So, what does it mean to test your code and why would you want to do this? You may have heard the developers talk about things like automated testing, but if you don’t know anything about it, don’t worry. We’re going to break it all down in today’s post.
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You see, tests as we speak of them are simply scripts that run against implemented features and written code. Essentially, it’s a way that testers can run through scenarios and see the results produced or what has been expected. When one of those results doesn’t match up, it raises a flag and tells developers that there is something wrong with this or that component or part of the code. They are called automated tests because they can easily be run by a computer to quickly run through thousands of test cases in a matter of moments. Writing tests for a specific type of code is a way to ensure a level of quality and catch bugs before they actually reach end users. So, if you want to ship a stable product that’s less prone to breaking and if you also want to have a high confidence that it’s working as expected, you should never underestimate the importance of testing.
It comes without saying that shipping large defects in your application can make it very difficult to retain and attract new users, let alone if you want the developers tasked with building and maintaining it. What’s more, broken software isn’t just an inconvenience for your users, it’s also a fantastic way to lose money. Whether your product is actively generating revenue or not, you’re not likely to be paying a developer for these fixes to keep your users happy. If you don’t have any testing strategy, you won’t give a developer a great insight on what a problem can be. This means it will take longer to diagnose and remedy a situation all while you’re paying for their time. However, no software is 100% error-free. Different combinations of operating systems, languages, and hardware might produce different results, especially if the web technology is concerned. Having these in a test situation can show testers where the product might need improving and which browsers that might be having trouble with.
As a developer or appreneur, you want to know how the features should behave and where to fix the issue should a problem arise. As a manager, you want to catch defects before your end product is shipped to customers for the best experience possible. And this is where automated testing comes in handy.
Types of Testing
We’ve used the word ‘testing’ generically so far. But there are a few different approaches you might want to adopt where testing your solutions. You can do unit testing, end-to-end, or integration testing.
Unit testing refers to the idea of testing an individual piece of code in isolation. In a world of web development, this would be like testing a component. It’s a check to ensure whether something works in its standalone environment. This could also be a class or just a utility function. For instance, let’s say we have a web component that renders a user’s name and photo. A unit test with this would be checking aspects of the component like ensuring the name renders and the photo appears we feed in the user data. There is no need to care about any page it might live on. All that we want to know is that the component is doing the job it was designed to.
End-to-end testing tries to verify a larger set of functionality of an application as a whole. This often means recreating the interactions a user would have when they are driving through the web or mobile application. An example of an end-to-end test would be clicking the ‘Sign In’ button, entering your credentials, and then navigating to the user dashboard. It’s a good way to check the workflow of critical feature sets.
Integration testing means testing two or more units simultaneously. In essence, it’s a more complex unit test. So, you might not know the distinction and merely split your tests in terms of unit test and end-to-end test. Think of an integration test as in-between of a single given unit versus the entire application.
So, once these scripts are created, developers can leverage them, as they design new features. As they modify the existing codebase, they can ensure they are not breaking or altering the functionality of the app in other areas. So, if you want to make sure your app is safe, powerful, and capable of serving your users’ needs, take care to partner up with experienced testers and quality assurance experts that will help you future-proof your solution and set it up for success.