If you are a developer, then you know that the most important job is to create software that meets business needs.
But to have the most success, the software also needs to be of high quality. And for that, it’s crucial to work closely with the quality assurance team to create software that has as few bugs as possible.
Therefore, the success of a software project hinges on the DevOps team’s ability to perform software testing, particularly integration testing.
By mastering this skill, you can help ensure the success of your software projects and advance your career in the software development field.
This article will explain who is in charge of writing and executing integration tests and offer tips for developers to be effective in the process. Also, we shall look at the role of quality assurance teams in integration testing and the value of involving them.
Lastly, we discuss when a software development team should run integration tests.
Who does integration testing?
Integration testing is a process of taking individual units or parts of a software project to determine defects and confirm they function as intended when combined into a bigger module. Integration testing helps the software developers to know whether the software modules can work together.
For example, an integration test for a computer game can determine if the graphics, multiplayer features, and online capabilities work together.
But who is responsible for integration testing?
As a general rule, it’s the developers’ job to write and execute integration tests. That’s because they know how the various components should function together. Developers create an integration test to check whether the software projects conform to their design.
Similarly how developers perform unit testing, the should also perform system integration testing. Unit, integration and UI tests in combination form a complete testing pyramid.
Benefits of having developers involved in integration testing
You may think integration testing should be left to quality assurance teams since they have the know-how.
However, the truth is that software development teams make significant contributions to the software testing process. The advantages of including a developer in the software testing team are:
- Vast knowledge of software components. Nothing can be more frustrating than having a software system that is not working, and the testers never know how to solve the issue. The developers create the software modules, meaning it is easier to spot errors during the testing process. A developer will know how to solve the errors affecting their unit quickly. Therefore, the integration testing process will be smooth and take a short time when developers are part of the testing team.
- Save software project costs. Regression testing may be pricey if the process has to be repeated because you don’t have automated tests. That’s why if developers execute integration and unit tests during development, they can spot errors much earlier in the software development life cycle (SDLC). Rectifying the issues on the system will save the company money for the software project.
Furthermore, if you can set up a separate test environment to run your test suite as part of the continuous integration process, the whole development process will benefit from it greatly.
Tips for developers to participate effectively in integration testing
The success of a software project rests on the ability of developers and testers to work together. If you are a developer, here are some tips on how to participate effectively in integration training:
- Embrace communication with the QA team. The collaboration between QA and developers ensures a smooth continuous integration process. As a developer, you will learn some of the challenges of your software early to avoid wasting too much time on a system that will not work. Team up with the QA team to check the workability of your software unit from time to time to ensure you deliver the best.
- Be ready to give your input when required. A developer is best placed to understand and solve software bugs. Never hesitate to state your suggestions and solve the issues to fasten the integration testing process.
What is the role of the QA team in integration testing?
The QA team ensures the different components of a software project perform the desired functions. They:
- review the software documentation,
- plan the testing process,
- write test scenarios,
- test that the software works after making code changes,
- perform exploratory testing,
- and give recommendations for improvement.
If the test team is satisfied the software modules are working as designed, they approve the system.
You may wonder why integration testing cannot be entrusted to developers alone. Here is a list of the benefits of having a QA team in the integration testing process:
- Get unbiased opinions. A developer’s bias can block them from seeing their errors. The QA team is focused on detecting the issues, meaning their report will reflect the correct position about the workability of the software system.
- Minimize overall project costs. Involving QA teams in the testing process unearths errors early and allows developers to solve them without misusing resources.
- Enhance the user experience. User experience is an essential feature in the software development process. A QA team uses its expertise to check that all components of a software projects function excellently. For this reason, the end-user has no problems using the system for the intended purpose.
- Ability to foresee possible issues. Quality assurance professionals have significant experience in functional testing, which means they can predict probable problems and suggest improvements. Thus, working with a QA team ensures the software project will stand against future challenges.
When should you do integration testing?
Developers perform integration testing after completing unit testing for their modules. The unit test is a process where the developer checks whether their software component works as intended. If the developer is confident their unit is okay, they run an integration test to see if it is compatible with other software components from other developers.
An integration test should be run in the continuous integration (CI)/continuous delivery (CD) pipeline every time there is a code change.
The CI/CD pipeline is an automated process that starts testing a specific code to ensure it satisfies the project’s rules. Running a CI/CD pipeline reduces the time needed for deployment and saves costs for the software project.
Integration testing is essential in software development as it ensures the different components work as required. It is crucial to involve developers in integration testing as they understand how to prepare integration tests for their units. Working with software developers will save money and ensure the project meets the desired quality.
The QA team runs tests for the software project to see if they can approve it for utilization. Working with QA professionals is advantageous since it reduces project costs, predicts future issues, and provides an unbiased view of the software project. For this reason, developers and quality assurance experts must work together in integration testing to ensure the software project meets expectations.