An Introductory Guide To Integration Testing | Types, Checkpoints and Process

Introduction To Integration Testing

Software means a number of features and functionalities combined within a single setup. And, you surely know how the modern world is desperately running after more and more features and functionalities that will make their tasks easier and will provide an amazing work efficiency. But, from a technical perspective, more efficient features normally mean more complex codes and eventually more vulnerability towards breaking down. And, even if the features work fine when only one of them is used at a time, they may break while having some interdependency. And, that makes us look at the issues that you may face due to the incapability of the units to properly depend on each other.

  • Unit testing, the first phase of the testing pyramid, checks every small unit in isolation. So, they cannot ensure that those units will perform properly when they are interconnected or somehow dependent on each other.
  • Incompatibility among the units can cause even the basic operations to break down. That means the modules that perform at their best as an individual unit will become of no use when they are connected in their desired pattern.
  • Users are not trained to use one functionality at a time and to use them in a planned order. They can try to use any functionality in any random order and can also use multiple of them at once. In both these cases, those functionalities can break if they are not tested against such conditions and improved to deal with any possible situation.
  • If the connection among the units is not properly tested, the further steps in the test suite will break.

All these issues can be avoided just by moving your application through rigorous Integration tests. It is the definitional name of the testing process that primarily checks whether the units/modules of your application are performing as expected when they are interacting with each other or at least somehow dependent on each other. You have already known a lot about Integration Testing in the article “What Is Integration Testing? Definition, Basics, and Types”. It’s time for you to know how to proceed with this crucial phase of the testing pyramid.

Why Integration Testing?

Till now, you got to know about the possible problems that may occur in the absence of Integration testing. But, to convince the world more about its essentiality, we must check out why it is so important.

  • Developing a tech product involves a team of several developers. So, different modules of the software are developed by different developers. Hence, naturally, the logic behind developing any particular module can be absolutely different from the logic behind another one. To ensure that such differently developed modules will perform perfectly when they are integrated together, Integration Testing definition becomes a truly crucial step.
  • The most important person in any project is the client. He/she only focuses on what is the best for their business and will not care for any other thing. So, it is a quite common scenario where the client’s demands change at any random stage of the product’s journey. And, there are high chances that those new requirements are not previously tested. So, Integration testing becomes an essential step there.
  • The operations of complex software products involve dealing with huge databases. It is common that interfaces of software modules with databases often have a lot of errors. The task of Integration testing is to check whether those interfaces are working as expected or not.
  • External interfaces also carry the same properties as the internal ones. They are also highly tentative to have errors and as a result, they also widen the scope of Integration testing for them.
  • Different API or third-party tools accept different data values. Hence, it becomes mandatory to check the data points and working procedure so that expected results can be easily achieved.
  • Poor handling of exceptions can cause serious issues. So, it’s better to move them through Integration testing.

These points clearly show how you must sincerely execute Integration tests when they are necessary for the product’s journey. Now, let’s move on with what your suitable approach to those tests should be.

Types of Integration Testing

In the article “What Is Integration Testing?”, you can see the types of Integration Testing according to the approaches followed to accomplish them. But, Integration testing is primarily categorized into two types according to their objectives. Let’s get to know them in detail.

Component Integration Testing

You surely know how focused attention does wonder in anything. Similarly, when you put the absolute focus on testing only a handful of components working together for completing any operation within your application, the results come out to be more accurate. That’s why this specific type of testing that deals with particular modules involved in any operation is a popular type of integration testing with the name “Component Integration Testing”.

For example, calculating your order value according to the preferences you make about the order involves only the specific options/components you interact with.

System Integration Testing

A lot of functionalities in your application need to interact with external systems and different modules from those two or more different systems get involved. The purpose of System Integration testing tools is to ensure that the overall system that is working with the involvement of different modules from different systems, is working properly. Hence, the scope of this type of integration testing is larger than Component Integration testing and it holds a remarkable level of importance.

For example, during the calculation of the overall cost of any eCommerce order, the applicable taxes need to be fetched with the help of an external ERP system. Here, modules from two different systems are involved.

A practical example is much better to understand any complex process. So, from the perspective of the eCommerce tax calculation, a brief about Integration testing is added below.

Checkpoints For Integration Testing

A retailer using an eCommerce platform needs to go through a number of operations like inventory management, supply chain, CRM, Finance, Reporting, etc. And, an ERP system is responsible for building a strong foundation for all those functions. Hence, you must stay acknowledged of the following checkpoints involving an ERP system.

  • It is an important step to compare fields/labels and front-end data with the back-end ERP.
  • Integration testing is all about testing the interrelationships between different modules or components. This is the phase where you have to verify the interface that connects two modules/systems together.
  • A project involves a lot of report generation. Those reports carry various minute details about different parts of the project. Integration testing is used here to ensure that the data are collected from authentic sources so that the accuracy is maintained.
  • Every app is primarily designed and developed for a specific group of users. Then, as it begins operations, it starts to collect some data about the users and their preferences. Those data help the product owners plan marketing, promotional activities, and new features for the customers. Hence, Integration testing is crucial for verifying the customer data.
  • To verify the product count sync between the online store and the ERP, you have to carry out inventory management validation.
  • Test results play an important role in planning the further steps in the business. Similarly, it is a very crucial thing to check if the Integration test execution result is matching the requirements.

Prerequisites For Integration Testing

  • The version of each module that is assembled for Integration testing, must be stable.
  • You need every minute detail about the modules under Integration testing. Keeping detailed documentation about them would be a good idea.
  • Unit testing is the most important prerequisite for Integration testing. Only when every individual unit is performing at its best, then it can be tested whether they work properly being dependent on each other.
  • You have to keep acceptance criteria prepared.

Process of System Integration Testing

Though in present times, the amazing software testing tools like Preflight enable you to test all your tech products within seconds, and even without having any coding knowledge, you must know about the traditional method that is being followed for System Integration tests.

The most common method of performing System Integration Testing is the Data-Driven method. The steps in this method include data exchange i.e. data import & export between the system modules and observing the performance of each data field within the individual layer. After the software integration test is completed, the following three states of data flow can be observed.

1) Within The Integration Layer

The integration layer performs the role of an interface between the data import and export. If you are planning to perform System Integration testing at this layer, you must know a bit about certain schema technologies. To validate the data exchange at this layer, you have to follow these steps -

  • The data properties within this layer have to be authenticated against the requirements documents.
  • The web service request has to be validated.
  • Some unit tests have to be run to verify the data mappings and requests.
  • The logs have to be reviewed.

2) Within The Database Layer

As we are talking about databases, SQL is a must mention here. Hence, to efficiently perform System Integration testing at the database layer, you must have some basic knowledge about SQL. Let’s check out the steps you need to follow for validating data exchange at this layer.

  • You have to verify whether all data from the previous level has reached and has been committed.
  • The table and column properties need to be authenticated against the requirements documents.
  • Now you have to verify the data validation rules and the constraints applied to the database.
  • Stored procedures should be checked for any data to be processed.
  • You must stay aware and active in reviewing the logs.

3) Within The Application Layer

Performing System Integration testing is comparatively simpler at the Application layer. You just need to execute the following steps.

  • The visibility of the fields in the UI needs to be checked.
  • Both positive and negative test cases need to be executed to confirm the data.

The Next Generation No-Code Testing

Till now, we mostly discussed the traditional methods of Integration testing. These methods have been used since the initial stage of the tech evolution. But, with time, the tech world started looking for more efficient methods of testing to scale the businesses easily. And, the no-code test automation tools like Preflight are those blessings that have really turned the scenario around. This simple and amazing browser extension allows anyone even without any coding knowledge to create efficient tests within seconds and rerun those test cases as many times as they want. It provides you with so many amazing benefits at truly affordable packages that the only objective you will be left with is to think about new products and scaling your business. You can stay relaxed with the thought that Preflight is there to take care of all your testing needs with maximum efficiency. To become more eager to use this amazing tool, just check out the article “10 Amazing Software Testing Benefits From Preflight In 2022”. It will surely make you go straight to booking a demo.

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