Writing System Test Cases
System tests are the third phase in the Testing
Lifecycle. System Tests are the test of
the end-user functionality. System Tests verify the correct functioning
of all the required
features as given in the
Since prior testing phases have tested the internal logic of the
application, System Tests should not repeat detailed, exhaustive
testing. Instead System Tests verify that all subsystems are
cooperating successfully to yield the final desired features.
System tests are usually "black box" tests since we are testing the
application without seeing the source code. Create the test cases
following the guidelines in the textbook, the black box techniques
studied in class, as well as your own experience or
intuition about verifying program correctness. Number each test
case and write it in HTML (or Wiki) format.
Prepare the test cases according to these directions: System
The QA manager is responsible for creating the Test Matrix, which
is a grid with Requirement Numbers on one axis and Test Case Numbers on
the other. It shows which test cases cover which
requirements. Use this Test
Matrix Template which shows which test cases were written by
which team member and has a link to the test cases. (Alternate
Quality Assurance Criteria
- Each test case is in HTML (or Wiki) format, posted on team web
- Each test case has all four required sections.
- Every functional requirement in the specification has at least
one test case.
- Purpose provides specific detail of the behavior or function
- Actual input data and expected output data are provided.
The expected output is precise and detailed enough to be implemented as
an "oracle" for automated testing. The data needs to run on the
actual software being released.
- User Action description is clear and specific enough for
independent testers to follow the directions.
- The test case will correctly verify the requirement.
- Cross-reference is correct.
Deliverable: System Test Scripts
For this deliverable your team is to write test scripts for each of the
test cases you created above. The goal is to create a completely
automated System Test.
The easiest way to automate your tests is to write an Ant script
that runs the test AND
compares the results, perhaps by using Unix "diff." This approach
assumes you have a console driver for you app to which you can provide
test input, and capture the text output. There are examples of
this approach in the CrazyEights
Tip: If there are dates, times, or version numbers in your output
causing 'diff' to fail, you can remove them
For GUI applications, you can use the
tool provided by Dr. Dalbey. You must create
specialized test scripts which simulate keyboard and mouse
operations. For Swing-based apps, you can use the Abbot/Costello
framework, which is more powerful but a little finicky. The CrazyEights case study
has a good example of Costello
Both of the previous approaches can be integrated into your
There are video demos of both techniques:
Quality Assurance Criteria
- There is a test script for every system test case.
- The test script implements the complete test case.
- All the test scripts are organized with the NetBeans project
- The complete automated System Tests can be run using the NetBeans
build.xml Ant script.
- An automated "diff" step shows whether the test pass or fail.
The following approach is now
deprecated for this class:
A more primitive approach, which Ant has made obsolete, is to
your text-based console application by
redirecting an ASCII text file with input data and capturing the
for example: java MyApp < TestDataFile1.dat > TestOutput1.txt
To verify the results the test the output is compared against the
expected results, called an "oracle," using a file comparison utility
such as Unix 'diff' or DOS 'fc'. For example,
FC TestOutput1.txt TestOracle1.txt
The test manager then has to create Unix shells scripts or DOS batch
invoke the test tools and run the test scripts. Organize the test
scripts, the "setup" files (if needed), and the "oracle" files into a
suitable directory hierarchy. Create a ZIP file containing the
entire test directory structure (without any application files), and
place the zip file under a new link on your team home page called
System Test Scripts.
Here are some examples:
||a sample test script, oracle, and batch file
||This example shows how to organize the folders for the
application source code (in packages), system tests, and unit tests.
||This web site includes example System Test Cases and
Test Scripts for a GUI app.
It should be possible to run all the tests by invoking a
command. You may be asked to demonstrate your test scripts to the class
5/8/2011 Added new Ant-based techniques.
4/11/04 JD Changed title, clarified wording in first paragraph, changed
name of hyperlinks.
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