What is the definition of a unit test from a DevOps perspective

December 28, 2021

Tags: Technologies



In the world of programming and development, unit tests are used to precisely test individual units of source code, thereby determining whether they are suitable for use. This is one of the tasks that DevOps performs within the process of creating an application or website.


Unit tests are generally written and executed by software developers to ensure that the code conforms to their design and behaves as intended. Its implementation can range from being very manual (pencil and paper) to being formalized as part of building automation.


Benefits of unit tests


The purpose of these unit tests during the creation of an application is to isolate each part of the program to show that the individual parts are correct. A unit test provides a written contract that the code snippet must adhere to. As a result, it offers several benefits. Unit tests find problems early in the development cycle.




Some benefits of unit testing are:


Facilitates change: These unit tests are used by the programmer to see if a piece of code continues to function correctly.


Helps simplify integration: Although unit tests do not include integration tests, they are highly dependent on tests performed manually by the developer. High-level testing can be difficult to automate, so manual testing is important.


Proper documentation: unit tests provide a kind of living documentation of the system. Developers who want to know what functionality a unit provides and how to use it can refer to unit tests to get a basic understanding of the unit API.


Influences the design of the application or page: if an application or software is developed using an approach based on unit tests, this can completely replace the formal design since each test can be seen as a design element that specifies classes and observable behavior.




A DevOps perspective on a unit test


Before we get into here, let's give a basic definition of what DevOps is. According to the definition given by Microsoft, DevOps is a composite of development (Dev) and operations (Ops), translating this as the union of people, processes, and technology to provide value to customers on an ongoing basis.


One of the maximum rules in the culture of DevOps is to seek the efficiency of the development process through automation. With a unit test and other types of automated tests that perform regression testing in place of the human team, a QA is released and can focus on testing the new application or functionality of the website.


Why apply Unit Testing?


There are many reasons why the development team should be applying unit tests to their ongoing projects, we explain some of them in this article:


The process becomes agile


"This is the main benefit of unit testing. When you add more features to any software, you may need to make changes to the previous design and code, and this can be costly and risky. If you use the unit testing methodology, this can save a lot of time and can make the whole process much faster and easier", explained the Performance Lab portal in one of its articles.


Improve code quality


"Unit tests significantly improve code quality. It helps developers identify the smallest flaws that may be present in units before performing integration tests," they added.


Faster problem identification


It is a way to more quickly detect all kinds of errors in the code at an early stage, being able to solve these situations in time before the project continues advancing.


"The main advantage of this is that when problems are resolved at an early stage, no other part of the software is affected. This leads to increased efficiency, reduced downtime and reduced costs that would otherwise arise as a result." result of the stagnation of the entire design process", detailed in Performance Lab.


Best practices for running unit tests


  • Before unit testing, you should make sure that the code you are working on is solid. "There are cases where the test fails or, in the worst case, does not run at all if the code is broken," they emphasized in an article on the Software Testing Help portal.
  • The code must be understandable, easy to understand: "This makes it easy for the developer to write the code and even other developers who will work on the code later will find it easy to debug."
  • The tests can also be automated and it is very useful for developers, but in this portal specialized in Unit Testing they assure that this must be "in a continuous process of delivery or integration".


What software can you do unit tests with?


Here we will explain several programs with which you can run automated unit tests:




"It is a free-to-use testing tool used for the Java programming language. It provides assertions to identify the test method. This tool first tests the data and then inserts it into the piece of code," explained the Guru99 portal.




This software is mostly used for unit testing for all .net languages: "It's an open source tool that allows you to write scripts manually. It supports data-driven tests that can be run in parallel."




It is an open source tool that "allows you to simulate APIs with record and check syntax. This tool offers line coverage, route coverage, and data coverage."




If you are looking for another open source tool, EMMA is another one of them. It constitutes "an open source toolkit for analyzing and reporting code written in the Java language. Emma supports coverage types such as method, line, basic block. It is based on Java, so it has no dependencies on external libraries and can access the source code," explained Guru99.


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