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GroboTestingJUnit version 1.2.1

Integration Unit Tests

Author:Matt Albrecht

In the terminology I present in this series of articles, unit tests assert that the smallest unit of code (classes for OOP) work as designed. System level tests verify that the whole application works as planned, and that outside forces do not cause unexpected errors.

Integration unit tests (IUTs) reside in the middle ground between these two extremes. At the lowest level, IUTs ensure that two classes work together correctly. Note that unit tests may fall into this location as well, otherwise unit tests would be restricted to only using mock-objects to simulate any required interaction. At the highest level, IUTs check that large groups of components work or fail correctly when presented with a specific initial state, which can fall into the same area as system level tests.

The Grobo Way

I tend to view IUTs from the perspective of another application wanting to reuse the functionality presented by the set of classes under test. They have full access to the public methods and fields, as well as full access to any protected methods and fields for subclassed objects.

The tests may try to use the classes in obscure ways, but any contract defined by the classes must be followed (otherwise, it's a class-user error, which should be tested in unit tests, not IUTs).

Standards for Integration

Libraries: Note that the IUTs test the "public", or "outside" usage of the library. The IUTs can be used as a litmus test to ensure that the library retains binary backwards compatability with earlier versions. My standard is that once a library is shipped as outside of beta, then the existing IUTs must not change. If an IUT fails, then binary compatiblity has broken. If the change is required for a new functionality, then the library enters a new major version. Due to the package naming convention of GroboUtils, the old major version (say, v3) will remain in the code base, while the revised version will enter a new package (in this example, v4).

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