A well-designed software application not only requires detailed product management, software architecture, design and coding but also a robust testing process.

Reliable testing needs to be carried out at the overall application level by trained testing engineers  to ensure optimisation, smooth operation and viability. Critical testing areas include:

  • Functional testing
  • Performance testing
  • User acceptance testing (UAT)

Unit Testing Applications

Unit testing typically involves a developer testing an individual function, method, procedure, module, or object to identify any defects so that they can analyze and fix them early in the development process. Early testing needs to be done early to ensure that every standalone module is functioning as planned. In addition, unit testing is needed to be carried out when the existing functionality of a module is being modified or upgraded.

The benefits of unit testing

  • Reduces the overall cost of testing (defects are identified early in the lifecycle)
  • Improves design and enables easy refactoring of code
  • Integrating ‘unit test with build’ improves overall quality of code
  • Unit testing ensures that changes or upgrades made to specific modules fit the specifications
  • Easier to identify bugs later down the road, when testing is done at the application level

The three types of unit testing techniques

  • Black Box Testing: Testing only input and output, without peering into the inner structure of the unit
  • White Box Testing: This method of testing requires looking into the code in detail and focusing on what lies inside the unit being testing
  • Gray Box Testing: Uses a combination of white box and black box testing to test corner cases, risks and defects caused by improper usage of an application

Test-Driven Development: Why it helps build better software, faster

Several software development teams around the world are embracing the concept of Test-Driven Development or TDD. In fact, TDD is a key part of the agile development framework used by many engineering teams.

In the TDD approach, a test is written before majority of the production code is written. The test is then run on the first version of the code which helps software engineering and product teams to think through the application’s specification and functionality in greater detail.

Based on results from the test, the code is further refined and enhanced, at every step of development. New functionality can be added, bugs are fixed and overall code quality can be improved and enhanced. This form of iterative testing has become crucial to ensure microservices and APIs are functioning as expected.

TDD is increasing in popularity as companies are embracing the concept of microservices architecture to deliver complex software applications.

Of course, the overall testing process includes platform testing, functional tests, performance test, UAT, integration tests, and unit testing. tSQLt is an extremely effective, open-source database unit testing framework used for SQL Servers.

tSQLt: A Proven Unit Testing Framework

A unit test framework provides the foundation on which developers can write and run unit tests as well as report the results.

Frameworks such as tSQLt can double up as development tools similar to preprocessors and debuggers and can be used in almost every stage of the software development life cycle; from planning and design to implementation, debugging, performance optimization, and even quality assurance.

tSQLt framework is a free, open-source library for SQL Server database unit testing that makes it easy to isolate a single, functional unit to be tested. It allows all the database unit tests to be grouped into classes, with each class represented by a database schema. Creating a database unit test is the same as creating a stored procedure within a test class. Running a tSQLt unit test is comparable to running an SQL stored procedure.

In a database unit test, the AAA principle (Arrange, Act, and Assert) is applied where expected results are compared with actual end results.

tSQLt offers advantages similar to SQL Server database development and facilitates the implementation of unit tests in T-SQL, thereby allowing developers to test and code in the same tool.

Key benefits of using tSQLt

  • Ability to automate test runs within transactions to keep them independent and reduce the resulting cleanup work
  • Easy to run group tests within a schema
  • Generate outputs in plain text or XML, thereby facilitating Continuous Integration (CI) and Continuous Delivery (CD)
  • Enables the use of T-SQL code for Unit Testing
  • Automatically runs in the Transaction log
  • Allows the use of Fake Objects
  • Easy integration with third-party software applications
  • Offers built-in assertions that reduce repetitive coding within the test
  • Allows refactoring, automatic set-up, and tear-down
  • Developers can write tests in the same language and IDE as production code
  • Tests can be run interactively or automatically

At a macro level, tSQLt drives efficiency into the SDLC by automating the process of test execution and minimizing the effort needed for test data creation.

Merit Group’s expertise in Testing Services

Merit Data and Technology Ltd. has over 15 years of experience in software development, developing applications for some of the world’s leading brands. Our offshore software developers and testing engineers work closely with product and program managers at client companies to build applications that meet all functional and performance requirements.

Our commitment to optimizing product performance translates to eliminating all defects during build, launch, and usage – by using unit testing and constantly refining the product across the SDLC.

Merit has deep expertise and experience in various technologies including Microsoft.net, Perl, Python, Oracle, PHP, Hadoop, Salesforce.com, Tableau, ASP.net, Microsoft SQL Server, and many more.

Our trusted off-shore Software Development Engineers for Test (SDETs) bring deep technical expertise to the table. Our SDETs are certified to use various tools such as Selenium, JMeter, and Appium for testing applications. In unit testing, we take a TDD approach leveraging the tSQLt open-source framework to provide maximum quality at a minimal cost.

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