Why Unit Testing Is The Glue That Holds Your Software Applications Together?
How Unit Testing Holds Your Software together?
Unit testing checks each component of the software to check whether it functions as intended by the developers. What makes up a unit can differ depending on the type of programming used for development. The process of developing code is an extremely detailed and time-consuming task. Developers make numerous changes to the code in each stage of software development, and after each commit, it is highly likely that an error might have slipped into the code unnoticed.
If appropriate measures are not taken during the development stage, the final product may not function as expected. Though the code can be executed successfully, it might have numerous errors in its features and functionalities. Various testing methods have been created to ensure that the code does not have any mistakes and functions as the developers intended it to work.
The Levels of Software Testing
There are many levels of software testing that allows developers to check the behavior and performance of the code. These different testing levels are designed to identify any areas that are missing from the development lifecycle stages of the code. Generally, there are four levels of software testing: unit testing, integration testing, system testing, and acceptance testing. The primary purpose of these levels of testing is to systematically organize the process of identification of test cases in each stage of development.
Levels of Software Testing
Here are the functions of each level of software testing:
- Unit Testing – A unit is the smallest testable part of a system or application. Units can be compiled, loaded, and executed. The aim of unit testing is for developers to test the software by separating each part of it. By examining each module separately, it can be ensured whether each component of the software is functional or not.
- Integration Testing – To integrate means to combine. In the integration testing phase, different modules of the software are combined and tested as a group. This test is performed by testers to ensure proper data flow from one module to the other. Integration testing ensures that the integrated software is ready for system testing.
- System Testing – System testing is performed on software that has already been integrated and is complete. It checks whether the code meets all of the system’s compliance requirements. This includes checking the load, security, performance, and reliability of the interaction of components. System testing evaluates both functional and non-functional aspects of testing. Usually, it is the final test to verify that the software meets all specifications.
- Acceptance Testing – This test is conducted by the user or the customer after delivery of the product. It checks whether the requirements of the client are met. Sometimes, even stockholders can be involved in this process.
Recommended Read: How to unit test and practice test-driven development?
Everything You Need to Know About Unit Testing
In procedural programming, a program, procedure, or a function can be considered as a unit. Whereas in object-oriented programming, a unit could be a method, which is the part of a base class. Unit testing is the first level of software testing and is performed before integration testing.
Unit testing can be performed in two ways: manual or automated. However, automated unit testing is used more commonly and is more preferred by developers. In the automated process, a unit of the code written by the developer is pasted into the testing environment.
The test code is removed before the final application is deployed. To test the code more rigorously, the developer can copy the code and paste it into its testing environment rather than its natural environment. By isolating the code in this manner, it will reveal any unnecessary dependencies between the unit being tested and other units in the software. Developers generally use a UnitTest Framework to develop automated test cases. An automated framework allows the developer to determine specific criteria to verify the correctness of the code before testing it.
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Benefits of Unit Testing
Unit tests offer a variety of benefits to developers, the development environment, and the code itself. Here are some of the benefits that unit testing provides:
- Fewer Unexpected Errors – Since codes are made less interdependent, changes made in the code have fewer unintended results.
- Increases Reusability of Code – It preserves the code that is used in the current project and allows it to be reused in future projects.
- Speeds Up the Development Process – The effort required to identify and fix errors is significantly reduced. The saved time can be used to complete other phases in the development process faster than usual.
- Easy to Debug – If a test shows errors, only the most recently made changes need to be debugged.
- Reduced Costs – The cost of fixing errors detected during unit testing is cheaper to fix than errors detected at higher levels of software testing.
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