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7 Integration Testing Best Practices in 2024

Altay Ataman
Updated on Jan 3
4 min read

Integration testing is one of the crucial stages of the software testing process. With the growing complexity of software systems, effective integration testing becomes more critical to identify issues before they cause significant problems. There are several best practices regarding integration testing, and it can be challenging to know where to begin. 

This article will discuss 7 integration testing best practices you can incorporate into your software development process to ensure your system works efficiently and effectively.

1- Start integration testing early

Starting integration tests early in the software development process has several benefits. One of the primary advantages is that it allows you to identify and fix issues earlier in the development cycle, saving significant time and effort in the long run. 

Starting integration testing early before unit testing also provides valuable feedback on the quality and performance of the system, which can help guide development decisions. By starting integration testing early, you can get feedback on the system’s performance and make changes to improve it before it is too late in the development cycle.

2- Test in small batches

When testing large batches of code, it can be challenging to identify where the issues are located and which component is causing the problem. This makes it harder to debug and resolve the issue.

By contrast, when you test smaller batches of code, it is easier to see where the problem is and which component is causing it. This saves time and effort in the long run and can help reduce the cost of fixing issues. 

Testing small batches of code simultaneously helps isolate issues and makes debugging easier. In addition to testing in small batches, integration test plans and test cases need to be thoroughly documented to maximize the benefits of this practice.

3- Know the difference between unit and integration tests

Unit tests are typically easy to develop since they focus on discrete, tiny code sections. A unit test has a narrow scope and only evaluates a tiny portion of your program. When it fails, it’s typically simple to figure out why and make the necessary corrections. See Figure 1 for the place of unit tests and integration tests

Integration testing is more difficult, sometimes involving or requiring integration testing tools, and their range may include several software modules in addition to various hardware components. Integration tests use other components or infrastructures, such as the network, database, or file system, in contrast to unit tests, which are tightly contained and don’t use external resources.

Figure 1: Levels of Software Testing

Understanding the difference between unit testing and integration testing can lead to:

  • Better test coverage
  • Improved efficiency
  • Improved quality
  • Improved collaboration
  • Reduced risk

By using the appropriate testing strategy for each stage of the development process, you can ensure that your software is thoroughly tested and of high quality. See our “Ultimate Guide to Integration Testing vs. Unit Testing” article to fully understand the difference between each type of testing.

4- Include negative testing

Many frameworks and continuous integration are utilized during the integration testing process. This is why you should not just test for expected behaviors but also for unexpected behaviors, such as invalid inputs or edge cases. This will help to identify potential security vulnerabilities or other issues that may not be obvious.

Negative testing aims to uncover defects and vulnerabilities by testing the system’s ability to handle unexpected or invalid input or conditions (See Figure 2). Integrating negative testing into your integration testing can help identify potential issues in your software that might not be caught through positive testing alone.

 

Source: Testbytes 1

Figure 2: Difference between positive and negative Testing

5- Automate testing

Automating integration tests reduces the time and effort required to run them and ensures they are executed consistently and reliably. 

Automated integration testing enables you to run integration tests quickly and efficiently, reducing the time and effort required for manual testing. Automated tests can be run faster and more frequently, allowing you to identify and fix issues in your system early in the development process. This helps reduce the risk of issues being discovered late in the development cycle, which can be costly.

With a shift left and test-first approach, CAST is a low-code test automation tool that provides API, desktop, mobile, web, and performance testing. Testifi’s services are used by Fortune 500 organizations, including BMW, Vodafone, and Amazon.

See their demo below:

6- Include performance testing

Performance testing is a crucial step in ensuring that your system can handle the expected workload and perform efficiently. It is essential in integration testing, where the performance of multiple components working together can affect the overall system’s performance. See Figure 3 for a representation of the performance testing process.

Source: Javatpoint 2

Figure 3: Performance Testing Process

Including performance testing in integration testing can help you 

  • test load balancing,
  • identify performance bottlenecks,
  • validate scalability,
  • integrate monitoring tools with other testing types. 

By incorporating performance testing into your integration testing process, you can ensure your system performs efficiently and meets the expected workload.

7- Use the proper integration testing approach

Choosing the correct integration testing approach depends on various factors, such as 

  • system’s complexity,
  • availability of resources,
  • level of integration required,
  • project timeline. 

You can choose to go for:

If you have further questions about integration testing, reach us:

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Altay Ataman
Altay is an industry analyst at AIMultiple. He has background in international political economy, multilateral organizations, development cooperation, global politics, and data analysis. He has experience working at private and government institutions. Altay discovered his interest for emerging tech after seeing its wide use of area in several sectors and acknowledging its importance for the future. He received his bachelor's degree in Political Science and Public Administration from Bilkent University and he received his master's degree in International Politics from KU Leuven .

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