A Software Tester’s primary goal is verifying and validating requirements. This includes checking whether each requirement is working correctly and providing the expected output. In addition, software testers should have a clear mission to find bugs in the application being tested and then confirm its performance. Happy Path Testing is one method of testing that can be used to accomplish this.
Happy Path Testing: An overview
Happy flow testing uses a positive flow to test an application and determine a default output. This type of software testing is the first to be done on an application. Happy path testing focuses on well-defined UX scenarios similar to what an end-user does when regularly using the application. A happy path user will be able to clearly:
- understand how the application is supposed to function
- follow the requirements precisely
- understand the UI and is familiar with its function
- remember everything about the application
- understand any modal windows and prompts made by the application
- make no mistakes with their known input
- can focus and is not distracted or weary
You can see the goal of happy path testing is not to “break” functionality or go down exception paths but to make a product or procedure function as intended. Happy path testing, in other words, is done within the application’s real-life boundaries to ensure functionality meets most users’ needs. Thus, happy flows are usually part of E2E testing.
How many Happy Path Tests should exist?
Typically only one happy path test exists for a set of functionality. However, if additional valid tests are identified, one should be marked as the default or most likely positive alternative.
What is an example of a Happy Path Test?
Consider, for example, a test suite containing login functionalities.
In this example, the user must enter their email address and password, then press the sign-in button to continue. Upon entering the credentials, the user can navigate to the next screen and take further actions. This context focuses only on valid inputs that can generate the expected outputs. Thus, running this test would be considered happy path testing. Unhappy path tests would focus on entering wrong or invalid input.
When should Happy Path Testing be executed?
Happy path testing occurs after deploying an application to a test environment. This is the first type of software testing to be completed. Other types of testing will follow once completing the sunny day scenarios. Happy path testing enables testers to understand the basics of the application before they do more thorough testing. Happy paths do not intend to break an application or exercise exception paths. However, it can undergo complete in-depth testing after the build is deployed and has passed all sanity checks.
What are the advantages of Happy Path Testing?
Receiving a positive response is the crucial first step of the testing process. Thus, establishing the stability of an application before moving on to more complex scenarios is vital.
Only positive flows are to be tested in happy path testing. Failure of a happy case emphasizes basic functionality of the system is not working per requirements. An alternate path is needed to continue testing. Establishing a different course of action would be necessary to continue test execution.
This method helps testers identify potential problems faster, saving them time and effort later.
What are the disadvantages of Happy Path Testing?
There are five main disadvantages to happy path testing, which are:
- Can require a lot of documentation. All possible inputs and outputs need to be known before starting the process.
- May not be able to identify all possible issues as it only tests one side of the application, which can result in low test coverage.
- Testers might forget to test edge cases and exceptions, which could lead to undiscovered bugs.
- Incomplete happy path testing can give a false sense of security that the application is fully functional when it’s not.
- Happy path testing, if done excessively, can be time-consuming and might delay the release of a product.
Limitations of Positive Testing Software
Happy flow testing indicates an application’s stability and is determined at the beginning of the testing process. However, the testing is not thorough enough to guarantee product quality since the process only uses positive scenarios at this stage. The tester cannot predict how the application will behave in unanticipated situations. For example, consider the sign-in page discussed earlier. There could be sad path or multiple alternative path scenarios with valid results, but these are the most probable:
Scenario 1: Enter your email address and password, then click the sign-in button.
Result 1: No error message would be raised, thus letting execution continue successfully to the end.
Scenario 2: Enter a valid username but incorrect values into the password field and click the sign-in button.
Result 2: An invalid login error will be displayed, which will notify the user of entering junk characters into the password input fields.
Valid alternatives exist for this example, but we will only dive into the two listed above. Scenario 1 is the only positive test case for the login page of all the possible scenarios making it the default scenario. Entering invalid credentials in scenario two would be an unhappy path (sometimes referred to as bad path, sad path, or exception path).
Positive Testing in Unit-Tests
As we discussed in what is QA, the entire team is responsible for a product’s quality. One of the best opportunities to enhance a product’s quality is through Unit Testing. There are many benefits to assisting your developers in unit testing the happy paths. Among those benefits are:
- Refinement of the API before writing code (when using TDD)
- These are the most straightforward tests to create
- Confidence is obtained that earlier implemented code is still functioning per the expected output
- If using TDD, these tests explain the application’s use and how the code works
These tests act as documentation for the program. Check the tests before you start working with any existing required functionality, as they will explain how the system should operate. Good unit tests are easier to read than code and show you what edge case expectations should be.
Happy flow testing in Automation Testing
What is the problem with basing UI tests on the happy case scenarios? There are two main problems:
- Usually, Automated tests cover a small portion of the happy path scenarios they are targeting.
- Automation teams seldom stray far from the happy path when creating test cases based on GUI tests.
When creating automated tests, it’s always best to cover as many happy path testing scenarios as possible. However, automation teams should not end their efforts prematurely as there is much value in providing better code coverage.
How does Happy Path Testing differ from Sad Path Testing?
Happy path testing is a type of software testing that uses precise inputs to follow the expected path of an application to produce desired results without exercise exceptions. This method helps testers identify potential problems faster, saving them time and effort later.
Sad path testing, on the other hand, is a type of software testing that uses invalid or unexpected inputs in order to force the application to produce error messages. This way, testers can identify potential issues with the software before users do.
Both methods are important in order to ensure quality software, but conducting happy path testing first can help save time by quickly identifying areas that need improvement.
Conclusion for Happy Path Testing
Each type of testing has one goal: To deliver bug-free applications by finding as many bugs as possible. By providing valid test data, happy path testing is performed to confirm the code meets requirements. After testing the golden path to save time, the sad path, exceptional, or error conditions should only be tested.
Documenting positive tests is vital to all software projects and should be performed in a test case management tool. AccelaTest offers a free test case management tool for teams filled with features so you can confidently document all your test scenarios: happy path/golden path and unhappy path included. So start building out your testbed without breaking your budget today!