Installation testing

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Installation testing is a kind of quality assurance work in the software industry that focuses on what customers will need to do to install and set up the new software successfully. The testing process may involve full, partial or upgrades install/uninstall processes.

This testing is typically done by the software testing engineer in conjunction with the configuration manager. Implementation testing is usually defined as testing which places a compiled version of code into the testing or pre-production environment, from which it may or may not progress into production. This generally takes place outside of the software development environment to limit code corruption from other future or past releases (or from the use of the wrong version of dependencies such as shared libraries) which may reside on the development environment.

The simplest installation approach is to run an install program, sometimes called package software. This package software typically uses a setup program which acts as a multi-configuration wrapper and which may allow the software to be installed on a variety of machine and/or operating environments. Every possible configuration should receive an appropriate level of testing so that it can be released to customers with confidence.

In distributed systems, particularly where software is to be released into an already live target environment (such as an operational website) installation (or software deployment as it is sometimes called) can involve database schema changes as well as the installation of new software. Deployment plans in such circumstances may include back-out procedures whose use is intended to roll the target environment back if the deployment is unsuccessful. Ideally, the deployment plan itself should be tested in an environment that is a replica of the live environment. A factor that can increase the organizational requirements of such an exercise is the need to synchronize the data in the test deployment environment with that in the live environment with minimum disruption to live operation. This type of implementation may include testing of the processes which take place during the installation or upgrade of a multi-tier application. This type of testing is commonly compared to a dress rehearsal or may even be called a “dry run”.