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What is Integration Testing?

Integration testing

Each software undergoes rigorous testing to meet the high-quality assurance standards before reaching the market. Integration testing is the second step in the quality assurance process, conducted after the unit tests. This blog will cover the basics of integration testing, its advantages, and best practices. We’ll also learn why using test automation is a must to improve its efficiency.

What is integration testing in software engineering?

Integration testing is a key step in the test cycle. Once each component has been designed, and unit tested, two or more of them are put together for further testing.

This process also includes API testing to check whether there are any performance, functionality, and reliability issues.

This form of testing is also an efficient way of testing large chunks of the software to expedite the cycle if necessary.

What are the different approaches to integration testing?

Big bang testing

This approach is more suitable for smaller systems because it relies on developing all the components and integrating them at once. Before integration, testers test each element individually, after which they are put together into one integration testing suite.

Incremental testing 

Instead of putting all the components together, this approach focuses on connecting two or more interdependent components in the integration test. As the test progresses, you can add additional components logically until all the functionalities are tested.

Top-down testing

This is a preferred approach since it allows testers to recognize design flaws much earlier in the process. In top-down testing, the top-most components (high-level modules) are tested first before moving down to the lowest components (low-level modules).

Bottom-up testing 

This approach requires testing the bottom-lying components first instead of top-down testing. It is used when development and testing need to be conducted simultaneously in an agile environment.

Sandwich approach 

In this approach, the system is divided into three layers. The middle one is the primary layer. The top layer is tested using top-down testing before moving on to the middle layer. Similarly, the bottom layer is tested next. The big bang approach is then used on the middle layer. This hybrid approach allows larger firms to run multiple development projects parallelly.

Why should integration testing be performed?

Even though each component might undergo rigorous testing, it can’t guarantee that the system will work as a whole. This is where integration testing comes in.

  • Different programmers usually develop different modules with varying approaches, creating an unwanted incongruence between component designs. Integration testing helps by ensuring the entire system runs in unison.
  • Modules can undergo several code changes even after being unit tested, leading to untested code being released with the product. Integration testing becomes a necessary step here.
  • The interfaces between software modules, the database, and external hardware can be erroneous. This can be confirmed via integration testing.

What are the best practices for efficient integration testing? 

  • Integration testing shouldn’t be left for the end of the testing cycle. It’s crucial to test as early and often as possible to catch all the defects.
  • Testers should clearly define each unit and its relation to the other units in the test case to allow for easy reuse in the future.
  • Organizations should use test automation to conduct integration testing much faster. Also, using a top-down or bottom-up approach to testing will help increase the pace.
  • Identify the business-critical components and test their functionalities with each other. Integrate the non-critical components later.

No testing cycle can be deemed complete without integration testing. But it comes with its own set of challenges. As the system grows with each update, every subsequent integration test becomes longer, with a higher chance of error. Moreover, integrating multiple platforms, systems, databases, and environments can become very complicated.

A robust test automation solution is required to overcome these hurdles. Over 90% of organizations already have some form of test automation in place. Avo Assure, a heterogeneous no-code automated testing solution, supports testing across multiple platforms. While its no-code solution enables you to run end-to-end test cases without writing a single line of code, its intuitive UI helps you keep track of the testing process to ensure maximum coverage. It also integrates well with third-party software. It offers comprehensive reports and visual test planning. Avo Assure even helped a Fortune 500 manufacturer achieve 100% automation and a lower defect rate of 2-3%.

If you’re looking for a way to automate your testing suites, then book a demo today.

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