I have been testing a desktop application for two years.I want to test web application.So, what knowledge should i possess and what should i learn before testing a web application?

2 Answers 2


In my experience, functional testing of websites isn't much different from functional testing of desktop applications.

The places I've found that can be different are:

  • Getting a clean test environment can be more complicated (it can also be next to impossible for extremely large corporate web applications)
  • There will be additional security concerns because web applications require online connectivity
  • Data paths can be more complicated: where a desktop application might use a database, in corporate applications that database will be inside the firewall. For a web application the hosting is likely to be in a DMZ area between the corporate entry point and the firewall, and communication with the database has to go through the firewall. There can also be multiple different services the web application uses for its data, where a desktop application tends to be more of a standalone thing.
  • You will probably need to know how to set up and use test SSL certificates. Many countries have laws about where SSL must be used - at minimum this will include logging in and any payment detail entry.
  • Learning basic HTML, CSS, and JavaScript will help you. Typically web applications include client-side programming in JavaScript, layout and styling through CSS, and base markup with HTML. Being able to understand these makes tracking down front-end bugs much easier.
  • Familiarity with multiple browsers and mobile OS emulators is also helpful. Unlike a desktop application, a web application is not in complete control of its appearance.
  • Familiarity with your web application's data model is essential. Unlike a desktop application, a web application is functionally stateless. Each page is independent of each other page and only knows about the data it's given, its rendering instructions, and the data it sends. This can make a web application behave quite differently than a desktop application.

On the plus side, it can often be easier to automate a web application, both because there are more good quality open source and free tools for web applications than there are for desktop applications, and because HTML is pretty much standardized these days and even if you can't get an automation handle through an ID, you can get it through the Document Object Model or XPath identifiers.

  • 2
    I would add basic HTTP/REST to the list as well, good list!
    – Sam Woods
    Commented Oct 10, 2013 at 19:49
  • Why isn't Ajax in the list? Commented Jul 18, 2014 at 2:28
  • @I19 - It isn't in the list because I'm not perfect and didn't get everything when I wrote this answer.
    – Kate Paulk
    Commented Jul 18, 2014 at 10:52

There are lots of changes you will see once you switch from Testing of Desktop to Web application. You can study about these points:

  1. Understand the client Server Architecture. How your Website is handling data.
  2. Does your testing needs to cover Security part. Learn about SQL injections or XSS.
  3. Scripts and controls or model which different websites are following.
  4. Performance or Load Testing.

Hope that will help.

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