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Functional vs Non-Functional Testing: Know The Differences

Software development has been widely accepted as a crucial part of the modern market. Testing is a vital component of every software development life cycle today to create a great product. The varied aspects of the software system get checked using different types of tests. It can be divided into And, a well-designed quality assurance strategy and a plan generally include both – functional and non-functional. Therefore, understanding the difference between the type of testing is crucial for testing and QA teams. While they serve very distinct purposes it is an important part of the application evaluation process.

Now, with software development comes the testing of said software; after all, one cannot possibly put software out in the market without first verifying its performance and other relevant factors and this is where functional and non-functional testing comes in. But what exactly are these testing philosophies? Read on and take an in-depth look at these two different forms of testing software:

Functional testing

One of the primary types of software testing methods, functional testing is used to corroborate that the given software’s operational execution is following the business and technical requirements laid down by the organization. To get the go-ahead under the purview of functional testing, every single feature of the software system must work exactly as specified and expected.

Let us now move on and take a look at different types of functional testing:

  • Unit testing
  • Smoke testing
  • Sanity testing
  • API testing
  • Regression testing

Non-functional testing

It goes without saying that whatever is not encompassed under functional testing is covered by non-functional testing. To be more specific, the software’s usability, reliability, scalability, and performance are put under the scanner with non-functional tests. Such tests seek to make sure that the interests of the targeted end-users for the software are fulfilled. This means unless these expectations are met, the product is not likely to be able to succeed.

Time to quickly walk you through some of the key types of non-functional testing:

  • Availability testing
  • Compatibility testing
  • Scalability testing
  • Load testing
  • Security testing

It is now time to take a look at the key points of differences between functional and non-functional testing:

The Goal of testing

While these two forms of testing are differentiated in many ways, one of the most crucial points of difference between the two is about ‘what’ is tested. Functional testing tests what the product does, i.e. its operations and actions, whereas non-functional types of testing involve analyzing an app’s behavior.


Any company that opts for functional testing bases the test on the requirements of the business. On the other hand, for non-functional testing, the target customers’ expectations, as well as the general performance requirements, serve as the foundation of non-functional testing.

Factors Analyzed

Under the purview of functional testing, the tests seek to understand if the actual results are in sync with the expected results. Whereas with non-functional testing, the tests evaluate the software’s response time, speed under specific conditions, etc.

Value of Customer feedback

When integrated into functional testing, customer feedback helps cut down the software’s risk factors. With non-functional testing, customer feedback serves to help improve and better understand customers’ expectations

There you have it ladies and gentlemen, a quick but effective look at some of the many, many types of functional testing and non-functional testing along with the key points of difference between the two. Now, as you can see, both these types of testing seek to help companies make and deliver a better product to the market.

You can, of course, opt for both functional and non-functional testing methods to verify the software’s functionality and ensure top-notch quality. Many companies also choose to use only one form of testing instead of both. Either way, just see to it that you take your time to analyze the decision before signing the dotted line.

Written By

A professional and security-oriented programmer having more than 6 years of experience in designing, implementing, testing and supporting mobile apps developed. Being techno geek, I love to read & share about the latest updates in technology including but not limited to IoTs, AI, application development, etc. In my free time, I like to play football, watch movies and explore new places. I have been learning mobile app development since 2012. With having a good understanding of programming languages, I develop native as well as web apps for both iOS & Android using latest tools & technologies. I am also having experience in both front-end & back-end development.

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