London software testing news UK

Automated testing and agile

Posted in Acceptance testing by testing in London on March 26, 2008

From Java World

In many Waterfall-based projects the developer writes a software component and then performs a set of unit tests manually. In the future, if the developer needs to modify the same component, she or he must perform the entire manual unit testing process again. Often, when the changes are small, developers just test the impacted functionality. This seems reasonable given time constraints or the assumption that the change will not affect other parts of application. Unfortunately, even small changes can break related functionality, which won’t be discovered until the entire application is tested.

JUnit is an answer to such problems. In JUnit a separate file contains all the test cases for a given component, so they can be run at the click of a button. JUnit makes it easy to test software components in isolation and also easily run numerous tests. JUnit is also a valuable component in test-driven development, where developers actually write test cases to test the impact of a desired change throughout the system before doing any coding.

Some developers argue against test automation, saying “Why should I waste time writing test cases when I can make the change and test the functionality manually in 20 minutes?” While this is a convincing argument on the surface, it falls apart when you think about today’s accelerated development cycle, where the same manual process might need to happen 10 times in a row. Manual testing also doesn’t leave much documentation for new developers; and then there is the human tendency to err.

Automated software testing 

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