Preventing Software Bugs From Happening

Software bugs are those very annoying “pests” in software applications. Software development pros should have a plan in place for when and how to fix bugs.

Types of Bugs

Missing Specifications

These are the scenarios you never imagined when designing your product. They are otherwise referred to as the “unknown” type. Their impact is unpredictable and can range from embarrassing to catastrophic.

Common Causes

Insufficient Research: You have probably heard the phrase that when you assume, you make an ass out of you and me. Assumed value is no different and can come with tricky nuances. When these are not researched, unknown bug hatches.

Ignorance: Someone realizes the “implementation is wrong” at release time, even though the expected behavior was not specified! Sound familiar? These bugs come into existence due to the lack 0f specifications

Implementation Defect

The specification was correct, but the implementation was defective. At first glance, this might look like the most common type of bug, but it is quite the opposite. As this study shows, only 15% of defects occur at the implementation stage. However, the study does not consider regression bugs

Common Causes

Regressions: Bugs lurk in large and complex code bases that are full of cobwebs. The industry average is 15–50 bugs per 1000 lines of code! Even the most skilled developers can introduce viruses as they can’t see the impact of their changes.

Smelly Code: “Smelly Code” is considered an indicator of weaknesses in the code design that are likely to introduce bugs. Some of the factors that contribute to this are management pressure to go faster, laziness, and above all — ignorance.

Insufficient Testing: Timelines get tight, and teams need to release implementations quickly. As a result, testing (manual or automated) is skipped or hurried, which means bugs that spawned at development time can casually stroll into production.

Incorrect Specification

The specification was wrong. Therefore the implementation is incorrect. Study shows that 50% of defects occur in specifications. The same message is resonated in other studies. Mistakes made and discovered later in the cycle can cost 50–100x more than if they are found earlier. Despite being the largest source of bugs by far, specifications still go into development unchallenged. 

 Software Bug Prevention Tips

Automate Testing 

Automated testing or test automation is a method in software testing that makes use of special software tools. Hence, to control the execution of tests and then compares actual test results with predicted or expected results. Implementing test automation can help testers complete the testing process on time. And meet the agile or continuous delivery cycles, which otherwise is not possible via manual testing.

Be Transparent and Open

Being transparent about defects and concerns in the software testing process will help testers uncover the real problems. Also, discussing issues openly with the team will give enough time to find the solution which probably will reduce the chances of errors. It may also happen that the product manager may postpone the release to avoid any further damage to the application.

Use Standard Defect Tracking Processes 

It is also advisable to use conventional and standardized defect tracking processes to avoid discrepancy in reporting bugs. If a bug reporting template or a method used by one tester is different from another tester, the developer might end up taking extra hours figuring out the data. Standardization in reporting bugs across the team will reduce the entire exercise of comprehending the scenarios and bug implication, leaving more time for developers to focus on resolving them.

Check the Application and Backlog from Time-to-time

Regardless of whether a company or a tester follows agile cycles or not, keeping a check on the application from time to time will help identify errors early in the process. Also, keeping track of the backlog and working on the issues at regular intervals will reduce the chances of errors being carried forward in the bugs with every release.

Use Bug Tracking Tools

With the advancement in technology and testing tools, there are plenty of bug tracking tools. With bug tracking tools, testers can report bugs to the developers and track their status on a shared repository. This reduces chances of future errors and helps resolve bugs as and when they are detected and reported by the testers.

In Conclusion

A software bug is an error, flaw, failure or fault in a computer program or system that causes it to produce an incorrect or unexpected result, or to behave in unintended ways.

To stay relevant, you need to keep things fresh. Twitter, Facebook, Gmail, Dropbox, and other companies continuously improve their software, as we can see in the What’s new section of app store listings. They make improvements to meet end-users’ evolving expectations along with changing web and mobile technology.

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