Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Unit Testing

In computer programming, unit testing is a procedure used to validate that individual units of source code are working properly. A unit is the smallest testable part of an application. In procedural programming a unit may be an individual program, function, procedure, etc., while in object-oriented programming, the smallest unit is a method; which may belong to a base/super class, abstract class or derived/child class.

Ideally, each test case is independent from the others; mock objects and test harnesses can be used to assist testing a module in isolation. Unit testing is typically done by developers and not by Software testers or end-users.
The goal of unit testing is to isolate each part of the program and show that the individual parts are correct. A unit test provides a strict, written contract that the piece of code must satisfy. As a result, it affords several benefits.

Unit testing allows the programmer to refactor code at a later date, and make sure the module still works correctly (i.e. regression testing). The procedure is to write test cases for all functions and methods so that whenever a change causes a fault, it can be quickly identified and fixed.

Readily-available unit tests make it easy for the programmer to check whether a piece of code is still working properly. Good unit test design produces test cases that cover all paths through the unit with attention paid to loop conditions.

In continuous unit testing environments, through the inherent practice of sustained maintenance, unit tests will continue to accurately reflect the intended use of the executable and code in the face of any change. Depending upon established development practices and unit test coverage, up-to-the-second accuracy can be maintained.

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