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How Good or Bad Is Negative Testing?

by Ellora Sarkar

posted in Computers and Technology

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Nowadays each IT company has to deliver high quality software applications to retain clients in the longer run. So most companies deploy seasoned QA professionals to verify and validate the software thoroughly to ensure that it is working according to the client's requirements and expectations. While assessing the software, the testers have to test it from a positive as well as negative point of mind. That is why; the QA professionals have to perform both positive and negative testing to assess the quality of the software more effectively.
As the name indicates, positive testing is performed to verify and validate the software based on valid input data. While performing positive testing, the testers focus on the behaviour of the application based on expected inputs. On the other hand, negative testing is performed using invalid input data. While performing this type of testing, QA professionals have to check how the software behaves with negative or unintentional user input. Thus, the primary objective of negative testing is check if the software shows errors when it is not supposed to, and does not show errors when it is supposed to.
Negative testing can be described more effectively through an example. For instance, the software has a field that is required to accept only integer value. So the testers have to perform negative testing to check if the application shows a validation error message each time users enter a non-integer fields. The testers have to assess the software behaviour of the software by entering invalid or negative inputs like alphabets and special characters. Thus, negative testing helps QA professionals to identify if the application is crashing under different situations.
Common Negative Testing Scenarios
• Both desktop and web applications include fields marked as required. So the testers need to assess the application's behaviour when the required field is empty. They can simply display a message box to the user, and compel him not to leave the required field empty. They can perform negative testing to ensure that the application responds correctly when the required field is empty.
• Most software applications accept user inputs through forms or dialog boxes. The controls allow users to submit a variety of data including text, numeric and date. So the testers have to perform testing using inappropriate input to ensure that the user input perfectly complements the field type. They can assess a date field by entering "02/30/2015" or validate an age field by entering "abc".
• The applications also contain fields that need to accept user input up to a particular limit. For instance, a textbox accepting the user's age must not accept 220 or -10. So the QA must test the performance of the application by entering invalid data into such fields.
• Some applications even require integer fields to accept data in certain range. For instance, a website may allow users to enter numbers in a specific field ranging from 10 to 100. To assess the applications behaviour accurately, the testers have to enter numbers less than 10 or more than 100. They can write invalid inputs to ensure that the users are not allowed to enter numbers less than 10 and more than 100.
• Sometimes developers have to restrict the size or length of user input. For instance, they have to create fields to accept user's name with a specific number of characters. In such scenarios, the QA professionals have to perform negative testing to assess the software's behaviour when the number of characters into the field by a user exceeds the allowed limit.
• Some websites provide information only to registered users. So each user needs to login before accessing any internal web page. The testers have to perform this alternative testing to ensure that the web pages cannot be accessed by random visitors.
On the whole, negative testing and positive testing complement each other. The QA professionals must perform negative testing to enhance test coverage and find more bugs in the application. The testing will further help the enterprise to deliver a more reliable and stable software application that does not crash under different situations. However, negative testing must be performed once positive testing is completed, but before the software goes live.
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