If you were to prioritize different automated testing initiatives, unit testing would be in the top five spots. It is a central component of modern digital application QA initiatives. Unit testing ensures granular stability and resilience for any large digital application by validating the performance of its component modules.
However, over the years, software testing teams have adopted several different approaches with respect to unit testing. The diversity in approaches may prove to be confusing and challenging for enterprises when they decide on a unit testing strategy today.
Hence, it is important to know in detail about the best practices for unit testing in detail. But before going into the best practices, it is important to have a clear understanding of unit testing itself and ensure that all stakeholders within the enterprise are on the same page while discussing and agreeing upon the best practices.
In this blog, we will cover
What is Unit Testing?
In simple terms, unit testing refers to the testing of modular or functional units of a larger software application, done in isolation from other modules.
It tests the resilience, performance, and capacity of individual functional units in real-life conditions. The primary aim of unit testing is to ensure that their actual behavior aligns with their expected behavior.
QA teams conduct this testing without connecting the module to other external entities like databases, libraries, and file systems. In other words, each module is considered a small program that can run on its own and exhibits a diverse set of behavior for every operational scenario. With unit testing, developers get a clear idea of how their individual code blocks perform. It allows them to make quick adjustments in the event of any unexpected behavior.
Why is Unit Testing Important?
As the digital economy expands, the traditional focus on software testing and quality assurance is no longer an acceptable standard for enabling the best customer experience.
Every strategic approach in software testing needs to be given its due share of importance and allocated resources, both manpower, and tools, to facilitate seamless execution. While many leaders may stress giving more priority to areas like acceptance testing, the reality is that every test approach deserves a special focus as any let-downs may impact overall application quality.
Since more businesses are opt for cloud-based microservices architecture for their applications, there is an increased focus on the granular stability of the application. Testing cloud-based apps with microservices architecture are important, and unit testing finds a very crucial role in this regard.
With unit testing, developers can have more control over their individual code block quality before different components are integrated and then sent for regression testing. With unit testing, it is easier to identify and rectify mistakes or defects at the code level. This helps enterprises save costs significantly when compared to discovering defects later in the development cycle.
6 Best Practices for Unit Testing
Now that you have a clear idea of what is unit testing and why enterprises need to focus on implementing unit testing, it is time to learn about the best practices while performing unit tests.
We have outlined six major best practices for unit testing that will guarantee better results and ensure profitable and sustainable unit testing coverage for your application development projects.
Create reliable and clear unit tests
The first step to building a great unit testing practice is to write reliable unit tests. The test suite must be able to report the unexpected or suspicious behavior observed during testing. It should not be considered to simply report the stage at which the unit test succeeds in delivering an expected output or outcome.
Mandate automation in unit testing
Manual bias may often create unsatisfactory test results. It can lead to future complications when defects are not detected in the early stages. It is important to mandate automated testing strategies in your technology operations to prevent this situation. Automated unit testing delivers faster feedback and provides significantly higher code coverage and controlled parallel processing of test cases. It allows test engineers to work more efficiently with less time.
Prioritize attention to use cases
One of the critical aims of unit testing is to ensure that the code is easily maintainable. Moreover, ensure that new developers can understand it without any issues. By focusing on a single use case at a time and prioritizing the rest in sequence, it is easier to validate outcomes against expected results.
Speed up tests with better isolation
You should carry out Unit tests should in isolation without depending on other tests and mocking external dependencies. Making them simpler and independent modules can help in faster code coverage. Automation can boost it further. All these measures help to speed up the test activity. This is a critical factor that makes unit testing more appealing for developers. If unit tests consume too much time, it will be tough to convince developers to wait long for their code to be pushed into the next stage.
Integrate unit testing into the build process
While developers following a Test Driven Development (TDD) model will provide sufficient coverage for unit testing, it is always best to make unit tests a part of the build process for additional safety. While going in for end-to-end test automation, the build process will ensure that all unit tests are executed. And will also notify the respective stakeholders about any failure when any test fails.
Follow distinguishable and simple test nomenclature
Test activities are also a stage for documentation of process workflows. If every unit test is named in a standard convention that explains the scenario being tested, it will be easier to document. The further use of these cases across the organization when different stakeholders are trained on applications also becomes easy. The naming convention also enables better identification of defect causes for other test approaches like integration testing, acceptance testing, etc.
Enabling better ROI with automated testing approaches
Unit testing will be a critical component of modern application quality assurance initiatives. Facilitating a seamless execution of unit testing is what many enterprises will find hard to achieve. This is where automation of test activities can be a lifesaver.