Though the software development team adds testing to its development procedure, they tend to skip some steps due to time constraint. One of those steps happens to be unit testing that may sometimes prove fatal to their development business when ignored.
What is unit testing?
Unit testing is a software testing method where individual components of the software are tested to ensure that they are good enough to be used. It is usually performed by software developers to ensure that the code functions as expected and meets all the necessary requirements.
Unit testing is performed to maintain the quality of codes and to ensure that individual components of the source code is free of bugs or other vulnerabilities. The goal of unit testing is to separate individual aspects of software and to test them to ensure that they function correctly. When you talk about functioning properly, it means that any function or procedure returns proper values for the set of inputs given. At the same time, it should also show error when invalid input is given. Unit testing should be done before integration testing.
It is always better to perform unit testing right from the initial stages of software development so as to detect maximum defects from the beginning. This will help save time and efforts of having to fix the defects after the software is completed.
The need for unit testing in software development
Unit testing has an important role to play in software development for the advantages it provides.
• Unit tests ensure that your code works just like how you wanted them to, by reducing the defects.
• You save lots of money, time and effort by opting for unit testing. As you test simultaneously with software development, you need not spend another day after the development, to test your software, find defects and to fix them.
• Unit testing helps build a robust software that meets the necessary specifications.
• Detecting the defects by performing unit tests and fixing them in the beginning can help fix many other issues that may occur in later stages of software development and testing.
• Testing requires planning and therefore, instead of directly starting to write a code, you will have be forced to identify the conditions the code will be subjected to and the expected results, thereby, allowing you to have a better understanding of the design of the code you develop.
• Unit testing allows you to detect defects even when other components of the source code are not yet complete.
• It doesn’t cost much to fix a defect that is identified while unit testing compared to fixing the errors detected during other types of tests.
• Sometimes, you tend to overdo while developing software. You may end up adding unwanted features to it. However, when you perform unit testing, you test different components and once they have passed the test, you know that you won’t have to extend it anymore.
• When you add a component to the already existing software in future, you can just test it than having to break the already existing code. This allows you to easily enhance the design of the software whenever required.
• You’ll know how well every component of your source code performs through unit testing. This allows you to reuse your codes and tests for other projects in the future.
• Developers may need months to complete coding for a software. However, the lowered number of defects through unit testing can save lots of the development time.
Now that you see why unit testing is important, let’s understand the characteristics of a good unit test?
• They should be written for verifying each single units of code.
• Tests which are small and isolated would be easy to code and maintain.
• Unit tests should not be affected due to changes in other software elements.
• Should run swiftly.
Unit testing is highly beneficial. But they certainly do have limitations as they have to done with consistency and discipline.