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Desktop Testing: Build Your Testing Strategy

What’s Desktop Testing?

Desktop testing is a comprehensive evaluation of desktop applications to ensure they meet the desired standards for functionality, usability, performance, compatibility, and security. These applications run on a desktop computer or laptop and are installed locally, rather than being accessed through a web browser or as a mobile app.

Due to the platform-dependent nature of desktop applications, it is important for the quality assurance (QA) team to thoroughly test each application for compatibility with different operating systems, hardware configurations, and language requirements. This testing process can involve checking the installation and uninstallation of the application, verifying that version upgrades or patches dox not break any functionalities, and testing the app’s performance under different workloads.

In some cases, desktop testing can be more challenging than web testing, as certain aspects of the application may not be amenable to automation. For example, security client applications often involve components with masked properties, making it difficult to test using traditional automation tools. In such cases, the development of in-house automation tools may be necessary.

The goal of desktop testing is to deliver a high-quality and reliable user experience by ensuring that the application works as intended, provides a user-friendly interface, and is free of defects or security vulnerabilities.

How to test desktop applications

There are different types of testing done on desktop applications. Since these applications are standalone, the testing types can differ from web testing. Let’s look in detail at the different types of testing that are performed on desktop applications:

  • Installation/ uninstallation testing
  • Functional testing
  • Patch testing
  • Rollback testing
  • Compatibility testing
  • Performance testing
  • UI (GUI) testing
  • L10N / I18N testing

Installation/ uninstallation testing

Installation testing verifies that the application can be successfully installed on a system without any issues. The QA team checks if all required file engines have been installed, and if the application can be opened by clicking the icon. They also ensure that the installation only proceeds if the system meets the necessary requirements. The process of installation is also tested in cases where there may be disruptions or retry scenarios.

Uninstallation testing focuses on ensuring that all files, including system files and their folder structures, are completely removed from the system when the application is uninstalled. The QA team checks if no application or user data is left behind after the uninstallation process.

Both installation and uninstallation testing are performed on different operating systems with varying hardware options and different versions of the application. The stability of the system post-installation and post-uninstallation is also tested to ensure that there are no issues.

Functional testing

Functional testing is a crucial aspect of desktop testing, where the focus is on evaluating the application’s ability to perform its intended functions in accordance with specified requirements. Every function within the application is thoroughly tested to ensure it works as expected. Test cases can be designed to focus on a single component’s functionality or to test end-to-end user flows.

Depending on the nature of the application and the test cases, functional testing can be performed either manually or through automation. Automated functional testing is typically used for regression test cases, while manual testing can be used for new feature releases to ensure that they work as intended. The aim of functional testing is to ensure that the application functions correctly and provides an optimal user experience.

Functional testing done manually

Manual testing refers to the process of testing desktop applications through the manual execution of test cases by a human tester. It is a hands-on approach to testing where the tester interacts with the application to verify its functionality and other aspects. In manual testing, the tester follows a set of test cases and uses their knowledge and experience to validate the application’s behavior. This may include verifying that all features work as expected, checking the application’s response to different inputs, and evaluating the overall user experience.

Manual testing is usually performed in conjunction with automated testing to provide comprehensive coverage of the application’s functionality. While automated testing is useful for quickly executing repetitive test cases, manual testing provides the human touch that is often necessary for uncovering unexpected behavior or discovering problems that are difficult to detect through automation.

Functional testing done via automation

Automated testing uses software tools to perform repetitive or time-consuming test cases on a desktop application. The goal of this testing is to save time and resources by automating the process, thereby freeing up testers to focus on expanding test coverage.

Automated testing can be performed on different operating systems and hardware configurations to ensure that the desktop application works correctly on all platforms.

The easiest way to create stable functional tests is by using testRigor. No programming skills are needed, and automated tests look like they’re manual test cases. Test maintenance is typically a big headache with most automated testing tools, however testRigor completely solves this issue. testRigor supports not just desktop testing, but also web, mobile and API – so it can be the only functional and end-to-end testing tool you will ever need.

Patch Testing

Patch testing refers to the process of evaluating and validating patches or updates to a desktop application before they are released to users. The goal of patch testing is to ensure that the changes made to the application do not negatively impact its existing functionality, performance, compatibility, or security.

When a patch or update is released for a desktop application, the QA team will test the application to ensure that the patch has been applied correctly and that the application continues to work as expected. This may include functional testing to ensure that all features are still working, compatibility testing to ensure that the application continues to work on different operating systems and hardware configurations, and performance testing to ensure that the application runs smoothly and efficiently.

Patch testing is an important part of the desktop application testing process, as it helps to ensure that users receive updates that improve the application without introducing new issues. This helps to maintain the reliability and stability of the application, ensuring that users can continue to use it with confidence.

Rollback Testing

The QA team verifies that an application can be rolled back to a previous version in the event of an issue or a failure. Rollback testing is a type of recovery testing that is designed to validate the application’s ability to revert to a previous version in the event of an unexpected error.

The aim of rollback testing is to ensure that the application can be returned to a known, stable state. Rollback testing can be performed manually or through automation and typically involves testing the rollback process using a range of scenarios and conditions.

In desktop application testing, rollback testing is a critical component of ensuring the overall reliability and stability of the application. By verifying that the application can be successfully rolled back to a previous version, testers can ensure that users have a fallback option in case of an issue with the latest version, reducing the risk of data loss or system instability.

Compatibility Testing

Compatibility testing ensures that the application works correctly on different hardware, software, and operating system configurations. This type of testing ensures that the application is compatible with different versions of operating systems, different types of computers (such as desktops, laptops, and tablets), different screen sizes and resolutions, different hardware components (such as graphics cards, processors, and memory), and different browser versions. For example, the application will be tested against the least RAM, a configuration of 4GB, to ensure the application doesn’t freeze.

Compatibility testing is vital because it helps to identify issues that could affect the user experience or prevent the application from functioning properly. For example, if an application is not compatible with a certain version of an operating system, users with that version may not be able to install or use the application. By testing the application’s compatibility with a variety of configurations, the quality assurance (QA) team can ensure that the application works as expected for a wide range of users.

Performance Testing

Performance testing refers to the process of evaluating the responsiveness, stability, and scalability of a desktop application under different load conditions. The goal of performance testing is to identify any application bottlenecks and ensure that it can handle the expected load and usage patterns.

Performance testing is critical for desktop applications, as it helps ensure that the application provides an optimal user experience, even when subjected to high levels of usage and demand. This can include testing the application’s memory usage, processor usage, disk I/O, network bandwidth, and response times, among other metrics.

Performance testing can be performed using a variety of tools, such as load testing tools, performance monitoring tools, and stress testing tools, among others. Load testing tools can simulate a large number of users accessing the application at the same time, while performance monitoring tools can track the application’s performance in real time. Stress testing tools can be used to push the application to its limits, determine the maximum capacity, and identify any performance-related issues.

Overall, performance testing is a critical aspect of desktop application testing, as it helps ensure that the application provides a high level of performance and responsiveness, even under high levels of usage and demand.

UI (GUI) testing

GUI or Graphical User Interface testing is responsible for the application’s graphical user interface functions across different resolutions or hardware configurations. GUI testing mainly evaluates:

  • Layout
  • Color
  • Font size
  • Text boxes
  • Position and alignment of texts, objects, and images.
  • Clarity of the images

Testing is done by changing the screen resolution and evaluating how the application adjusts to the new resolution. GUI testing can be done via manual and automation testing. testRigor is also an excellent choice for this type of testing.

L10N / I18N Testing

Localization testing, also known as L10N testing, verifies that a desktop application is adapted to the cultural, linguistic, and regional requirements of a specific location. This type of testing checks if the application correctly displays text, currency, time format, and text alignment based on the selected country and language. It also ensures that the application does not contain any graphics that are sensitive to that region. The objective of localization testing is to make sure that the application is suitable for use in a specific region.

Internationalization testing, or I18N testing, evaluates that a desktop application can adapt to different cultures and languages worldwide without requiring changes to its code. For example, suppose an application supports switching between English and French. In that case, the I18N testing will ensure that all text is properly translated when switching languages and that the look and feel of the application remain unchanged. The main goal of I18N testing is to verify that the application can be easily adapted to different cultures and languages without any issues.


Choosing the right tool for automating desktop testing

Automating your test cases is the most efficient way to ensure consistently high quality. The latest advancements in this field now allow virtually anyone to write automated UI tests from scratch using no code. testRigor is an AI-driven cloud tool that simplifies the process of test authoring as much as it is technically possible.

With testRigor, you can:

  • Write and edit end-to-end tests in plain English up to 15x faster than with other tools.
  • Spend minimal time on test maintenance (due to smart algorithms that make tests extremely stable).
  • Build tests not just for desktop, but also for web and mobile applications.
  • Focus on automating repetitive tasks, expand the coverage and automate 90% of your test cases within a year.
  • Execute your tests as often as needed, and get results in minutes instead of hours or days.

Here’s a short video that will give you an idea on how simple it is to use testRigor for your desktop testing needs:

Wrapping up

We hope that this article was helpful, and you now have a good idea on what types of testing you need for your desktop application. Desktop testing can be quite expansive, and done both manually and with the help of various tools.