Article

Ulf Eriksson
Ulf Eriksson 4 December 2014
Categories Data & Analytics

The Difference Between Functional And Non-functional Testing

A review of the two methods of conducting testing, known as functional and non-functional testing.

Quite logically, the different testing techniques applied to functional and non-functional requirements give rise to two methods of conducting testing, known as functional and non- functional testing.

 

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Functional Testing

 

The objective of functional testing is to determine how well a system carries out its functions. Functional testing is typically carried out by comparing the functionality of the systems with the requirements provided by the clients. Alternatively, testers can design the requirements themselves based on the use cases given to them by the design team. 
 

Examples of functional testing include:

  • User commands
  • Data manipulation
  • Searches and business processes
  • User screens
  • Integrations
     

Non-functional Testing

The goal of non-functional testing, on the other hand, is to assess the readiness of system, that is, whether it performs its functions within the parameters set.

 

Testers carrying out non-functional testing try to measure and compare the results obtained by testing the non-functional aspects of a system, such as how long a user has to wait until a version of the document s/he is working on is saved to memory.

Examples of non-functional testing include the following tests:

  • Performance Testing
  • Security Testing
  • Usability Testing
  • Reliability and Dependability Testing
  • Endurance testing
  • Load testing
  • Localization testing and Internationalization testing
  • Ergonomics Testing
  • Operational Readiness Testing
  • Installation Testing
  • Configuration Testing
  • Compatibility Testing
  • Interoperability Testing
  • Maintainability Testing
  • Availability Testing
  • Recoverability Testing
  • Miscellaneous Testing
     

In Summary

The fundamental difference between functional and non-functional testing is that functional testing tells whether the product behaves in the way it was intended to (an outcome that can be succinctly reported as a binary Yes/No answer).

 

Non-functional testing, however, reveals how well the product compares it the execution of its functions compared to the criteria set by the client or design team (answers could be reported on a range from ‘excellent’ to ‘poor’, or even as a percentage of the intended outcome).

While what the system does (functional aspect) is very important, users’ affection and loyalty is mainly won thanks to how well the system does its job it compared to their expectations and the competition (non-functional aspect). Therefore, testers shouldn’t underestimate the usefulness of non-functional testing but give both types of testing the attention they deserve.

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About the Author
Ulf Eriksson is one of the founders of ReQtest, an online bug tracking software hand-built and developed in Sweden. ReQtest is the culmination of Ulf’s decades of work in development and testing. 

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