There is no question that testing is an integral part of getting any process or creation right. However, testing methods are subject to change, leaving many to wonder if something that has worked in the past should (or could) be improved upon, or if it’s better to just leave well enough alone. Exploratory testing is a relatively new practice that is exciting some developers, and making others undeniably nervous. Should your business be using scripted or exploratory testing techniques? Here are some things to consider:

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Scripted Testing.

It’s a good idea to start with a clear understanding of what scripted testing is. Fortunately, that’s not difficult. Scripted testing is exactly what it sounds like: testing that is performed according to a script. The script is generally created by the developer, and that script is followed to a T, with no deviations. Testing scripts are based on a series of steps that the developer identifies as areas in which something may go wrong. The tester is simply the administrator of the script. Scripted testing is a logical and methodical testing method, and one that developers have been using for decades.

Exploratory Testing.

Exploratory testing, on the other hand, is relatively new to the game . . . and it certainly doesn’t play by the traditional rules of the game, either. This type of testing is what you might call the opposite of scripted testing. It is more freeform, allowing the tester to simply “explore” in a way that comes natural to the tester, finding glitches along the way and working them out accordingly. While exploratory testing may not be as sequential as scripted testing, it is arguably a more realistic approach in terms of end user experience. For example, exploratory testing of software is likely to reveal glitches that the typical user would run into, through a typical (or natural) course of action that might be very different from what a script dictates.

Scripted or Exploratory?

When you compare the two testing methods side by side, it’s easy to see why the issue has so many developers divided. Fortunately for you, you don’t have to choose one over the other. The truth is that both scripted and exploratory testing come with their own unique set of advantages and drawbacks. When it comes down to it, you’d be best off using each to your benefit.

There might be a lot of differences between scripted and exploratory testing, but one inarguable fact shines through: They are both proven to be effective methods of testing, and your business can benefit from what each has to offer, whether you do it yourself or use the tools at and other sites. It is advisable that you develop a testing strategy that makes the best use of these two testing methods.