Testing and Debugging are two words that seem to share a similar meaning, but they are very different from each other. They have a quite analogous function, however, they are different in their designs, specifications, execution, and benefits.
In this article, we will do a detailed analysis and comparison of these two techniques that will allow us to differentiate both of them properly.
- What is Testing and How it is different from Debugging?
- What is Debugging?
- What are the Differences between Testing and Debugging?
- How to optimize the debugging process?
What is Testing and how it is different from Debugging?
Testing is a process to verify whether the system is working in the same way as it was supposed to be and to ensure that the software is Defect-free. The tester does this to identify the errors/bugs in the system. It can be done manually as well as through automation.
After a program is diagnosed with a bug or error, the developer identifies the corresponding failure and fix it.
Testing and Debugging are important activities during software development and maintenance. Testing aims at finding a problem while Debugging aims at solving the problem. Debugging is performed only after the defect is reported by the testing team. With debugging, the developer identifies the problem in the system/application/code. Once the developer has fixed the bug, tester re-tests to ensure that the error/bug no longer exists. The figure given below demonstrates the fact very well.
What is Debugging?
Debugging is an unstructured, step-by-step, manual process to find and eliminate a specific system error. Depending on the defects reported, the developer begins to diagnose a program/code to find a bug. Developers must correct the code so that the actual result is the same as expected. With the help of the added details by the tester, the developer finds out the error and then fix it. After correcting the error, the developer tests the fix and sends the issue back to the tester to retest.
What are the Differences between Testing and Debugging?
Testing and Debugging, both help in making the software defect-free but we have some basic differences between these two techniques.
|Objective||The purpose of testing is to find errors/bugs in the application.||The purpose of debugging is to correct the errors found during the testing process.|
|Performed by||The testing is performed by the Tester or sometimes Developer.||Debugging is done by the Developer.|
|Automation||Testing can be done manually or can be automated.||Debugging cannot be automated.|
|Programming Knowledge||Most testing can be done without source code knowledge.||Debugging cannot be done without the proper source code knowledge.|
How to Optimize Debugging Process
Like Testing, there are some underlying guidelines for optimizing Debugging, that ensures efficient flow of the process. Some basic guidelines are given below:
- It’s all about Mindset: The developer should first accept that there is something wrong in the code. If he is not convinced, he is less likely to find out the root cause.
- Use Log Files: Developers who effectively write information to log files are more likely to debug the defect quickly than those who don’t use logs effectively.
- One at a time: If there are multiple changes to be made, it should be done one at a time. If all the changes are applied at the same time, it makes debugging much more complex
- One to Many Fixes: When one defect is successfully debugged, then the root cause should be analyzed to find out if similar mistakes have been done at other places in the code. All of these should be fixed in one go.
In this article, we learned, Testing and Debugging are two essential parts of the Software Development Life Cycle and both play a crucial role in the detection and elimination of errors.
Testing helps to find the error in the software, however, through Debugging, the developer identifies, analyzes and eliminates the software error.