working correctly. This is a time-consuming process if done manually.
Most common occurring issues during database testing
Below are some of the challenges of database testing and their solutions:
- Frequently changing database structure: The database tester needs to create test cases from the specific structure that gets modified at the time of implementation and there is a need to intercept the modification and impact of modification as early as possible.
- Time-consuming to determine transactions state: The overall planning and timing should be organized so that no extra time and cost issues appear later.
- Unwanted data modification: The best solution to this challenge is to implement access control and provide access to modify data only to a limited number of people. Access should be restricted for EDIT and DELETE operations.
- Cost and Time-consuming to get data: It is very important to maintain a balance between the project timelines, expected quality, and data load.
Myths or Misconceptions related to Database Testing
- Requires expertise: Database testing requires experts to carry out testing which makes the entire process efficient and gives long-term functional stability to the application.
- Time-consuming: The process of database testing is lengthy but it helps to enhance the database application’s overall quality.
- Adds extra work bottlenecks: Conducting database testing helps to enhance the quality and value of the overall work.
- Expensive Process: Database testing needs expenses but it is a long-term investment that leads to the long-term robustness of the application.
Database Testing Tools
Below are 5 automation tools that can be used in database testing:
1. Apache JMeter
Apache JMeter is an open-source performance testing tool that is used to test the performance of database and web applications. It can be used for load testing, stress testing, and functional testing of databases thus making them a versatile tool for database testing.
- It supports distributed testing for load testing and scalability testing.
- It supports multiple protocols like LDAP, JDBC, etc.
- It is possible to integrate Apache JMeter with other testing tools and frameworks.
DbFit is an open-source tool that helps to create and maintain automated database tests. It can be integrated with delivery tools to help automate testing.
- It supports features like version control, data-driven testing, etc.
- It is lightweight and easy to install.
- It provides a simple and easy-to-understand syntax for creating test cases.
SQLTest is a database testing tool that is designed specifically for SQL Server databases. It allows one to easily create and run automated tests.
- It supports automated testing of stored procedures, triggers, etc.
- It allows for easy sharing of test suites among the team members.
- It has a feature to get a comprehensive report after each test execution to identify issues.
Orion is an open-source tool that is used for the performance and stress testing of databases. It is primarily designed for Oracle databases.
- It supports multiple databases like Oracle, MySQL, DB2, etc.
- It offers an easy-to-use interface for test configuration and execution.
- It supports multi-threaded test case execution.
DBUnit is an open-source tool and is a JUnit extension. It provides a framework to create test data, insert test data into the database, and verify data is correct after execution.
- It is easy to set up and use and requires no special training or skills.
- It supports multiple databases like MySQL, Oracle, Postgre SQL, SQL Server, etc.
- It can be used for both unit testing and integration testing.
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