In this section we go through the list of Glossary of Software Engineering Terms
ACCEPTANCE CRITERIA: The criteria that the software component, product, or system must satisfy in order to be accepted by the customer.
ACCEPTANCE PROCESS: The process used to verify that a new or modified software product is fully operational and meets the customer's requirements.
ACCEPTANCE TESTING: Formal testing conducted by the customer to determine whether or not a software product or system satisfies the documented acceptance criteria. Successful completion of acceptance testing defines the point at which the customer will accept the product as a successful implementation.
ACTIVITY: A major unit of work to be completed in achieving the objectives of a software project. An activity incorporates a set of tasks to be completed, consumes resources, and results in work products. An activity may contain other activities in a hierarchical manner. All project activities are described in the Project Plan.
ACTOR: A person or system that interacts with the software application in support of a specific process or to perform a specific operation or related set of operations.
ALGORITHM: A set of well-defined rules for the solution to a problem in a finite number of steps. Generally implemented as a logical or mathematical test or calculation.
ANOMALY: A nice word for "bug." Anything observed in the operation of software that deviates from expectations based on design documentation or user references.
APPLICATION: One or more software executables designed to fulfill a specific set of business functions individually or in cooperation with other applications.
ASSESSMENT: A formal examination of a deliverable, generally by a quality assurance reviewer, for the presence of a specific set of attributes and structural elements. An assessment is not an in-depth examination of content, as the content of a deliverable may be outside the reviewer’s domain of expertise.
ASSUMPTION: A condition that is generally accepted as truth without proof or demonstration.
ATTRIBUTE: A piece of information describing part of a particular entity.
AUDIT: An independent examination of software or software documentation to assess compliance with predetermined criteria.
AUTHENTICATION: The ability of each party in a transaction to verify the identity of the other parties.
BANDWIDTH: The capacity of a communications channel.
BASELINE: A set of software components and documents to that has been formerly reviewed and accepted, that serves as the basis for further development or current production, which can be changed only through formal change control procedures.
BATCH PROCESSING: A method of collecting and processing data in which transactions are accumulated and stored until a specified time when it is convenient or necessary to process them as a group.
BUSINESS PROCESSES: The unique ways in which organizations coordinate and organize work activities, information, and knowledge to produce a product or service. For example, in a sales environment, the information used and steps taken to record a new customer order is considered a business process.
BUSINESS PROCESS COMPLEXITY: A project risk factor that takes into consideration the complexity of the business process or processes under automation. Project risk is considered low when all processes involve fairly simple data entry and update operations. Project risk is considered medium when a minority of the business processes under automation are complex, involving multiple steps, exchanges with external systems or significant validation/processing logic. Project risk is considered high when a majority of the business processes under automation are considered to be complex.
BUSINESS PROCESS MATURITY: A project risk factor that takes into consideration the maturity and stability of the business process or processes to be automated. Project risk is considered low when standard business processes that have been stable and in place for a significant period of time are being automated. Project risk is considered medium when one or more nonstandard but stable business processes, generally unique to the customers situation, are being automated. Project risk rises significantly when the development team is attempting to automate one or more new or unusual business processes.
BUSINESS RULE: A logical or mathematical test that determines whether data entered in a database complies with an organization’s method of conducting its operations.
CLIENT: 1. The user point-of-entry for an application. Normally a software executable
residing on a desktop computer, workstation, or laptop computer. The user generally interacts directly only with the client, using it to input, retrieve, analyze and report on data.
2. A device or application that receives data from or manipulates a server device or application.
CODE REVIEW: A meeting at which source code is presented for review, comment, or approval.
COMPONENT: One of the parts that make up a system. A component may be hardware, software, or firmware and may be subdivided into other components.
COMPUTER SOFTWARE: Detailed, pre-programmed instructions that control and coordinate the work of computer hardware and firmware components in an information system.
COMPUTER-AIDED SOFTWARE ENGINEERING (CASE): The automation of step-by -step methodologies for software and systems development to reduce the amount of repetitive work required of the analyst or developer.
CONFIGURATION MANAGEMENT: A process that effectively controls the coordination and implementation of changes to software components.
CONSTRAINT: A restriction, limitation, or regulation that limits a given course of action.
CONTEXT DIAGRAM: Overview data flow diagram depicting an entire system as a single process with its major inputs and outputs.
CONVERSION: The process of changing from the old system to the new system.
CRITICAL SUCCESS FACTORS (CSFS): A set of specific operational conditions shaped by the business environment that are believed to significantly impact the success potential of an organization or business function. In a software development effort, critical success factors are composed of assumptions and dependencies that are generally outside the control of the development team.
CUSTOMER RESOURCES: The number of subject matter experts for each Use Case (UC) in an application under development. This project risk factor is considered low when more than one SME is available per UC. A high risk ensues when outside SMEs are involved with a software development effort.
DATA: Streams of raw facts representing events before they have been organized and arranged into a form that people can understand and use.
DATA DICTIONARY: A structured description of database objects such as tables, indexes, views and fields, with further descriptions of field types, default values and other characteristics.
DATA ENTITY: A data representation of a real world object or concept. Usually represented as a row in a database table, such as information about a specific Product in inventory.
DATA FLOW DIAGRAM: A primary tool in structured analysis that graphically illustrates a system's component processes and the flow of data between them.
DATA TYPE: A description of how the computer is to interpret the data stored in a particular field. Data types can include text or character string data, integer or floating point numeric data, dates, date/time stamps, true/false values, or Binary Large Objects (BLOBs) which can be used to store images, video, or documents.
DATABASE: A set of related data tables and other database objects, such as a data dictionary, that are organized as a group. A collection of data organized to service many applications at the same time.
DATABASE OBJECT: A component of a database, such as a table or view.
DATABASE ADMINISTRATOR: Person(s) responsible for the administrative functions of databases, such as system security, user access, performance and capacity management, and backup and restoration functions.
DATABASE MANAGEMENT SYSTEM (DBMS): Software used to create and maintain a database and enable individual business applications to extract the data they need without having to create separate files or data definitions for their own use.
DEFAULT: An initial value assigned to a field by the application when a new database record is created. Used to facilitate data entry by pre-entering common values for the user.
DELIVERABLE: A specific work product, such as requirements or design documentation, produced during a task or activity to validate successful completion of the task or activity. Sometimes, actual software is delivered.
DESIGN ELEMENT: A specification for a software object or component that fulfills, or assists in the fulfillment of a functional element. A part of the system design specification.
DESIGN STAGE: A stage in the software development lifecycle that produces the functional and system design specifications for the application under development.
DEVELOPER SKILLS/RESOURCES: The availability of developers and other resources with appropriate skills is a significant factor in project success. When developers and resources are readily available, the likelihood of project success is very high. Most development firms manage multiple projects, allowing some contention between projects for developers and other resources.
This project risk factor is considered high when one or more developers with specific skill sets, or resources with specific capabilities, need to be acquired before the project can continue.
DOCUMENTATION: Information made available to: 1) assist end-users in the operation of a software application, generally in the form of on-line help, or 2) assist developers in locating the correct root procedure or method for a specific software function, generally in the form of an implementation map. Note that printed manuals are rarely delivered with software anymore; on-line documentation is more consistently available from within the application and is easier to use.
ENCRYPTION: The coding and scrambling of messages to prevent unauthorized access to or understanding of the data being stored or transmitted.
END-USER REVIEW: The review of a deliverable for functional accuracy by a Subject Matter Expert who is familiar with the software product under design or development.
ENTITY: A collection of attributes related to and describing a specific subject, such as Products.
ENTITY-RELATIONSHIP DIAGRAM: A diagram illustrating the relationship between various entities in a database.
EXECUTABLE: A binary data file that can be run by the operating system to perform a specific set of functions. In Windows, executables carry the extension .EXE and can be launched by double-clicking on them.
EXTERNAL INTERFACE: In database applications, an external interface is a defined process and data structure used to exchange data with other systems. For example, an order processing application may have an interface to exchange data with an external accounting system.
EXTERNAL INTERFACE COMPLEXITY: The level of complexity associated with an external interface. A simple interface is generally unidirectional, with limited, stable logic defining the structure of the exchanged data. A standard export from a database to a spreadsheet is considered a simple interface. A complex interface may be bi-directional, or may have extensive, adaptive logic defining the structure of the exchanged data. The transmission of labor data to a corporate payroll system, with its attendant validation and transaction confirmation requirements, is considered a complex interface.
FEASIBILITY STUDY: A process that determines whether the solution under analysis is achievable, given the organization's resources and constraints.
FIELD: Synonym for a data element that contains a specific attribute's value; a single item of information in a record or row.
FOCUS: The application object to which the user-generated input (usually keyboard and mouse) is directed.
FOREIGN KEY: A field or set of fields in a table whose value must match a primary key in another table when joined with it.
FORM: A screen formatted to facilitate data entry and review. Utilizes data entry fields, option selection tools, and control objects such as buttons and menu items.
FUNCTIONAL AREA: Any formally organized group focused on the development, execution, and maintenance of business processes in support of a defined business function.
FUNCTIONAL DESIGN STAGE: That stage of the software development lifecycle that focuses on the development and validation of designs for architecture, software components, data and interfaces. Often combined with the system design stage into a single stage for smaller applications.
FUNCTIONAL ELEMENT: A definition that specifies the actions that a software component, product, or system must be able to perform.
FUNCTIONAL TESTING: Also known as end-user testing. Testing that focuses on the outputs generated in response to selected inputs and execution conditions.
FUNCTION POINT ANALYSIS: A software measurement process that focuses on the number of inputs, outputs, queries, tables, and external interfaces used in an application. Used for software estimation and assessment of developer productivity.
GROUP: During report generation, one or more records that are collected into a single category, usually for the purpose of totaling. Also used to identify a collection of database users with common access privileges.
HARDWARE: Physical computer equipment and peripherals used to process, store, or transmit software applications or data.
HIERARCHICAL MENU: A menu with multiple levels, consisting of a main Menu bar that leads to one or more levels of sub menus from which choices or actions are made.
HYPERTEXT MARKUP LANGUAGE (HTML): A programming tool that uses Hyper Text to establish dynamic links to other documents stored in the same or remote computers.
IMPLEMENTATION ELEMENTS: A specific software component created to fulfill a specific function defined in the functional and system design documents.
IMPLEMENTATION STAGE: A stage in the software development lifecycle during which a software product is created from the design specifications and testing is performed on the individual software units produced.
INCREMENTAL DEVELOPMENT: A software development technique where multiple small software development lifecycles are used to develop the overall software product in a modular fashion.
INDEX: A specialized data structure used to facilitate rapid access to individual database records or groups of records.
INFORMATION: Data that has been shaped into a form that is meaningful and useful to humans.
INFORMATION SYSTEM: Interrelated components working together to collect, process, store, and disseminate information to support decision-making, coordination, control, analysis, and/or visualization in an organization.
INHERITANCE: A feature of object-oriented programming where a specific class of objects receives the features of a more general class.
INITIAL DATA LOAD: When a new database application is first brought online, certain sets of data are preloaded to support operations. In some cases, a large amount of data is transferred from one or more legacy systems that the new database application is replacing. The initial data load figure is calculated as the sum of all records in operational and support data areas on day zero of the applications production lifecycle. This figure is used as a baseline for estimating development effort, server hardware requirements and network loads.
INSPECTION: Also termed desk checking. A quality assurance technique that relies on visual examination of developed products (usually source code or design documentation) to detect errors, violation of development standards, and other problems.
INSTALLATION STAGE: A software lifecycle stage that consists of the testing, training, and conversion efforts necessary to place the developed software application into production.
INTEGRITY: The degree to which a software component or application prevents unauthorized access to, or modification of, programs or data.
INTERFACE: A formal connection point defined between two independent applications for the purpose of data exchange.
INTERFACE TESTING: A testing technique that evaluates whether software components pass data and control correctly to one another.
INTERSECTION: A group of data elements included in two or more tables as part of a Join operation.
JOIN: A database operation or command that links the rows or records of two or more tables by one or more columns in each table.
JOINT APPLICATION DESIGN (JAD): A design technique that brings users and IT professionals into a facilitated meeting for the purpose of interactively designing an application.
KEY FIELD: A field used to identify a record or group of records by its value.
KEY PROCESS AREA: A software engineering process identified by the Software Engineering Institute Capability Maturity Model that is an essential to an organization's ability to develop consistently high-quality software products.
KILOBYTE (KB): One thousand bytes (actually 1024 storage positions). Used as a measure of storage capacity.
KNOWLEDGE MANAGEMENT: The process of systematically managing and leveraging the stores of knowledge in an organization. This knowledge is generally stored as sets of documents or database records.
LIFECYCLE: A set of software development activities, or stages that function together to guide the development and maintenance of software products. Each stage is finite in scope, requires a specific set of inputs, and produces a specific set of deliverables.
MAINTENANCE: The process of supporting production software to detect and correct faults, optimize performance, and ensure appropriate availability to end-users.
MASTER TABLE: A table containing data on which detail data in another table depends. Master tables have a primary key that's matched to a foreign key in a detail table and often have a one-to-many relationship with detail tables.
MEGABYTE (MB): Approximately one million bytes. A unit of computer storage capacity.
MEGAHERTZ (MHZ): A measure of the clock speed of the CPU in a computer. One megahertz equals one million cycles per second.
METADATA: Data that describes the structure, organization, and/or location of data. In essence, metadata is "data about data."
METHODOLOGY: A set of processes, procedures, and standards that defines an engineering approach to the development of a work product.
METRICS: Numeric data representing measurements of business processes or database activity.
MILESTONE: In project management, a scheduled event of significance for which an individual or team is accountable. Often used to measure progress.
MODEL: An abstract representation that illustrates the components or relationships of a specified application or module.
MODULE: A functional part of an application that is discrete and identifiable with a specific subject.
MODULE TESTING: The process of testing individual software modules or sets of related modules to verify the implementation of the software.
MULTIUSER: Concurrent access to a single database by more than one user, usually through the use of client workstations.
NORMALIZATION: The process of creating small stable data structures from complex groups of data during the design of a relational database.
OBJECT CODE: Program instructions that have been translated into machine language so that they can be executed by the computer.
OFFICE AUTOMATION SYSTEM (OAS): A combination of software applications such as word processing, electronic mail, and calendaring, that is designed to increase the productivity of data workers in the office.
ONLINE ANALYTICAL PROCESSING (OLAP): A technology that operates on non-relational, multidimensional databases often known as data cubes. Data cubes are often created via specialized processing from relational databases. The objective of OLAP is to allow the end user to perform highly flexible analysis and reporting.
ONLINE TRANSACTION PROCESSING (OLTP): OLTP most commonly refers to large-scale database applications, such as order entry and payroll systems, which use transaction processing to assure data integrity.
OPEN DATABASE CONNECTIVITY (ODBC): A set of software drivers and database functions that allow different applications to access client/server RDBMSs, desktop database files, text files, and spreadsheets for the purpose of exchanging and manipulating database information.
OPERATING SYSTEM: System software that manages and controls the activities of the computer. The operating system acts as the interface between applications and the computer hardware.
OPERATIONAL DATA AREA: A module in a database application that supports the maintenance of data associated with a major operational process. For example, in an order entry system, the maintenance of customer data and the entry of orders would be considered operational data areas.
OPERATIONAL TRANSACTION LOAD: The quantity of transactions per unit of time, for all users, in all operational data areas of a database application. This figure is commonly expressed as the number of transactions per day for all operational data areas, and is used to estimate server and network capacity requirements.
ORGANIZATION: A formally defined structure that takes resources from the environment and processes them to produce outputs.
OUTER JOIN: A SQL Join operation in which all rows of the joined tables are returned, whether or not a match is made between columns.
OUTER QUERY: A synonym for the primary query in a statement that includes a subquery.
PARAMETER: A value passed to an application to direct performance. For example, a query could be set up with a parameter that limits the returned records to those falling after a specific date. Changing the value of the parameter changes the returned selection of records.
PEER REVIEW: See Technical Review.
PERMISSIONS: A synonym for privileges.
PLANNING STAGE: The first stage in the software development lifecycle. During the planning stage, the needs and expectations of the customer are identified, the feasibility of the project is determined, and the Project Plan is developed.
PRIMARY KEY: A field or fields whose individual or combined values uniquely identify a record in a database.
PRIVILEGES: The authorities assigned to an end user by the database administrator or database owner to perform operations on data objects.
PROCEDURE: A written description or diagram of a course of action to be taken to perform a given task.
PRODUCTION: The time period after the new system is installed and any data conversion efforts are complete. The system is now being used for normal operations.
PROJECT: A concerted effort that is focused on developing or maintaining a specific software product or system. A project has a fixed scope, structure, and delivery schedule.
PROJECT MANAGER: The individual with total business responsibility for all activities of a project, including the structure of the activities, resource utilization, and schedule management.
PROJECT PLAN: A document that describes a technical and management approach to be followed for a project. The plan typically describes the scope of work, the methods to be used, the project structure and initial schedule, as well as a list of deliverables and other key events required for the project to be considered a success.
PROTOTYPING: The process of building an experimental system quickly and inexpensively for demonstration and evaluation so that end-users can better determine the requirements of an application.
PSEUDOCODE: A combination of programming language constructs and natural language used to define an algorithm or business rule. Pseudocode is often used as a communications bridge between end-users and analysts or programmers.
QUALITY: Satisfaction of customer criteria; conformance to design specifications.
QUALITY ASSURANCE ASSESSMENT: The assessment of a deliverable for the presence of required internal and supporting elements. Generally performed by a Quality Assurance Reviwer who is not a member of the development team or end user base.
QUERY: A statement structured to direct the retrieval or manipulation of data in a database.
RELATIONAL DATABASE MANAGEMENT SYSTEM (RDBMS): An RDBMS is a database management application that can create, organize, and store data. The RDBMS treats data as if they were stored in two-dimensional tables. It can relate data stored in one table to data in another as long as the two tables share a common data element, or key.
RECORD: A group of related fields. A single row of a relational database table that contains each field defined for the table.
REFERENTIAL INTEGRITY: A set of rules governing the relationships between parent and child tables within a relational database that ensures data consistency.
REGRESSION TESTING: Structured retesting of a software component or application to verify that any modifications made have not caused unintended effects and that the software still complies with its specified requirements.
RELIABILITY: The ability of a software application or component to perform its required functions under design-compliant conditions for a specified period of time.
RELEASE VERSION: A software application or component that has been tested and found to be in compliance with design documentation, and placed into production. See production.
REQUIREMENT: A condition or capability needed by the customer to solve a problem or achieve an objective. This condition or capability must be met or possessed by the developed software before it will be accepted by the customer.
REQUIREMENTS STAGE: A stage in the software lifecycle that immediately follows the planning stage. During this stage, the requirements for a software product are defined and documented. The output of this stage is a Requirements Specification.
REQUIREMENTS SPECIFICATION: A deliverable that specifies the manual and automated requirements for a software product in non-technical language that the customer and end-users can understand. The requirements specification focuses on what functions the application is to perform, not how those functions will be executed.
REQUIREMENTS TRACEABILITY MATRIX (RTM): A table or spreadsheet describing the relationships between application requirements, functional elements, design elements, implementation elements, and test cases. The RTM acts as a bridge between the different stages of the software development lifecycle, and provides an auditable trail that shows how each requirement is fulfilled and tested.
RETIREMENT: Permanent removal of an application or software system from its operational environment.
REVERSE ENGINEERING: The process of examining an existing application that has characteristics that are similar to a desired application. Using the existing application as a guide, the requirements for the new application are defined, analyzed, and extracted all the way back to specifications. From this point, the specifications are altered to comply with any new customer requirements and the new application is developed.
REVIEW: The examination of a deliverable for specific content by a reviewer with expertise in the domain of the deliverable. The reviewer examines the content for correctness, consistency, completeness, accuracy, readability, and testability.
REUSABILITY: The degree to which a software application, component, or other work product can be used in more than one computer program or software system.
RISK: The possibility of suffering loss.
RISK MANAGEMENT: An approach to problem analysis that is used to identify, analyze, prioritize, and control risks.
RULE: A specification that determines the data type and data value that can be entered in a column of a table. Rules are classified as validation rules and business rules.
SECURITY: Policies, procedures, and technical measures used to prevent unauthorized access, alteration, deft, or destruction of information systems or data.
SELF-JOIN: A SQL Join operation used to compare values within the columns of one table. Self-joins join a table with itself, requiring that the table be assigned two different names, one of which must be an alias.
SIMULTANEOUS USERS: A quantity of users and/or external systems connected to a multi-user database application for the purpose of exchanging and/or maintaining data.
SOFTWARE: Computer programs, procedures, and associated documentation pertaining to the operation of an application. The detailed instructions that control the operation of a computer system.
SOFTWARE DEVELOPMENT LIFECYCLE (SDLC): A set of activities, referred to as stages, arranged to produce a software product. The generally accepted stages for software development are Planning, Requirements, Design, Development, Integration & Test, Installation & Acceptance, and Maintenance.
SOFTWARE METRICS: Objective assessments (in the form of quantified measurements) of a software application or component.
SOFTWARE QUALITY ASSURANCE (SQA): A process designed to provide management with appropriate visibility into the software engineering processes being used by the project team. A formal process for evaluating the work products produced during the software development lifecycle.
SOURCE CODE: Software programming instructions written in a language readable by humans that must be translated into machine language before it can be executed by the computer.
SPECIFICATION: Documentation that describes software requirements, designs, or other characteristics in a complete, precise, and verifiable manner.
SPIRAL DEVELOPMENT MODEL: An iterative version of the waterfall software development model. Rather than producing the entire software product in one linear series of steps, the spiral development model implies that specific components or sets of components of the software product are brought through each of the stages in the software development lifecycle before development begins on the next set. Once one component is completed, the next component in order of applicability is developed. Often, a dependency tree is used where components that have other components dependent upon them are developed first.
STAGE: A partition of the software development cycle that represents a meaningful and
measurable set of related tasks which are performed to obtain specific work products, or deliverables.
STAKEHOLDERS: Those individuals with decision-making authority over a project or group of projects.
STANDARDS: Approved reference models and protocols as determined by standard-setting groups to prescribe a disciplined, uniform approach to software development and maintenance.
STANDARD OPERATING PROCEDURES (SOPS): Precise, defined rules, activities, and practices developed by an organization to consistently manage normal operations.
STRUCTURED ANALYSIS: A top-down method for defining system inputs, processes, and outputs to build models of software products or systems. The four basic features in structured analysis are data flow diagrams, data dictionaries, procedure logic descriptions, and data store descriptions.
STRUCTURED QUERY LANGUAGE (SQL): A standard data definition and data manipulation language for relational database management systems.
SUBJECT MATTER EXPERT (SME): A person, generally a customer staff member, who is considered to be an expert in one or more operational processes that are the focus of an automation effort. SMEs are generally the primary sources of application requirements, and play very significant roles in the requirements, design, and testing stages of the software development lifecycle.
SUBQUERY: Any SQL Select statement that's included (nested) within another Select, Insert, Update, or Delete statement or nested within another subquery.
SUPPORT ACTIVITIES: Activities that make the delivery of the primary services or products of a firm possible. These activities typically focus on support of the organization's infrastructure, human resources, technologies, and logistics.
SUPPORT DATA AREA: A module in a database application that supports the maintenance of data used primarily for reference and support of operational data areas. For example, in an order entry system, the maintenance of lists of customer business types or order shipment methods would be considered support data areas.
SYSTEM: A collection of hardware, software, firmware, and documentation components organized to accomplish a specific function or set of related functions.
SYSTEM DESIGN STAGE: A stage in the software development lifecycle during which the requirements for the software product architecture, components, interfaces, and data structures are refined and expanded to the extent that the design is sufficiently complete to be implemented.
SYSTEM OWNER: The organizational unit or person that provides funding and has approval authority for the project. Also referred to as the customer or client. Typically, system owners are also system users.
SYSTEM SOFTWARE: Specialized programs that manage the resources of the computer, such as the central processor, communication links, and peripheral devices.
SYSTEM TESTING: Testing of the application or information system as a whole to determine if discrete modules will function together as planned and to evaluate compliance with specified requirements.
SYSTEMS ANALYSIS: The analysis of a problem that the organization will try to solve with an information system.
SYSTEMS ANALYSTS: Specialists who translate business problems and requirements into information systems requirements, acting as a bridge between the information systems department, the system owner, and end-users.
TABLE: A database object consisting of a group of rows (records) divided into columns (fields) that contain data or Null values. A table is treated as a database device or object.
TASK: The smallest accountable unit of work. A task is the lowest level of work division typically included in the Project Plan and Work Breakdown Structure. Related tasks are usually grouped to form activities.
TECHNICAL FEASIBILITY: Determines whether a proposed application can be implemented with the available hardware, software, and technical resources.
TECHNICAL REVIEW: The review of a deliverable for technical accuracy by a qualified developer who is familiar with the software product under design or development.
TECHNOLOGY: Software and hardware tools and services used to develop and support a database application. In general, a development team working with well-known, mature tools is substantially more likely to succeed than a team working with newly released, unfamiliar technology. Caveat: in rare cases, unique performance requirements dictate the use of new technology for the project to have any chance of success.
TESTBED: A specific set of hardware, software, instrumentation, simulators, and other support elements needed to conduct a test of a database application.
TEST CASE: A defined set of database records, test inputs, execution conditions and anticipated results designed to exercise specific application components and verify compliance with design criteria and requirements. Contains detailed instructions for the set up, execution, and evaluation of the results for the test case.
TESTING STAGE: Also often referred to as the test and acceptance stage. A stage in the software development lifecycle where the components of a software product are executed under specified conditions, the results are observed and recorded, and an evaluation is made to determine whether or not the requirements have been met.
TEST ITEM: A software component that is the object of a test case.
TEST PLAN: A document that defines the preparations, test items, test data, and test cases for the series of tests to be performed on an application.
TEST REPORT: A document that contains a chronological record of the execution and results of the testing carried out for a software component or application.
THREE-TIER: The architecture of a database application consisting of a front end, application server, and database server. The front end handles user input and output, the application server serves front end components and handles the business rules, while the database server manages the associated data storage as directed by the application server or front end client.
TIMESTAMP: A set of date and time data attributes applied to a disk file or database record when it is created or edited.
TRACEABILITY: The degree to which a relationship can be established between two or more products of the software development lifecycle.
TRANSACTION: A set of processing tasks that are treated as a single activity to perform a desired result. For example, a transaction would entail all the steps necessary to insert and or modify values in multiple tables when a new invoice is created. If any of the record management tasks fail, the entire activity is canceled, or rolled back. If all of the record management activities are successful, the transaction is committed, or made permanent.
TRANSACTION ANALYSIS: A process used to divide complex data flow diagrams into smaller, individual data flow diagrams for each class of transaction that the application will process.
UNIT TESTING: The isolated testing of each logical path of a specific implementation element or groups of related elements. The expected output from the execution of the logical path is predefined to allow comparisons of the planned output against the actual output.
USABILITY: The ease with which a user can learn to operate a software application.
USE CASE: A description of a business process under automation, focused on how Actors (user and interfacing systems) interact with the process. Includes descriptions of the information the Actors send to the system, the data the Actors receive from the process, and the operations they perform using the system.
USER: Those individuals who use a specific software product or system. User activities can include data entry, queries and updates, the execution of batch operations, and the generation of reports.
USER INTERFACE: The part of the application through which the end-user interacts with the system.
USER MANUAL: A document that describes a software application in sufficient detail to enable an end-user to obtain desired results. Typically includes a tutorial, a description of functions and data structures, options, allowable inputs, expected outputs, and possible error messages.
VALIDATION: 1. The process of determining whether a value in a table's data cell its within the allowable range or is a member of a set of acceptable values.
2. The process of evaluating software to ensure compliance with established requirements and design criteria.
VERIFICATION: The process of evaluating an application to determine whether or not the work products of a stage of a software development lifecycle fulfill the requirements established during the previous stage.
VIRTUAL ORGANIZATION: An organization that uses networks to link people, assets, and ideas to create and distribute products and services without being limited to traditional organizational boundaries or physical location.
WATERFALL DEVELOPMENT MODEL: A software development lifecycle in which each stage is dependent upon the outputs of the previous stage. The vision is that of water flowing downhill. Once a stage is completed, the next stage begins. Previously completed stages cannot be re-initiated.
WORK BREAKDOWN STRUCTURE (WBS): A listing of all activities and tasks related to those activities that make up a complete project. Generally described in outline form to show the hierarchical relationship between activities and tasks.
WORK PRODUCT: A specific document or software component that results from a project activity or task.
Testing Important Definitions
Acceptance Testing Testing conducted to enable a user/customer to determine whether to accept a software product. Normally performed to validate the software meets a set of agreed acceptance criteria.
Accessibility Testing Verifying a product is accessible to the people having disabilities (deaf, blind, mentally disabled etc.).
Ad Hoc Testing A testing phase where the tester tries to 'break' the system by randomly trying the system's functionality. Can include negative testing as well. See also Monkey Testing.
Agile Testing Testing practice for projects using agile methodologies, treating development as the customer of testing and emphasizing a test-first design paradigm. See also Test Driven Development.
Baseline The point at which some deliverable produced during the software engineering process is put under formal change control.
Beta Testing Testing of a rerelease of a software product conducted by customers.
Binary Portability Testing Testing an executable application for portability across system platforms and environments, usually for conformation to an ABI specification.
Black Box Testing Testing based on an analysis of the specification of a piece of software without reference to its internal workings. The goal is to test how well the component conforms to the published requirements for the component.
Bug A fault in a program, which causes the program to perform in an unintended or unanticipated manner.
CMM The Capability Maturity Model for Software (CMM or SW-CMM) is a model for judging the maturity of the software processes of an organization and for identifying the key practices that are required to increase the maturity of these processes.
Code Coverage An analysis method that determines which parts of the software have been executed (covered) by the test case suite and which parts have not been executed and therefore may require additional attention.
Code Inspection A formal testing technique where the programmer reviews source code with a group who ask questions analyzing the program logic, analyzing the code with respect to a checklist of historically common programming errors, and analyzing its compliance with coding standards.
Code Walkthrough A formal testing technique where source code is traced by a group with a small set of test cases, while the state of program variables is manually monitored, to analyze the programmer's logic and assumptions.
Compatibility Testing Testing whether software is compatible with other elements of a system with which it should operate, e.g. browsers, Operating Systems, or hardware.
Concurrency Testing Multi-user testing geared towards determining the effects of accessing the same application code, module or database records. Identifies and measures the level of locking, deadlocking and use of single-threaded code and locking semaphores.
Defect Nonconformance to requirements or functional / program specification
Dynamic Testing Testing software through executing it. See also Static Testing.
Endurance Testing Checks for memory leaks or other problems that may occur with prolonged execution.
End-to-End testing Testing a complete application environment in a situation that mimics real-world use, such as interacting with a database, using network communications, or interacting with other hardware, applications, or systems if appropriate.
Functional Testing Testing the features and operational behavior of a product to ensure they correspond to its specifications. Testing that ignores the internal mechanism of a system or component and focuses solely on the outputs generated in response to selected inputs and execution conditions.
Glass Box Testing A synonym for White Box Testing.
Gorilla Testing Testing one particular module, functionality heavily.
Gray Box Testing A combination of Black Box and White Box testing methodologies: testing a piece of software against its specification but using some knowledge of its internal workings.
Integration Testing Testing of combined parts of an application to determine if they function together correctly. Usually performed after unit and functional testing. This type of testing is especially relevant to client/server and distributed systems.
Installation Testing Confirms that the application under test recovers from expected or unexpected events without loss of data or functionality. Events can include shortage of disk space, unexpected loss of communication, or power out conditions. Metric
A standard of measurement. Software metrics are the statistics describing the structure or content of a program. A metric should be a real objective measurement of something such as number of bugs per lines of code.
Monkey Testing Testing a system or an Application on the fly, i.e just few tests here and there to ensure the system or an application does not crash out.
Negative Testing Testing aimed at showing software does not work. Also known as "test to fail". See also Positive Testing.
Performance Testing Testing conducted to evaluate the compliance of a system or component with specified performance requirements. Often this is performed using an automated test tool to simulate large number of users. Also know as "Load Testing".
Positive Testing Testing aimed at showing software works. Also known as "test to pass". See also Negative Testing.
Race Condition A cause of concurrency problems. Multiple accesses to a shared resource, at least one of which is a write, with no mechanism used by either to moderate simultaneous access.
Ramp Testing Continuously raising an input signal until the system breaks down.
Recovery Testing Confirms that the program recovers from expected or unexpected events without loss of data or functionality. Events can include shortage of disk space, unexpected loss of communication, or power out conditions.
Regression Testing Retesting a previously tested program following modification to ensure that faults have not been introduced or uncovered as a result of the changes made.
Sanity Testing Brief test of major functional elements of a piece of software to determine if its basically operational. See also Smoke Testing.
Scalability Testing Performance testing focused on ensuring the application under test gracefully handles increases in work load.
Security Testing Testing which confirms that the program can restrict access to authorized personnel and that the authorized personnel can access the functions available to their security level.
Smoke Testing A quick-and-dirty test that the major functions of a piece of software work. Originated in the hardware testing practice of turning on a new piece of hardware for the first time and considering it a success if it does not catch on fire.
Soak Testing Running a system at high load for a prolonged period of time. For example, running several times more transactions in an entire day (or night) than would be expected in a busy day, to identify and performance problems that appear after a large number of transactions have been executed.
Stress Testing Testing conducted to evaluate a system or component at or beyond the limits of its specified requirements to determine the load under which it fails and how. Often this is performance testing using a very high level of simulated load.
System Testing Testing that attempts to discover defects that are properties of the entire system rather than of its individual components.
Testing The process of exercising software to verify that it satisfies specified requirements and to detect errors. The process of analyzing a software item to detect the differences between existing and required conditions (that is, bugs), and to evaluate the features of the software item (Ref. IEEE Std 829).
The process of operating a system or component under specified conditions, observing or recording the results, and making an evaluation of some aspect of the system or component.
Test Bed An execution environment configured for testing. May consist of specific hardware, OS, network topology, configuration of the product under test, other application or system software, etc. The Test Plan for a project should enumerated the test beds(s) to be used.
Test Case Test Case is a commonly used term for a specific test. This is usually the smallest unit of testing. A Test Case will consist of information such as requirements testing, test steps, verification steps, prerequisites, outputs, test environment, etc.
A set of inputs, execution preconditions, and expected outcomes developed for a particular objective, such as to exercise a particular program path or to verify compliance with a specific requirement.
Test Driver A program or test tool used to execute a tests. Also known as a Test Harness.
Test Harness A program or test tool used to execute a tests. Also known as a Test Driver.
Test Plan A document describing the scope, approach, resources, and schedule of intended testing activities. It identifies test items, the features to be tested, the testing tasks, who will do each task, and any risks requiring contingency planning. Ref IEEE Std 829.
Traceability Matrix A document showing the relationship between Test Requirements and Test Cases.
Use Case The specification of tests that are conducted from the end-user perspective. Use cases tend to focus on operating software as an end-user would conduct their day-to-day activities.
Validation The process of evaluating software at the end of the software development process to ensure compliance with software requirements. The techniques for validation is testing, inspection and reviewing.
Verification The process of determining whether of not the products of a given phase of the software development cycle meet the implementation steps and can be traced to the incoming objectives established during the previous phase. The techniques for verification are testing, inspection and reviewing.
Volume Testing Testing which confirms that any values that may become large over time (such as accumulated counts, logs, and data files), can be accommodated by the program and will not cause the program to stop working or degrade its operation in any manner.
Show Stopper Bug Any Required features of the release whose Test is defined in the Test Plan of the release fails then Bug should be opened in this category against Proxy module of Vocal and Release can't be done if it's not fixed Or All the Memory Leaks, performance, reliability, flakiness problem go under this priority for the release. Both above Categories BUGS are considered as Show stoppers and Release can't be made till they are fixed.