The first thing to realize when trying to find the top QA testing tools is to realize that quality assurance testing is more of an end-to-end process and management philosophy than it is a task that is executed by a piece of software. QA testing tools are used to help further that process.
QA testing tools deliver the key advantage of early detection of software flaws and design errors, which are more costly to repair as the application development cycle progresses. Detecting these problems early on saves money. QA testing tools that focus more on quality management also deliver savings indirectly, by ensuring that the project will be accepted by multiple stakeholders, who may have very different expectations.
There are several different categories of QA testing tools that target very specific parts of the entire QA process, starting with application testing tools, which focus more on testing the quality of the software itself. Familiar to every coder is the bug tracking application for tracking, analyzing and repairing software defects. Bug trackers are widely available from commercial sources as well as in the form of freeware. Beyond that, it may also be necessary to make use of Web QA testing tools, especially if incorporating Web applications and Web 2.0 functionality. The latter category includes functions such as link testing and HTML checking. This includes link testers, or basic tools for checking the validity of any related URLs; and other HTML testers and third-party testing services that focus on areas such as style validation, accessibility, and error-checking HTML code.
Still other QA testing tools address the process rather than specifics of code development, including the requirements management tool, which is used earlier in the process before coding even begins. Requirements management promotes quality assurance and compliance with ISO 9000 specifications by tracking and prioritizing the needs of the client, often incorporating communication tools for all stakeholders in the process. The requirements management system is an effective and necessary management tool, the use of which helps to deliver more efficiency throughout the development process, better quality product, and satisfaction from all stakeholders. A few examples of well-known requirements management systems include Borland’s Caliber, IBM’s RequisitePro, and Telelogic DOORS.
One option used by some development centers is the use of a third party software quality assurance center. Service providers such as Questcon and others maintain independent testing centers to find inefficiencies, flaws and defects. A third party service should provide key metrics as part of the package. Third party providers may also provide independent verification and validation services. There is much value in an unbiased audit to serve as a final check against both outsourced and in-house developed software code.
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