Software development companies dedicate a substantial amount of resources and manpower for the development of applications according to requirements specified by enterprises or individuals. However, subsequent to development of such applications/software, companies are required to ensure that such software/applications perform in accordance with the client’s requirements. To ensure that any and all bugs in the software are identified prior to the deployment, various testing procedures are implemented by the IT industry. The importance of this is directly related to the ability of software to measure up to its potential. If the new software is unable to perform the task it was designed for, the client might face severe losses due to stoppage of work and also adversely affect the business of the software development company. The scope of these procedures is to facilitate identification of a problem in the software, fixing of such problems is not within in the scope of software testing. Some of the leading methodologies implemented by companies in the IT industry include General, Load, Functional and Regression Testing.
This refers to the general tests carried out on software/applications to ensure the functionality of newly developed software. Some of the common tests included as part of standard Quality Assurance procedures are web performance and usability testing. The web performance testing procedure is mostly engaged in evaluating the online performance of a web-based software application or a website. Usability testing is a mainly subjective approach, which ensures that the software is capable of being utilized effectively in a given set of circumstances. The purpose is to identify the general operating capability of the software/application being tested and to help developers determine some of the areas of improvement for the software. A software development company usually performs general testing of software/applications along with other more advanced methods to ensure that the software conforms to the pre-defined operational capabilities specified by the client/user group.
The load testing procedure simulates operating conditions of the software/application during periods of higher/normal load to gauge the effect of such changes on the functioning of the software/application. This is not the same as stress testing, because load testing checks the operational capabilities in case of both normal load and high load conditions, while stress testing attempts to induce errors in normal operations by using increased system load. This is considered to be a type of non-functional testing, which is undertaken by software development companies to gauge the multi-user support capabilities of the application.
As a commonly employed practice in the software industry, its specific goals are widely disputed and the term is often utilized in conjunctions with volume, reliability, software performance and concurrency testing. By using load testing, developers can attempt to determine the reason for slow performance of software. The common reasons for such slow response commonly include load balancing between multiple servers, client-side processing, network congestion/latency, available database service and/or bugs in the application server(s) or software. The use of load testing is recommended for software/applications, which are subjected to SLA (service level agreement) for ensuring that the software is capable of supporting multiple users. As the procedure simulates an increase in system load by using multiple virtual users, various software are currently available to carry out load testing. Some of the leading load-testing tools used by developers globally are IBM Rational Performance Tester, Apache JMeter, LoadRunner etc. Additionally, a load testing tool commonly favored by software testing companies in India is available as part of the Visual Studio Ultimate Edition of Microsoft.
This type of testing is a type of black-box testing based on the specifications of the software components being tested. The functions of specific components of the software are feeding inputs and checking the output thus obtained. In functional testing, the internal structure of the program is seldom considered hence, it is classified as a type kmspico of black-box testing. The key steps involved in functional testing include identification of functions, which the software is expected to perform, creation of input data according to specifications of the identified functions, determining output based on the specifications of those functions, executing the test scenario followed by comparison of the obtained output vs. the expected output. Functional testing is not the same as system testing as system testing involves validation of a program in comparison to the published system or user requirements, whereas, functional testing is carried out by checking a program with respect to established specifications and available design documents for the software/applications.
The regression testing refers to any type of software testing, which attempts to identify bugs, which are present in either the functional or the non-functional areas of a system subsequent to making modifications such as configuration and patch changes. The key function of regression testing is to ensure that the use of a patch or upgrade does not lead to the introduction of a new bug into the existing system. Additionally, regression testing helps ensure that the changes in one section of the software do not induce changes in another part of the software’s code. Some of the commonly applied regression testing methods include the use of earlier tests to check for alterations in program operation and the search of any previously fixed bugs, which had re-emerged subsequent to introduction of the new code. Fixed bugs in software often re-emerge and regression testing is one of the leading methods to ensure that such re-emergence is identified and easily controlled before any lasting damage occurs. Software development companies repeatedly perform regression testing of software/applications after any change in coding such as use of patches etc. to ensure that the functionality of the application is unimpaired. Such repetitive testing is usually automated by using an external tool such as Bamboo, TeamCity, Jenkins, Hudson, Tinderbox or BuildBot. This type of testing is generally performed by the QA team in case of leading software development companies, however, smaller companies are often engaged in outsourcing such services to companies specializing in the field of software QA and testing.
As new technologies emerge, more testing procedures are being developed and implemented by organizations all over the world to ensure that new software perform according to their requirements and specifications even when stress or when additional functionality is introduced into the software. The emerging testing solutions, which are powered by new technology, are designed to reduce the time and resources required for testing in order to streamline the quality control / quality assurance services associated with software development. Some additional types of testing, which are currently used in the software industry are white box testing, system testing, non-functional testing, acceptance testing and integration testing. Each of these testing was developed to identify and resolve application/software limitations in a specific set of conditions; hence they are useful for software testing carried out in case of specific quality assurance and testing procedures.
Parental control software remains a useful tool to monitor your child’s online activity and at the same time block inappropriate content. The fact that you are an adult does not necessarily mean you like to view offensive content, so the software can also be utilised to block offensive content on sites you often visit. Unfortunately, with the monitoring part of the software comes an inherent security risk of sensitive information that may fall into the wrong hands.
If you want to use parental control software, you need to use it responsibly, especially if you install it on a computer that is shared by several members of your household. The trustworthy members of the family need to be aware of the software and the need to have administrator privileges to disable the software before working on the computer. Parents often forget to disable the software before doing online shopping or banking, effectively allowing the key-logger component of the software to log important information such as social security numbers, credit card numbers and passwords.
Many Internet monitoring software packages take screen shots at certain intervals to capture the contents of the screen at a specific point in time. This is also dangerous if you forget to disable the monitoring part of the software, before logging into a secure area of a website. Screen shots can be taken of sensitive information that’s normally only accessible behind a secure login area. All this information (keystrokes and screen shots) is stored on your hard drive, exposing it to possible exploits from crackers or spyware.
Well-written parental control software will obviously encrypt the information it logs, but crackers often decipher the encryption code in next to no time. The last thing you need is a spyware infection or an intruder on your system that can bypass the encryption of the parental control software. You don’t want a stranger going through your logs if you accidentally forgot to disable the software before entering sensitive information on the Internet. So the most important thing to remember is to disable the monitoring software before you use the computer and remember to enable it again when you’re done, otherwise there is no point in having the software on your computer in the first place.
Some parental control software allows you to create different profiles for different members of the family. You can for instance have a “Child” profile that blocks inappropriate content and monitors your child’s activity on the web, a “Teen” profile that does not block any content, but only monitors your child’s activity and a “Parent” profile that does not monitor your activity or block any content. The “Teen” profile can be activated when your teenager wants to use the computer, or you can activate the “Parent” profile if you are present while your children surfs the Internet. The “Child” profile should be used to limit Internet access while you are not at home to keep an eye on your children’s Internet activity.
Kaspersky Lab recently integrated a parental control module into their Internet Security suite. It does not log keystrokes or take screen shots, it only monitors HTTP traffic. To know what your child is doing on his or her computer, you only need to monitor their Internet use. It is easy to see which games they are playing and which software they are using by examining certain areas of your system, like the Program Files folder and the Add and Remove Programs section of the control panel. Clever kids will know how to wipe this information, but most programs make connections to the Internet these days, so just by examining the HTTP traffic generated by these programs, you can easily tell which programs your child is using and which websites they are visiting.
The parental control module of Kaspersky Internet Security logs all the websites visited by your children, all the remote images loaded from e-mails that they read and all the servers they connect to for online gaming and software updates. If the logs contain entries from winamp.com, then your child is probably using Winamp to play music or movies. Entries from ea.com, might indicate that your child is playing some games developed by Electronic Arts. Your children will also download software from certain sites, which will give you another indication of what kind of software they are using. The fact that the software monitors HTTP traffic, means that you are not only limited to the traffic generated by a web browser or e-mail client, it monitors all Internet activity from any application.