Unit Testing vs. Automated Testing

Unit testing and automated testing are related concepts, but they are not the same. While unit testing should be viewed as a specific testing approach that focuses on evaluating the correctness of individual components of an application, automated testing is a broader term that encompasses various testing approaches, including unit testing.

This article will provide you with more details on the differences and similarities between the two concepts and their particular meaning for testing complex ERP and CRM software such as Microsoft Dynamics 365.

What Is Unit Testing?

As mentioned earlier, the technique of unit testing verifies the correctness of units or individual components of a program. Units can be as complex as entire modules and classes, but functions and methods are also tested as units. The goal of unit testing is to validate the performance of units and ensure that they conform to design specifications.

The way unit tests are created depends on the approach an organization takes. Unit tests are one of the testing techniques that can be automated; however, many companies still rely on manual testing. In the latter case, unit tests are created by developers. This is also true for automation using tools that require programming skills. At the same time, no-code solutions for unit testing, such as Executive Automats, do not require developers’ assistance in creating unit tests, as these tools come with user-friendly interfaces.

Key Aspects of Unit Testing

Unit tests are characterized by their granularity. Although unit tests can assess entire code modules, they still target small and isolated units that do not depend on databases or other external applications. Since, in reality, the units are interconnected, unit testing uses techniques such as mocking or stubbing to isolate tested components from their dependencies. These techniques require special frameworks that allow developers to simulate the behavior of the removed dependencies while testing units in isolation.

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In addition, the close connection to the code often requires support from the developers themselves. While developers of ERP and CRM systems are primarily responsible for unit testing, customers who rely on this software also need to take care of this type of testing, especially if they have made serious modifications to their software.

Unit tests are meant to be fast and efficient. Breaking down code into logical units makes it easier for testers to deliver quick results, which in turn helps developers fix problems quickly, minimizing downtime and associated costs. In addition, unit tests are often based on white-box testing. This means that testers usually know the implementation details and internal structure of the units under test.

What Is Automated Testing?

The main feature of automated testing from manual testing is the means it utilizes for executing tests. While a conventional approach relies on manual testing, automation requires a specific tool that enables testing with limited human supervision. Such tools differ in the scope of tasks they can automate, the software products they can be used with, and the level of technical knowledge they require to set up the test environment and create test scripts.

Automation is suitable for testing procedures that involve repetitive tasks with predefined rules. At the same time, this testing approach is not suitable for evaluating software based on individual human experience, which is difficult to simulate within a computer system, such as UX testing. In addition, quick, one-time testing may not be the best candidate for automation as its needs for resources required for automated test preparation may negate the benefits of automation.

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At the same time, many testing techniques can be automated, and unit tests are one of them. Moreover, unit tests are even used as the basis for certain test automation strategies, for instance, Test Automation Pyramid. Detecting bugs on the level of the software code can effectively minimize testing higher levels of the pyramid, which consists of more abstract techniques such as API testing and UI testing. Other examples of tests that can be automated include regression testing, performance testing, integration testing, and security testing.

Key Aspects of Automated Testing

As mentioned earlier, automation can be used to test various areas and levels of an application. It considers a system as a whole and tests the interactions between its numerous subsystems and smaller components by comparing its performance with the required parameters. At the same time, it can perform tasks related to usability and security.

A central component of automated testing is a tool responsible for automation. Its primary function is to automate test execution, but some software products can also automate many other tasks, such as collecting results, reporting, and updating test cases. In addition, they can effectively support test script creation, test execution, and analysis. An automated test is written in the form of a test script that is reusable and can be executed repeatedly.

Automated Unit Testing

Automating unit tests improves the quality, maintainability, and reliability of the code that determines the overall quality of the software. Automating unit tests for custom elements of ERP and CRM software can minimize serious errors that affect the quality of the overall system and can have ongoing consequences if they affect critical components.

To achieve maximum results with unit test automation, it is necessary to strive for comprehensive test coverage for various input combinations, code paths, and edge cases. Moreover, it is highly recommended to design tests according to the Single Responsibility Principle (SRP) and provide a clearly defined responsibility for each unit. Tests should also be easily maintainable, isolated, and readable.

Continuous analysis of tests and testing quality, in general, is essential to ensure that automation is actually producing the desired effects. Find Automated Unit Testing at: https://www.executiveautomats.com/

Jeremy Edwards
Jeremy Edwards
On Chain Analysis Data Engineer. Lives in sunny Perth, Australia. Investing and writing about Crypto since 2014.

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