Why Unit Testing is Important

Whenever a new application is in development, unit testing is a vital part of the process and is typically performed by the developer. During this process, sections of code are isolated at a time and are systematically checked to ensure correctness, efficiency, and quality. There are numerous benefits to unit testing, several of which are outlined below.

1. Maximizing Agile Programming and Refactoring

During the coding process, a programmer has to keep in mind a myriad of factors to ensure that the final product correct and as lightweight, as is possible for it to be. However, the programmer also needs to make certain that if changes become necessary, refactoring can be safely and easily done.

Unit testing is the simplest way to assist in making for agile programming and refactoring because the isolated sections of code have already been tested for accuracy and help to minimize refactoring risks.

2. Find and Eliminate Any Bugs Early in the Process

Ultimately, the goal is to find no bugs and no issues to correct, right? But unit testing is there to ensure that any existing bugs are found early on so that they can be addressed and corrected before additional coding is layered on. While it might not feel like a positive thing to have a unit test reveal a problem, it’s good that it’s catching the issue now so that the bug doesn’t affect the final product.

3. Document Any and All Changes

Unit testing provides documentation for each section of coding that has been separated, allowing those who haven’t already directly worked with the code to locate and understand each individual section as necessary. This is invaluable in helping developers understand unit APIs without too much hassle.

4. Reduce Development Costs

As one can imagine, fixing problems after the product is complete is both time-consuming and costly. Not only do you have to sort back through a fully coded application’s worth of material, any bugs which may have been compounded and repeated throughout the application. Unit testing helps not only limit the amount of work that needs to be done after the application is completed it also reduces the time it takes to fix errors because it prevents developers from having to fix the same problem more than once.

5. Assists in Planning

Thanks to the documentation aspect of unit testing, developers are forced to think through the design of each individual section of code so that its function is determined before it’s written. This can prevent redundancies, incomplete sections, and nonsensical functions because it encourages better planning. Developers who implement unit testing in their applications will ultimately improve their creative and coding abilities thanks to this aspect of the process.

Conclusion

Unit testing is absolutely vital to the development process. It streamlines the debugging process and makes it more efficient, saves on time and costs for the developers, and even helps developers and programmers improve their craft through strategic planning. Without unit testing, people would inevitably wind up spending far more time on correcting problems within the code, which is both inefficient and incredibly frustrating. Using unit tests is a must in the development of any application.

Related References

Common Information Integration Testing Phases

Over the years I have seen a lot of patterns for Information integration testing process and these patterns will not be an exhaustive list of patterns a consultant will encounter over the course of a career.

However, the two most common patterns in the testing process are:

The Three Test Phase Pattern

In the three test phase pattern, normally, the environment and testing activities of SIT and SWIT are combined.

The Four Test Phase Pattern

In the four test phase pattern, normally, the environment and testing activities of SIT and SWIT are performed separately and, frequently, will have separate environments in the migration path.

Testing Phases

Unit Testing:

Testing of individual software components or modules. Typically done by the programmer and not by testers, as it requires detailed knowledge of the internal program design and code. may require developing test driver modules or test harnesses.

 System Integration Testing (SIT):

Integration testing – Testing of integrated modules to verify combined functionality after integration. Modules are typically code modules, individual applications, client and server applications on a network, etc. This type of testing is especially relevant to client/server and distributed systems. Testing performed to expose defects in the interfaces and in the interactions between integrated components or systems. See also component integration testing, system integration testing.

 Software Integration Test (SWIT)

Similar to system testing, involves testing of a complete application environment, including scheduling, in a situation that mimics real-world use, such as interacting with a database, using network communications, or interacting with other hardware, applications, or systems if appropriate.

 User Acceptance Testing (UAT):

Normally, this type of testing is done to verify if the system meets the customer specified requirements. Users or customers do this testing to determine whether to accept the application.  Formal testing with respect to user needs, requirements, and business processes conducted to determine whether or not a system satisfies the acceptance criteria and to enable the user, customers or other authorized entity to determine whether or not to accept the system.

Related References

Information Management Unit Testing

Information management projects generally have the following development work:

  • Data movement software;
  • Data conversion software;
  • Data cleansing routines;
  • Database development DDL; and
  • Business intelligence and reporting analytical solutions.

Module testing validates that each module’s logic satisfies requirements specified in the requirements specification.

Effective  Practices

  1. Should focus on testing individual modules to ensure that they perform to specification, handle all exceptions as expected, and produce the appropriate alerts to satisfy error handling.
  2. Should be performed in the development environment.
  3. Should be conducted by the software developer who develops the code.
  4. Should validate the module’s logic, adherence to functional requirements and adherence to technical standards.
  5. Should ensure that all module source code has been executed and each conditional logic branch followed.
  6. Test data and test results should be recorded and form part of the release package when the code moves to production.
  7. Should include a code review, which should:
  • Focus on reviewing code and test results to provide additional verification that the code conforms to data movement best practices and security requirement; and
  • Verify that test results confirm that all conditional logic paths were followed and that all error messages were tested properly.

Testing Procedures

  1. Review design specification with the designer.
  2. Prepare test plan before coding.
  3. Create test data and document expected test results.
  4. Ensure that test data validate the module’s logic, adherence to functional requirements and adherence to technical standards.
  5. Ensure that test data test all module source code and each conditional logic branch.
  6. Conduct unit test in a personal schema.
  7. Document test results.
  8. Place test data and test results in project documentation repository.
  9. Check code into the code repository.
  10. Participate in code readiness review with Lead Developer.
  11. Schedule code review with appropriate team members.
  12. Assign code review roles as follows:
  • Author, the developer who created the code;
  • Reader, a developer who will read the code during the code review—The reader may also be the author; and
  • Scribe, a developer who will take notes.

Code Review Procedures

  1. Validate that code readiness review has been completed.
  2. Read the code.
  3. Verify that code and test results conform to data movement best practices.
  4. Verify that all conditional logic paths were followed and that all error messages were tested properly.
  5. Verify that coding security vulnerability issues have been addressed.
  6. Verify that test data and test results have been placed in project documentation repository.
  7. Verify that code has been checked into the code repository.
  8. Document action items.

Testing strategies

  1. Unit test data should be created by the developer and should be low volume.
  2. All testing should occur in a developer’s personal schema.

Summary

Unit testing is generally conducted by the developer who develops the code and validates that each module’s logic satisfies requirements specified in the requirements specification.