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What are unit tests & what is their significance?

What are unit tests? Why are they so important and whom do they serve? these are the most common questions being searched for the basic testing of software. This is why this post focuses on all the basic knowledge one needs to, master before jumping into these testing techniques.

What are Unit Tests?

 This technique involves testing a small chunk of code from a system while being logically isolated from it and can be a method, property, or function. Mostly found in modern frameworks and testing software like TestComplete, JUnit, and SUnit.  

How are Unit Tests implemented?

Every unit typically comes with three phases: Plan, Cases, and Scripting of the unit test. Planning involves the preparation and reviewing of the test following the test cases and scripts, and in the end, the code is tested. Each test case being developed is run in an isolated soft environment which makes sure that the test doesn't depend on any external factors. The results are then compiled in reports if passed or in case of failure. 

Who is Unit Test for?

These testing techniques are more suitable for people involved in the programming phase and direct developers involved in them. This is because a programmer writing an array of codes knows which part, he can isolate to execute unit testing while keeping it isolated from the rest of the software.  

Unit Testing Classification:

They are classified as automated and manual unit tests. The automated ones are the most common way of such techniques and use a complete automated testing framework to complete a test case after it is executed. The test case is made in the form of reports and flags pointing to certain errors in the software. Manual unit testing, on the other hand, comes with documented instructions to follow every step involved in the isolation and testing. 

Like every other testing technique, there are both pros and cons to it. Let's go through them before deciding whether to choose it for your software or not:

Advantages of Unit Testing Techniques:

1. A developer can use these techniques to use a code again and again and even migrate to other projects making it convenient.

2. The entire debugging procedure becomes much easier to execute.

3. Once errors are identified, the entire process of finding and fixing the code is rather easy. 

4. Early debugging means less cost to overcome errors as compared to the one's discovered in the latter developing stage.

5. Fast identification of errors also contributes to fewer compound software errors. Bit-by-bit debugging constitutes better results. 

Disadvantages of Unit Testing Techniques: 

1. This testing technique will direct to every possible bug, small or bug irrespective of its effect on the results.

2. It is More time-consuming since every line of the test code has to be written making it quite a time-demanding technique.

3. Developer with less experience will have a very hard time using it and has quite a steep learning curve in the long run. 

Although, the main advantage here is the fact that the unit testing techniques require too much time to be executed and can make a simple software test a big project. This can be easily avoided by not testing every line of code in the software, instead focusing on the more susceptible ones; to affect the result of the software. In this way, developers can easily manage their time and can get more accurate and essential results for their software testing. 

To conclude the topic of this post "What are unit tests", we can now summarize that unit tests are an essential and very accurate form of testing. They are like a contract for every small part of software by which that code has to abide by otherwise it will fail in the test report. If used efficiently, it can not only provide the most exact results but also can save time to bypass many critical errors susceptible to found in later development stages. 

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