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Unit tests – is it worth it?

Unit tests are a tool used by developers to improve the results of the software development process. However, their use is not always appropriate to the situation. Therefore, it is worth finding out when it really pays to perform them. You can find the most important information on this subject in our article!

Unit Testing – what exactly are unit tests?

It’s a way to test software with the help of a selected part of the source code with associated control data and usage and operational procedures. It is performed to verify that the processes are usable. Let’s explain it with an example.

We can have a function accepting a variable number of characters, for example: a, b and c, which renders all available combinations: ab, ac and bc. To see if it works as the programmer expects, tests are performed – dummy function calls with different inputs, validating the output for all available scenarios.

Running a unit test

Unit Testing can be a big part of the workflow. The first stages of a unit test run are to isolate a piece of code and verify its correctness. UT checks its compliance, testing each function and procedure.

With the information gained, errors can be fixed early in the development cycle and save time and costs. Using them appropriately, developers are able to understand the code base and make key changes in time.

Advantages of Unit Testing

Among the positive aspects of testing is that coders gain knowledge of unit functionality and how to use it to understand its underlying API. In addition to this, the coder can refine the code and make sure that the module works in the correct way. The whole thing is complemented by the fact that Unit Testing makes it possible to test parts of the created project without waiting for the rest to be completed.

Disadvantages of Unit Testing

The main disadvantages include the fact that UT is unable to cover non-functional testing parameters, such as scalability or system performance. The time-consuming nature of writing unit test cases is also a downside.

It is also noted that they are not able to cover all bugs in a module – there is still a probability that problems will arise during integration testing. On top of that, UT is not effective at validating the User Interface part of the module.

Is it worth doing unit testing?

Properly executed Unit Testing allows you to eliminate problems at an early stage of project development. It makes tracking down the root cause of errors easier, and prevents their migration to the next level. It improves code quality, promotes the creation of reusable modules, simplifies documentation and ensures seamless integration with many tools and technologies.

There are also some concerns about spending more time executing UT and the fact that it cannot cover all the code and catch the bugs in it. However, all things considered, performing unit tests should increase the quality of work and is worth doing. 

main photo: unsplash.com/Patrick Amoy

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