The Underlying Advantages of Unit Testing
Unit testing is one of the inseparable elements of the Agile software development process. It refers to a specialized method of software testing in computer programming, where individual parts of the application source code are thoroughly tested in order to see if they’re functioning properly.
The term “unit” here implies that every little software component that can be tested individually. Generally, a unit would be assigned to perform a specific cohesive function, which in turn makes sure that the application runs smoothly. Since the application unit is the smallest part of it, this makes it easy to design, implement, track, and examine test results for one unit at a time compared to doing it for a larger chunk of software coding. Besides, the errors and defects identified in a unit test can also be located very easily and corrected without any hassles.
How Unit Testing Works
The main objective of unit testing is to separate out each component of the application and then check if its functions are working correctly like they should. This process separates the tiniest piece of application that can be tested from the rest of the software coding and determine if it’s behaving as expected. Reports say that unit testing can help identify a great number of defects in the application, which are usually detected during the software use. As it also facilitates automation of the application testing process, it works to reduce the roadblocks by discovering the errors that reside in more complex areas of the software. In addition, while proper attention is given to each of the individual units, the test coverage is greatly enhanced as well.
While some coders and developers feel that it would be easier to test two units glued together and more cost-effective, testing them as a combined unit would often give unclear results. Here, the developer would be required to test the units individually once again to determine which of the components is actually faulty. Besides, the error can also be in the crossing point between the units or the way they were combined. Likewise, there can also be issues with the testing procedure. Therefore, it’s always sensible to go for unit testing instead of trying to find a flaw in an integrated module. After isolating each unit and testing them separately, designers can easily put them together and run a final test on the software as a whole.
The Benefits of Unit Testing
Unit testing is a standard procedure in Extreme Programming or XP, which is another type of Agile software development method used by coders and developers. This allows software developers and designers to follow the practice of Test-Driven Development or TDD, which helps them deliver quality results. In the TDD process, developers perform unit tests alongside developing the code for the software so they can test each component carefully before the final application is built. Below are some of the most valuable benefits of following the unit testing approach.
It Helps to Make the Entire Process Smooth
Unit testing makes the whole software coding process simpler and more “Agile”. When you include more features to an application, it might require you to redesign the earlier codes. Making alterations to an already-tested software can be both risky as well as expensive. Yet with unit testing in place, you can proceed with the task more confidently, as it makes changing individual units easier.
It Helps to Improve the Quality of the Code
Unit testing can also help enhance the quality of the application code. As it helps to identify each and every defect early on, you can repair the errors before the code is sent for integration testing. Besides, writing unit tests prior to coding would also help you consider all the aspects of the software problem. In turn, you are able to write a better-quality code for the application.
It Helps to Find All the Software Bugs Quickly
One of the key advantages of unit testing is that it allows identifying all the issues in the software components at the early development phases. All the software bugs can be detected very quickly with unit testing, which can be dealt appropriately by the developers and coders right then and there without affecting any other part of the software.
It Helps to Simplify Integration
With the help of unit testing, the software designers and developers can upgrade the system libraries as needed. It also makes refactoring the code later much simpler, while making sure that the module is working correctly. Unit testing can also be beneficial in maintaining the software code and upgrading it as and when required. What’s more, it can even help to reduce the flaws in the added features or reduce errors when altering the functionality of the application.
It Helps to Provide Documentation
Unit testing helps to verify the accuracy and quality of different parts of the software. This also provides documentation about the development process. Developers looking to figure out what functionalities are provided by what units can simply refer to the test results and understand the unit’s interface. This way, unit testing also makes it simpler for the developers to carry out any debugging process.
It Helps to Create Better Design
Creating a unit test for individual components of the software would help you think through the design of the application and come up with the best concepts. This helps you to stay focused on the task, while allowing you to generate better designs keeping the outcome in mind. Besides, testing separate units of the software would require you to define what each code is meant for. This in turn assists when assigning each code its individual responsibility so that the final software can have high structural consistency.
It Helps to Reduce the Costs
As unit testing allows you to become aware of the bugs early on, it can work to reduce the costs associated with software bug fixes. Finding and fixing software bugs in the later stages of application development can be a hectic and time-consuming procedure. It would be very difficult to identify which component is affected by the bug in such cases, meaning more software testing and more costs.