Unit testing is a vital part of the software development process, but it can be time-consuming and repetitive. Automating unit tests can help to speed up the process and make it more efficient. In this guide, we will explore the benefits of automated unit tests and how to do them effectively.
There are several benefits to automating your unit tests. The main benefit is that it makes testing faster. It also reduces the repetition of the testing process and makes it more efficient. Also, having your automated test suite easily accessible makes it easy for you to maintain the code base and identify any regressions as they occur.
However, automating your unit tests may be harder than expected because of some challenges. Such as browser issues, limited resources, and poor API support. Even though it is hard, you can still automate your unit tests. With this guide, we will help you tackle these challenges by providing you with tips and tricks.
What are Unit Tests?
Unit tests are small automated test cases that verify the functionality of a single unit of code (for example, a method or class) and ensure that it behaves as expected. There are two types of unit tests: System-level and Integration/Integration level. System-level tests are meant to verify a complete feature while integration testing verifies whether the pieces come together properly to produce an actual program output in the form of web pages, forms, emails, batch files and so on. Unit tests are the most common type of automated test.
The basic idea behind a unit test is that it should be easy to run and work independently from other parts of your system. This means that you are able to execute one part (a unit) of your application without any other parts of the application being present. To do this, each individual piece of your application should be wrapped up in its own classes, which you can then easily access.
What are Integration Tests?
An integration test is a unit test that requires access to the entire application or server. These types of tests are the most stringent and require that all of the components of your system pass successfully. This makes them appropriate for determining whether everything works as expected.
Unit tests have been around since the early days of programming, but they became popular first with programmers in Java, Python and C++ due to their isolation from other parts. The concept has been picked up by web developers who need to isolate both themselves and their code from external factors such as running in different environments (e.g., production vs. staging). Today, interoperability and integration testing form an integral part of IoT systems.
What is Automated Testing?
The automated testing market size is expected to grow at a rate of over 16% annually from 2021 to 2027. Automated testing, which is sometimes called continuous testing, is a programming technique where computer software automatically executes tests on source code to verify that the code works correctly. We will explore how to automate unit testing in this guide.
Is it Possible to Automate Unit Tests?
While automated unit tests are possible, they require a lot of infrastructures and it’s not something that should be done during the initial stages of development. In fact, they shouldn’t detract from your development time at all.
This means that instead of trying to automate unit testing in Selenium WebDriver, you should set up a continuous integration server with Jenkins or Travis CI, which will now allow you to run your unit tests for every commit and every pull request.
Automated Unit Testing Tools
Selenium has been around for many years and it’s one of the most popular tools for writing automated tests in Java, Python, and C++. It’s essentially an integration testing tool that uses a browser to test your web application or service. Selenium is among the most popular tools in the world, but it’s also one of the most complicated and difficult to use as a developer.
Types of Automated Unit Testing
The most common form of testing is known as a unit test. This is where the smallest possible part of your application is tested in isolation to make sure that it works correctly. In some cases, people will just use the word “test” instead of “unit test”, but they are essentially the same thing.
Unit tests are made up of code that are small and easy to write, which means that they can be written and maintained by a single programmer. This also makes them very fast to execute and maintain. Unit tests are also isolated from other components in your system because they only run against one part of your system at a time. There are also automated unit testing tools like Citrus for C++ programs.
Selenium has been installed on over 50 million machines around the world, so it’s definitely one of the leading tools for unit tests.
Why Automate Unit Tests
Several research studies point out the effectiveness of unit test automation. Here are some reasons why you should consider automating your unit tests:
1) Saves Time
Automating your unit tests will save time because you only need to run a single script that can execute all of your test cases at once. This means you don’t have to manually execute each test case one by one which saves time and effort.
2) Improves Reliability
Automating your unit tests will improve the reliability of the code because you have to run only a single test case instead of manually executing it.
3) Enhances Testing Efficiency
Automating your unit tests will enhance your testing efficiency because it is not tedious repeatedly write and run test cases one by one.
4) Increases Code Coverage
As you write more and more code, it can be difficult to reach 100 percent code coverage as you need to write new tests as well. However, the more automated unit tests you write, then the higher your code coverage will be so that your program can be tested thoroughly against all possible scenarios even if new or unexpected scenarios arise in future releases or updates.
5) Reduces Maintenance Cost
Automating your unit tests will reduce the time it takes to fix bugs because you only have to execute a single automated test case to verify whether there is a regression or not.
6) Ensures the Coherence of Your Codebase
By automating your unit tests, you will have an objective measure of how well your code is doing and what parts need fixing or improvement.
Benefits of Automating Unit Tests
From better data quality validation for large-scale tests to unearthing different DevOps capabilities, you can save a lot of time by automating unit tests. Manual execution requires that you first set up the environment, and then execute the tests. This can be a lengthy process, especially if you have to run many tests or if the tests are long-running scripts. With automated unit testing, you can write small scripts to run all your unit tests with just one command.
Automated system testing also frees up your developers to focus on writing code instead of constantly reviewing their own work. This enables them to spend more time improving the application and less time reviewing code for bugs or errors.
Lastly, automated unit tests are a great way to check for regression. As new features are added to your application, you can use your automated unit test suite to verify that existing functionality is not being broken.
Benefits of System Testing
Automating your unit tests will save you a lot of money in the long term if you want to launch new applications. For example, when you have a large program with departments working on different sections and automatically running the tests, you are able to manage a higher quality and faster release cycle because all the devs can focus on new features rather than having to manually go through all the existing code. Also, as your application grows, it will be less problematic to keep maintaining it by running all tests at least once every day.
2. Reduces the Chance of Bugs
Automated testing is a great way to make sure that your application stays bug-free. On one hand, you can use your automated test suite to ensure that new features’ code won’t break anything, or even introduce new bugs into your application. On the other hand, you can use your tests to detect regressions by quickly and easily running them against the whole application.
This is especially useful when you are looking for small changes in your code that could cause regression. Most modern version control systems (VCS) allow you to track all actions taken in files over time, so it’s usually easy to locate and review files where errors were introduced and then fix them.
3. More Reliable
It is likely that automated testing will detect more errors in your codebase than manual testing. Manual testers are humans, and they might miss things. On the other hand, automation should not make assumptions and therefore it is less likely to make mistakes because it is a machine performing the test rather than a human attempting to perform the same test manually. With automated tests, you can run only those tests that you need, and they are frequently run because they are common to many projects at most companies today.
4. Faster and More Efficient to Run
Running tests manually is time-consuming. For example, it can take a full-time paid employee many days to go through all the automated tests, while they might require only a few minutes of work in an automated framework like Selenium. This meant that it’s possible to improve test coverage, which results in higher reliability and quicker bug fixes.
You can also reduce manual bug fixing costs by reducing the amount of testing needed to fix errors. When you reduce the number of bugs, you reduce the number of bugs being fixed by humans and increase direct coding hours.
5. More secure
Manual tests also have a bigger chance of introducing errors. Automated tests, on the other hand, tend to be less “human-error prone”, and capable of detecting when manual testers make mistakes. Of course, this is not always the case, but it is a good baseline that you can work with.
6. Less invasive on your environment
A major advantage of automated unit testing is that it doesn’t require changes to your environment at all. It might not be as easy to detect bugs in a large application whose code interface has changed recently, but sometimes this can help an application stay more stable by reducing the risk of regression bugs by eliminating many potential causes. This is especially useful in complex systems where changes to code can have far-reaching effects.
7. Easier to Maintain
Manual testing requires a lot of effort on maintenance and management. You need to schedule them and make sure that they are running regularly. In addition, you need to deal with the results manually and make sure that everything is working as intended.
On the other hand, automated tests are more integrated with your build system, so you can reduce the amount of manual work needed when testing. Automated tests also tend to be easier to maintain because they have less dependencies on their environment or setup required before running them.
8. Great for Performance and Security
Moreover, the tests that you can run on your application in an automated fashion will help you improve its security and performance over time. For example, when you want to find problems that might be around for a long time, like locking mechanisms or deadlocks, this will be easier to do with a headless browser rather than manually trying to replicate the steps that could cause these issues.
Lastly, as your application grows, automated testing might become one of the only ways to make sure that it can still handle all requests at peak hours when most of your customers are accessing the system at once. Automated performance tests are great for detecting crashes due to memory leaks or slow memory reference speeds.
Disadvantages of Automated System Testing
1. Not Possible to Fully Test the Application by Automated Means
There are many things that cannot be tested automatically. For example, software testing is not a substitute for user acceptance testing and is not useful for security testing. But if you have Selenium integrated into your development environment, then you will be able to run more tests than using any other framework due to its integration with many different languages and frameworks. Moreover, as mentioned before, you can rely on your existing tests to validate new features that have been added to your codebase without running them all again just because something has been added or changed.
2. Might Take a Long Time to Automate All the Tests
Automated testing is not foolproof and you should always be wary of false positives. For example, an automated test that’s checking if a form field is set to be required or not may find that it’s not, but on the other hand it could also find that it’s required.
The best way to know this is by running each test once manually, then visually inspecting the code and looking for mistakes, before running them again with all tests disabled and re-running them manually after you’ve fixed any mistakes.
3. Takes Time and Effort to Develop Automated Tests
The time required to set up and maintain automated testing will decrease if you have a few different teams involved but it will never be as fast as manual testing, which you can complete in one or at most several days. Automated tests do require programming skills, and sometimes industry knowledge of the application that’s being tested.
4. Might be Harder to Determine What the Test is Intended for
If you don’t have the ability to manually test all parts of your application, then this may become problematic when you want to find out what the tests are intended for. As you can see, automated testing is never a replacement for manual testing and should always be used in conjunction with them.
5. Might Not Catch as Many Problems as Manual Testing
This is one of the main disadvantages of automated testing and it’s usual because unit and software tests are only able to test code in isolation without considering any interrelationships between code blocks or functions, which means that they won’t be able to find all bugs.
Future of Automating Unit Tests
Automating unit tests is a great way of speeding up the software development process, but some people don’t see it as a vital part of the process. In fact, some companies do not really care about automating their unit tests at all.
They may just consider it as a way to save time and make the process more efficient. Because of this, we will walk you through different situations that you may face while doing so. This will help you determine whether automating unit tests is right for your company or not.