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Testing levels

There are generally four recognized levels of tests: unit testing, integration testing, system testing, and acceptance testing. Tests are frequently grouped by where they are added in the software development process, or by the level of specificity of the test. The main levels during the development process as defined by the SWEBOK guide are unit-, integration-, and system testing that are distinguished by the test target without implying a specific process model.Other test levels are classified by the testing objective

Unit testing

Unit testing, also known as component testing, refers to tests that verify the functionality of a specific section of code, usually at the function level. In an object-oriented environment, this is usually at the class level, and the minimal unit tests include the constructors and destructors.

These types of tests are usually written by developers as they work on code (white-box style), to ensure that the specific function is working as expected. One function might have multiple tests, to catch corner cases or other branches in the code. Unit testing alone cannot verify the functionality of a piece of software, but rather is used to ensure that the building blocks of the software work independently from each other.

Unit testing is a software development process that involves synchronized application of a broad spectrum of defect prevention and detection strategies in order to reduce software development risks, time, and costs. It is performed by the software developer or engineer during the construction phase of the software development lifecycle. Rather than replace traditional QA focuses, it augments it. Unit testing aims to eliminate construction errors before code is promoted to QA; this strategy is intended to increase the quality of the resulting software as well as the efficiency of the overall development and QA process.

Depending on the organization’s expectations for software development, unit testing might include static code analysis, data flow analysis, metrics analysis, peer code reviews, code coverage analysis and other software verification practices.

Integration testing

The practice of component interface testing can be used to check the handling of data passed between various units, or subsystem components, beyond full integration testing between those units.The data being passed can be considered as “message packets” and the range or data types can be checked, for data generated from one unit, and tested for validity before being passed into another unit. One option for interface testing is to keep a separate log file of data items being passed, often with a timestamp logged to allow analysis of thousands of cases of data passed between units for days or weeks. Tests can include checking the handling of some extreme data values while other interface variables are passed as normal values. Unusual data values in an interface can help explain unexpected performance in the next unit. Component interface testing is a variation of black-box testing, with the focus on the data values beyond just the related actions of a subsystem component.

System testing

System testing, or end-to-end testing, tests a completely integrated system to verify that it meets its requirements. For example, a system test might involve testing a logon interface, then creating and editing an entry, plus sending or printing results, followed by summary processing or deletion (or archiving) of entries, then logoff.

In addition, the software testing should ensure that the program, as well as working as expected, does not also destroy or partially corrupt its operating environment or cause other processes within that environment to become inoperative (this includes not corrupting shared memory, not consuming or locking up excessive resources and leaving any parallel processes unharmed by its presence).

Acceptance testing

At last the system is delivered to the user for Acceptance testing.


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