What is Monkey Testing? [Types, Pros, and Cons]

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What is Monkey Testing? [Types, Pros, and Cons]

Sameeksha Medewar
Last updated on June 9, 2022

    In the software development life cycle (SDLC), the testing phase is indispensable to ensure that a software product under development complies with the quality standards and the specified requirements. A team of professionals carries out different kinds of testing on the software product to ensure that it is free from defects and bugs and functions as expected.

    Among all, monkey testing is a popular type of software testing. This type of testing checks the behavior of the software product when the users provide random data. As a result, we also refer to monkey testing as random testing.

    In this blog post, we shall make you familiar with what exactly monkey testing is, its features, and its usage. Also, it will help you to get acquainted with the types, advantages, and disadvantages of monkey testing.

    So, let us start our discussion!

    What is Monkey Testing?

    Monkey testing or random testing involves feeding a particular software product under development with random input data and checking its behavior, whether it crashes or not. The sole purpose of this type of testing is to ensure that the software product functions as expected and does not crash even if we provide any random input.

    Anyone can perform this type of testing, may it be a tester, developer, or end-user. Moreover, random testing does not involve creating any predefined test cases and does not follow any rules or strategies.

    You might be wondering about the name of this type of testing. Well, here is the reason: if we give a system to a monkey, it will randomly do anything on it that they want. Similarly, the testers provide random input to the software product with the aim of finding bugs and defects.

    In addition, this type of testing works well when the testers perform load or stress testing on the software product, where they check the maximum load capacity of that product by providing countless random inputs.

    We can even refer to monkey testing or random testing as stochastic testing. This type of testing is ideal for desktop, web, and mobile applications. Also, it is a time-saving and effortless type of testing.

    Origin of Monkey Testing

    Steve Capps first implemented random testing in 1983 to test two Mac software, namely Macwrite and MacPaint. However, the term ‘monkey testing’ was first found in one book by Glenford J. Myers named ‘The Art of Software Testing’ in 1979.

    There was a scarcity of memory in the original Mac system. After initiating Macwrite and MacPaint programs, there was little space left on the Mac. As a result, both these software programs leveraged buffers.

    As a result, it became essential to use a testing method that consumes less memory. With this aim, Steve Capps performed random testing on Macwrite and MacPaint by providing random inputs.

    Why Monkey Testing?

    Consider that you have created a large web application and want to make it live for end-users. It is obvious that you are unknown to the users who will use your application.

    However, you will find good as well as nasty users who will use your application. Nasty users try providing any kind of input data or strange inputs to your web application, which may sometimes break the application.

    As a result, it becomes essential for testers to perform random testing on a software product before making it live to the end-users.

    Features

    The following are the salient features of random testing:

    • There are no specifications or rules while performing random testing.
    • It is spontaneous testing that does not require any predefined test cases.
    • It ensures that the software product, after releasing it publicly, is capable of accepting any strange input and does not crash.
    • This type of testing identifies defects that are not detected during regular checks.
    • It requires extremely less time and effort than other types of software testing .
    • It ensures the reliability and efficiency of the software product.

    Types of Monkey Testing

    There are three different types of random testing, namely Dumb, Smart, and Brilliant. Let us discuss each of these types below.

    1. Dumb Monkey Testing

    Dumb monkey testing is a simple testing technique. In this type of testing, testers are not aware of the software application’s features or capabilities and the workflow. Without knowing about the software product, they provide random inputs to it. In addition, they do not even know whether the inputs they are providing are valid or invalid.

    Since testers are unaware of the software product’s features and workflow and the inputs they provide, this type of testing is also referred to as ignorant monkeys.

    It uncovers a fewer number of bugs than smart monkey testing. However, it detects errors that are extremely difficult to find using other types of testing.

    2. Smart Monkey Testing

    Smart monkey testing is in contrast to the one we discussed above. A group of testers with in-depth knowledge of the software product’s features and workflow performs this type of testing. Also, they know that they are providing valid input data to the software product.

    In other words, the testers have complete knowledge of the software product, and they navigate through it and provide valid input data.

    It is ideal for performing load testing and stress testing. The primary aim of testers in this type of testing is to break the software product, and when they find an error, they report it to the development team.

    3. Brilliant Monkey Testing

    This type of testing is an advanced technique that is one step ahead of smart monkey testing. In this type of testing, the team of testers has sound knowledge of the software product. Also, they can identify bugs or errors that may be found in the software product in the future.

    Since testers know how to use the software product, they test it from the user’s point of view.

    Advantages and Disadvantages of Monkey Testing

    Along with notable benefits, random testing comes with a few drawbacks that can suppress its abilities. Let us now throw light on the advantages and disadvantages of monkey testing.

    Advantages

    • Random testing does not require testing professionals to have in-depth knowledge about the application.
    • This type of testing is an ideal approach to testing the reliability of the software product.
    • It is a cost-effective method.
    • Since there is no specific strategy and no predefined test cases, random testing is easy to set up and implement.
    • You can perform stress testing and load testing on the software product in an ad-hoc manner.
    • Random testing has the ability to discover new bugs in the software product that would not be able to be detected using other types of testing methods.
    • The randomness of this type of testing finds out the significant bugs and saves the system from the complete breakdown.

    Disadvantages

    • Since this type of testing uncovers unexpected issues in the software product, evaluating those issues is time-consuming and challenging.
    • There may be a case in random testing where it identifies the bugs out of the business requirements.
    • There is no specific test coverage since the testers carry out this type of testing randomly.
    • The testing professionals do not guarantee the accuracy of test cases.

    Monkey Testing vs Adhoc Testing

    Many people get confused between random testing and Adhoc testing and end up considering that both are the same. However, this is not the case.

    Like random testing, Adhoc testing is also an unstructured and unplanned type of software testing that aims to break the software system and detect bugs and errors by randomly using it.

    In addition, it does not use any document or test design techniques to create test cases since it is a random and unplanned testing technique that the testers carry out on any part of an application.

    Now, you might be wondering what sets random testing and Adhoc testing apart. The following table will help you know the major differences between random and Adhoc testing:

    Monkey or Random Testing Adhoc Testing
    A tester, developer, or user can carry out random testing. A tester or developer with sound knowledge of the software product can perform Adhoc testing.
    In random testing, an individual provides random valid and invalid inputs to the software product to check whether it crashes or not. In Adhoc testing, one who performs the test aims to break the software system and detect bugs or errors.
    This type of testing uncovers errors or defects that other types of software testing cannot. Adhoc testing does not guarantee the discovery of errors or bugs in the software product.
    Testers with and without sound knowledge of the software product’s functionalities and workflow can perform random testing. It is necessary for a tester to have in-depth knowledge of the functionalities and workflow of the software product under test.
    The following are the three types of random testing:
    • Dumb Monkey Testing
    • Smart Monkey Testing
    • Brilliant Monkey Testing
    The following are the three types of Adhoc testing:
    • Buddy Testing
    • Pair Testing
    • Monkey Testing

    Conclusion

    Monkey testing, also known as random or stochastic testing, is an unplanned and unstructured type of software testing. It involves providing random inputs to the software product to check whether it crashes or not.

    Also, the individual who performs this type of testing may or may not be aware of the features or workflow of the software product under testing. More importantly, it uncovers defects or errors that other types of software testing would not be able to do so.

    We hope this blog post has helped you gain in-depth insights into monkey testing. Still, if you have any doubts regarding this topic, feel free to share them in the comments section below.

    Frequently Asked Questions

    1. What is another name for monkey testing?

    We can refer to monkey testing as random testing, and more technically, stochastic testing. Also, we can sometimes refer to it as Fuzz testing.

    2. What is Adhoc testing?

    Adhoc testing is an unstructured and unplanned type of testing that does not leverage any documentation or test design techniques to create test cases. It aims to crash the system by randomly using it to find potential bugs or errors.

    3. Who can perform random testing?

    Anyone can perform random testing, such as a tester, developer, or user since it does not require the knowledge of the software product under testing.

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