Script debugging: Difference between testing and debugging

Testing and debugging are two key terms that are used interchangeably because of their similarities. Testing and debugging processes are used to improve the quality of software development thereby making it error-free. Testing and debugging processes are differentiated in the sense, testing seems to find the defects in the software while debugging on the other hand help identify issues in the code. Here are some nice guides on this topic: How to debug a PowerShell script, how to install and debug logs with the CMTrace Tool, how to perform PowerShell syntax check using PSScriptAnalyzer, and Microsoft Bitlocker Administration and Management: Effect of renaming an MBAM or BitLocker protected Computer“.

The main difference between testing and debugging is that testing is the process of finding and locating defects of the software while debugging is the process of fixing the identified defects I will be discussing the major differences between the two terms as we proceed further in this article.

Testing: As described previously, testing is a process of exploring the system to find defects present in the software, and also define what will happen once these defects occur. This process is performed in the testing phase by the testing team, and after this phase, they will report to the development team and they can now proceed with debugging.

During testing, different techniques may be used. This includes providing both correct and incorrect inputs, intentionally wrong inputs, and other different inputs with the objective of assessing the response of the program to different situations. While testing a program using different data, the program may flag a bug that needs to be corrected. With this happening, I would like to throw more light on what is a bug.

A bug is a programming error that affects the execution of a program. The program may not function properly or does not execute at all. Some of the bugs may be caused by the omission of a code or the use of a wrong one.

Here are some key terms I would like to discuss before going into more detail. There are several categories of automated testing, all of which are used in a continuous delivery pipeline. For the purposes of Windows PowerShell code (scripts), I will be covering these various types of tests below.
– Unit tests
– Integration tests
– Acceptance tests

Unit test

Unit testing is usually the fastest type of testing out there, and it is the first thing that will be run in your pipeline. Unit tests are responsible for verifying the behavior of a single unit of code.

Integration test

Integrated testing encompasses testing all your codes at once. Instead of isolating your code from the other parts, you run everything in order to ascertain its correctness and to ensure all the bits are working together

Acceptance tests

Acceptance tests are fundamentally the same as integration tests, except they refer to tests that you run after your code is deployed into production. You can use them to ensure everything is up and running correctly. Note: This is often referred to as “smoke tests.”

Benefits of Software Testing

Below are some benefits that can be derived from software testing.
– Helps in identifying which leads to bug fixing.
– Improves the performance of the software.
– Helps in determining the root cause analysis.
– It provides the reliability of software.


Debugging on the other hand varies in degree of complexity. There are some simple debugging such as a small program designed for in-house use etc. Due to the relatively short length of the program, the debugging done by a programmer will be relatively simple.

Once the development team received the report from the testing team as discussed above, they will swing into action and start debugging. The purpose of this phase is to locate the bug and get rid of it. This step is usually done manually. Most tools are capable of debugging and this is referred to as a “debugger” which is used in locating the bugs in most of programming environments.

When an error or bug is detected in a program, it must be corrected. Otherwise, the objective of developing the program is defeated. You cannot work when a system (software is not running correctly or it is flawed). This can raise one's eyebrow and can put your data at risk as the case maybe.

The process of removing or correcting these errors is called debugging. See this article on how debugging of a PowerShell script is performed. See also how to pause a PowerShell script.

Benefits of Debugging
- It reports an error condition immediately.
- In addition to this, it provides a maximum of useful information.
- Debugging allows straightforward interpretation.
- Minimizing useless and also distracting information.
- Avoids complex one-use testing code.
- Saves time and likewise energy in software development.
- Finally, it will enable early detection of an error.

Now that we have discussed some key terms above, it is time to

Performed by testersPerformed by developer or development (system admin) team
Can be done manually or automaticallyCan only be done manually
Can be predefined when starting testing. The test result could be predictedStart with unknown conditions and it is hard to predict the result
Find the programming failureDemonstrate that it’s only an unattended small mistake
Could be done automatically by using automation testing toolsAutomatic debugging of software is still a dream of programmers
The purpose is to find the bugThe purpose is to find the cause of a bug
Testing starts with known conditions, uses predefined procedures and has predictable outcomesDebugging starts from possibly unknown initial conditions and the end can not be predicted except statistically
Testing can and should be planned, designed and scheduledProcedure and duration of debugging cannot be so constrained
Testing is a demonstration of error or apparent correctnessDebugging is deductive process
Testing proves a programmers failureDebugging is the programmers  vindication(Justification)
Much testing can be done without design knowledgeDebugging is impossible without detailed design knowledge
Testing can often be done by an outsiderDebugging must be done by an insider
Most of the test execution and design can be automatedAutomated debugging is still a dream.

Here is a very good article that covers testing vs debugging, functions vs structure, designer vs tester, modularity vs efficiency, and Builder vs Buyer, see the following link. For more information on testing and debugging, see the following article.

These are the main Differences between Testing and Debugging, the key difference is that debugging is performed by developers and sometimes system administrators and they fix the issues filed by testers in debugging phase. The result of debugging usually gets the issue resolved and makes it available for retesting.

I hope you found this blog post helpful. Please let me know in the comment session if you have any questions.

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