Software Errors

Software errors mean any deviation of results of the software in terms of accuracy, consistency or correctness. Software errors are very important to understand in terms of software testing because a tester has to know what are the different kinds of errors and what are the effects of those errors.

Software errors may occur due to different reasons, such as faults in coding, the problem in coding or programming the software, etc.

There are logical errors which can be induced into the software when inputs made by humans are critical for the software to understand.

There can be different types of software errors such as functionality error, communications error, missing command error, logical error, syntax error, compilation error, error handling error, calculation error, control flow errors, graphical error, system support error, etc.

Not only these, but there are different types of errors. But we shall confine our idea to some of the most commonly occurring errors.

Types of Errors

Functionality Error:

Functionality error occurs when any functionality of the software malfunctions or does not function at all. For example, when ATM pin is entered, then the next screen should prompt the user to perform all related task such as withdrawal, balance inquiry, or etc.

Another example is, after confirming the PIN and the balance and after prompting the user to receive the balance, the machine does not gives out the money. This is also a functional error. There are different reasons which may lead to functional error. They are:

  • Poor Network: There are certain functions for which the internet is required. Like when the PIN is verified, the later tasks are prompted, this only happens when the response to do so is made by the server.
  • Missing modules: There are internal functional dependencies, which means that there are certain functions which require different modules or functions to work. If due to installation errors or updates problems, certain packages are missing, then the function may not work that fine or smoothly.
  • Load on System: There can be load on the system and the new functionality which needs to be run may not be able to execute due to less system's memory, etc. And this may result in malfunctioning of the function relating to the functional error.

Communication Errors:

When we speak about communication, it means that the software should able product enough elements in the screen so that the user gets a full-fledged interface, to use the software.

When there are not enough elements in the interface and the user cannot communicate with the software's features and functionalities, we call it a communication error.

Communication error is most likely to happen in software where the functional icons of the software have to be loaded one by one into the screen making it a complete interface which can be accessible to the users. Also, this may happen in all other types of softwares.

Communication errors also include mis-function of functional icons. For example, a button named as insert, should perform insertion operation only, and not automatically close the window after saving.

Communication error may happen due to many reasons. The most common are listed below:

Mistakes of Programmers:

This is one of the biggest reasons for the induction of communication error in the software. Because of communication errors are not the examples of malfunctioning, but functioning something else due to mis-naming of the functionality icon. This happens when the programmers overlooked the naming, etc.

There are also scenarios when the functionalities are present in the software, but their links or buttons are not provided in the screens.

For example : A website which contains different pages and must contain HOME PAGE links in all its different pages. Now due to programming or coding error, the link may not be put inside a page, and the user may not be able to get homepage link on the page. This is also a communication error.

The misnaming of buttons, icons, labels, etc may also cause communication errors. The buttons should be named or labeled as the function name, it has to perform.

For example, Meaning of delete and remove is not the same. But some coders might think, that both are same and may end up with their intuition, which may later confuse the end user. Sometimes delete means erase from the system completely whether remove may mean that remove from one place.

This may sometime cause a hazardous effect if the user does not select the buttons carefully. As a normal person will never distinguish between delete and remove and will select anyone thinking both will work same, but unfortunately may end up losing important data.

Syntactic Error:

When we talk about syntactic errors it means spelling mistakes, grammatical mistakes, etc. These are the types of mistakes which are non-functional but, can be very much important when used to perform professional tasks.

softwares used in banks, hotels and at companies if found with syntactic errors, disrepute the company. There can be different reasons which may lead to the induction of communication errors. They are:

  • When programmers are less professional in terms of terminologies.
  • When the coding is done in a hurry.
  • When there is no time for cross-checking the software.
  • When the software is launched in different languages.

Error Handling Error:

This is kind of error in the software when the software becomes unable to address the error happening in the software. This can be better explained with an example.

For example, When there is an internal network error, the software should show display the consequences in the interface of the software. There can be an error in the software which cannot be avoided, but the software should be able to handle the error properly.

Let us see another example, when the software may be missing some of its important module, which is necessary for its normal functioning. Now when the user opens the application interface, there should be displayed in the interface about the missing modules or if continued, then ignore button should pop out.

Softwares are prone to errors and software has to handle the errors. Either the software can handle it automatically in the background, such as changing the network, if the existing connection goes weaker and may prompt the user on the interface to take necessary action.

Calculation Errors:

Calculation Errors are the errors, which are related to the data operation. These errors can be due to poor logic, incorrect formula, data type mismatch, coding errors, function call issues, etc.

Calculation errors are the most dangerous errors in softwares. Because, the other errors we have seen in the software are not that much serious, as if the software is used with utmost care, then there are not many problems, but this is not the case with calculation errors.

Calculation Errors may be induced in the software due to various reasons. They are as follows:

  • Poor programming skills.
  • Low knowledge about data types.
  • No cross-checking after making the necessary functions or modules.
  • Putting incorrection formulas inside the code.

Calculation errors are hard to identify, as not all the test cases will fail in the software. Only a few test critical test case will fail.

For example, A software which takes first_name as input should not take two titles with spaces. But, if this is considering the spaces also and accept the whole name, then it is not fulfilling the criteria for the field- first_name.

Resolution Error (Graphical Errors):

This type of error occurs when the software cannot cope up with the resolution of the interface. It can be seen some time that a part of the interface is not displayed on the screen. This type of error may be hard to identify, which means the interface may fit into the screen in a normal scenario.

But when new data are entered, or new elements or features are added into the screen, that time, the interface may have a number of contents and due to inability to adjust within, the interface may get stretched and a part of it may get out of the screen.

This is a graphical error. This error may result in missing functionalities, etc.

Missing Command Error:

This type of errors may put the user into a deadlock or confuse the user. For example, when a user just checks certain operations, without performing it actually, the user should be able to return to the original or the home screen.

For example, when the user visits a page for creating an account, he or she may not be interested after seeing that too many fields to be filled for the account creation, and so, the user may be able to return back to the home screen and continue with the homepage only.

But if there is no Cancel button on the account creation page, the user will not be able to return to the home page and have to load the homepage again to get into the home page.

This type of missing commands, buttons, icons from the screen is called the missing command errors.

Race Condition Error:

Race condition error is a software error when the software, is not able to sequence its tasks. A software must wait for the user's response or commands before, it initiates any tasks or considers the current tasks as complete.

For example, the user may be creating an account and entering his/ her phone number for sending an SMS for verifying the OTP. But when the phone number is half-entered, the SMS is sent. But as we know that the SMS will never reach the concerned phone number.

When any process is initiated automatically without the completion of its preceding steps. Then this is called a Race Condition Error.

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