6 testing types, every developer should understand
If you Google testing types in software engineering, you’ll certainly end with a list of hundreds of tests. We are sure not all of them will be useful for you. There are also some testing types that have two or three names and some others are very similar even if they have different names. So things may be confusing
We decided to look into all testing types, and we selected the most common ones, the ones every developer should know about. This article discusses 6 types of tests that can greatly increase confidence in your application. It covers what each test does when it should be done and tools that can be used to perform them.
Automation Will Foster You, Automation Will Fail You
Automation in software delivery and deployment has cut time to market significantly but also introduced big risks.
An example of this occurred on 14th December 2020 when Google suffered a major outage that crippled popular services such as Gmail, YouTube, Google Drive, Google Docs, Google Calendar, and Google Play. The company explained that this was caused by a suite of automation tools that manage the quota of various resources allocated for services.
This example above shows how automation can fail, even in big companies that have experienced teams of engineers.
How can we minimize the risk of system failure related to automation? By performing the right test on all code and builds.
When implementing CI/CD pipelines, tests play a critical role in ensuring that only quality artifacts and builds move from one stage to the next. The right automated tests can be the difference between costly failure and profitable success.
In the next section, we’ll discuss 6 types of tests that can greatly increase the confidence in your application. We’ll cover what each test does, when it should be done, and, the tools that can be used to perform them.
- Unit Testing
This involves testing small sections of code to ensure that it functions as intended. In most programming languages the unit being tested can be a method, a function, a property, or a subroutine. The smaller the section of code to be tested the better because it’s meant to give a granular view of the program’s performance.
This type of test should be performed in isolation. For instance, when testing a function that returns a boolean based on whether the user is logged in or not, the test should only be limited to that function. This allows for very fast and rigorous tests that give conclusive results.
Unit tests are recommended for small units of the code dealing with domain logic that don’t require external dependencies. This is because when testing a section with dependencies such as a database, the test has to mimic the interactions with them instead of implementing actual interactions.
One of the commonly used open-source automated unit testing frameworks for java web applications is JUnit. Another GUI test automation tool that is commonly used is TestComplete.
- Integration Testing
This involves grouping components of your code and testing them together. In traditional software development, this test came after unit testing and before validation testing. In a DevOps environment where every commit triggers automated tests, you can perform an integration test before the unit test as modern systems offer flexibility in altering the core code logic.
This testing type can accommodate internal and external dependencies such as a database or API calls. This makes them more complex because you have to create the testing data, start services, or even alter configurations to create an environment that’s close to the real-world use case. The main objective of this type of test is to ensure that the different modules or components function as expected after combining them.
Worksoft is a powerful tool that allows for the creation of automated UI and end-to-end tests. Another tool that can be utilized for this type of test is Jenkins.
- Acceptance Testing
This type of test gives insight into a specified behavior of your application. This test is performed by the end-user or by a developer looking at it from an end user’s perspective. It is meant to give the users confidence that the system is working well.
It is guided by the users’ needs and is used to determine whether the program is ready for delivery.
Unit and integration tests are done and passed based on the software specifications and not on user experience. On the other hand, the acceptance test helps capture issues that might not have been clearly communicated to the developers.
Selenium is a testing tool that is used to automate function tests on the application UI by using WebDriver scripts.
- End-to-End Testing
This involves testing the application’s performance and functionality with inputs similar to those in a production environment. The end goal is to simulate an environment similar to that of an end-user and understand the performance.
For instance, assume you have an application that has database calls on some pages and API calls on other pages. An end-to-end test will check whether all the calls are verified calls and are functioning as expected. If one of the calls fails, the whole application is considered to have failed the test.
SmartBear is an automated end-to-end testing tool that supports both API and UI testing.
- Load Testing
This test is performed by simulating the usage of the application by multiple users concurrently. The goal here is to identify the performance bottlenecks and resolve them to ensure the applications function smoothly upon deployment.
This test provides important information regarding the application’s maximum operating capacity and the sufficiency of the infrastructure it is running on.
Some e-commerce companies have paid a high price after their websites crashed during peak shopping seasons due to traffic overload. An example of this is Debenhams’ website which crashed on a Black Friday due to high traffic.
Eggplant and LoadNinja are some of the tools that can be utilized in load testing.
- Penetration Testing
In simple terms, it is trying to break into an application for the purpose of testing its security. It allows you to see how secure your application will be when a real hacker tries to access it. A good example of this type of testing is Fuzzing. This involves the deployment of a significant payload with the goal of searching for vulnerabilities.
Veracode and Burp Suite are tools that can be used for automated penetration testing.
Tests are very important because they give the developers confidence that whatever is reaching the end-user functions perfectly. By automating the tests, the time between development and deployment to the end-users reduces significantly. This means a shorter time to market period which translates to higher profit and market share protection.
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