How to Test a Trading Platform (like a crypto exchange)
Online trading keeps superseding traditional brokers in mainstream use. Really, there are so many advantages that modern trading systems can offer. They are easy to deal with, bring the thrill of real-time trading whenever you wish, and allow for faster transactions.
Good UX, seamless operation of all functional features, high performance, and, of course, security. This is a cut-and-dried standard laying at the core of a successful platform or application that also happens to be the biggest challenge for trading software developers. They have to bring their product the closest to what users want it to be.
Can it keep up with their expectations? In the domain where every mistake costs money, literally, — testing and QA are indispensable.
In this article, we’ll discuss everything (or almost everything) that should be done to check the quality of your software. It involves the following:
- key tech-related challenges involved with trading systems
- core aspects and bottlenecks of the trading system testing process
- benefits of independent testing and necessary competencies the QA team should possess
Shall we start?
Trading Platforms: Necessary Features and Basic Requirements
Essentially, the trading platform is software that brings investors and traders together. Here they can buy and sell different financial instruments (like currencies, for example).
There are many functional features a trading platform should include. First of all, it is a statistics dashboard. The platform needs to keep up with the continuous increase in the volume of trades and be able to manage huge amounts of market data. Secondly, there should be a simple yet reliable authentication process. Convenient CRM and Admin/User functionality go next. User requests, status indicators, personal accounts, and access permissions need to be managed at one click. The Security Settings module allows users to feel safe while working with the platform. Depositing, Withdrawals, and Assets Transfer can all be combined as the Wallets module. Besides, let’s not forget about fast search tools. The system should allow to search and filter rates, currencies, and indexes swiftly.
Furthermore, we should also consider the core non-functional requirements for trading software. They could make a long list worthy of a gilded frame or a special place in the pinboard collage of a developer. However, let’s just outline some of them briefly:
- sufficient level of performance and multiprocessing
- seamless communication with other systems, i.e. interoperability
- reliability, or ability to overcome bottlenecks and work despite failures
All of the mentioned sounds fair, right? Traders would love to use a platform that meets all the quality requirements. But perfection never comes easy. No one knows it better than software developers.
Tech-related Challenges Involved With Trading Platforms
The complexity of trading platforms brings about countless challenges that the development team has to deal with. Like, for example, developing complex trading scenarios that reflect real-time trading. Or resolving technical issues that arise due to multiple systems working through several interface gateways. Not to mention the existence of legacy applications, regulatory compliance issues, and 3rd party apps perpetually affecting the platform. Did we include performance issues due to latency levels? And yes, management of multiple API’s is another type of developer’s headache.
Ready to assess how your team manages to deal with all these challenges? To detect possible flaws? To find the optimal way to fix them? Right, it is time to get your software tested.
Trading Platforms and Applications Testing
When it comes to trading platforms, the testing scope should cover the evaluation of the overall system performance, functionality, speed, and security.
It helps to validate your trading software against the functional requirements. Testing each functionality and the complexity of multiple, real-time order transactions guarantees a feature-rich online trading platform with all the essential tools required for a satisfying trading experience.
In trading systems, this testing type is especially important because losses caused by data leakage can be huge.
The interface is the connection (a set of commands, messages, etc.) that integrates and facilitates the communication between software components. Interface testing serves to check the server execution, error handling, the security aspect, and the impact of network failure on the communication between the components. The test environment should be similar to that of the real-time scenario.
Because data safety should be a top priority. This testing type serves to validate security across all layers of the software, detect vulnerabilities, ensure data integrity, and protect sensitive information. Security testing also helps in preventing future attacks as the final report usually comes with improvement suggestions. They are necessary for the data security measures updates.
The most vulnerable places in the trading system are user authentication, authorization, and profile editing, how securely the data is transferred to outside the platform, transaction and user wallet, trading, and API.
The focus of performance testing lies in the system’s speed, stability, and scalability assessed under a particular workload. It covers the main trading application, its subsystems, and the interfaces connecting them.
Performance issues in trading software are often brought about by latency levels and handling of SLA’s. In simple terms, latency is a delay between a request and a response. Therefore, excessive latency negatively affects trader experience. SLA’s (service level agreements) establish customer expectations regarding product performance and quality, including availability and uptime percentage, specific performance benchmarks, user request response time, how fast issues get resolved, etc. Performance testing helps to keep up with those expectations.
It is a part of functional testing — a crucial part. Regression testing allows confirming that a recent change in the code has not affected existing features.
These are five major testing types that should be performed, but the full list is much longer. Before you rush into giving them a try, it would be necessary to consider one more thing. In terms of software testing, you cannot get much more complex an environment than a trading one. But no worries, we’ll help you to survive.
Key challenges with testing a trading platform
The major challenge of trading platform testing is that multiple systems are involved. All of them interact with each other using a variety of languages, gateways, and protocols — it generates the complex nature of a trading environment that the test cases and scenarios should be able to capture.
Next, there might be difficulties with the real-time simulation of the system operation under the expected load. Essential for performance testing, it helps to assess whether the system can cope with high volumes of trades.
Regulation makes another substantial obstacle that requires special attention. Therefore, the market infrastructure regulation account fields that ensure compliance with the regulatory requirements, should be taken into consideration in test scripts.
Benefits of Independent Testing & Key Competencies of a QA Team
Let’s hope that we managed to provide the reader with enough reasons why trading systems REALLY require testing. Now we should dig a little deeper to prove that the customized testing activities conducted by the skilled team of QA professionals would also come in handy for ensuring the maximum quality of your product.
First of all, developers should better not test the software they create. Sometimes their parental feelings towards the code prevent them from acknowledging even the possibility of flaws. They obviously lack a real-user perspective. And, yes, they do not prioritize testing.
QA engineers, on the other hand, are eagle-eyed bug hunters who easily recognize the system’s weak spots and create test cases to detect every flaw. Development teams either hire in-house QA’s or appoint third-party service providers. They also can work in perfect tandem when the project requires it. Like, when the project requires a specialized testing skill set the internal team can’t provide. Or the in-house team just cannot keep up with the workload. Or it would be beneficial to implement test automation. Well, right, independent testing is always a great idea.
Consider the following when choosing a QA service provider:
- Expertise in performing full-cycle testing
- Flexibility and ability to react quickly
- Large test infrastructure
- Ability to analyze key findings in business terms and produce insightful reports
- Willingness to adjust to any project management methodology
- Seamless collaboration with in-house and remote dev teams, constant communication, and details negotiation
- Understanding of the project’s pain-points and ability to come up with the right testing strategy
Trading systems are indeed challenging to deal with. They also require extra skills and expertise. Entrust the quality of your product to the experienced software testing service provider. We offer the testing services on-demand, work with projects of any scale, and are ready to start with a few days’ advance notice. To get more information about Software Testing & QA, check out our services or chat with us right away!
Originally published at https://blog.qatestlab.com on November 5, 2020.