Unit Testing Best Practices: 11 Effective Tricks

Unit tests are great! I mean look at the perks.

They help in regression testing, checking code quality, etc.

But they are often discarded to speed up the SDLC.  Often the cost in doing so has been hefty.  What if we say that there are best practices that can take care of the issue?

In order to help you with the process, Let’s have a look at some effective Unit Testing Best Practices

What is Unit Testing?

A Unit testing basically covers every small functionality of your software. It verifies the behavior of one component of your software which is independent of other parts.

In Unit Testing there are basically three parts :

What is unit testing?

  1. Initialization: An initialized, testable portion of an application is tiny. Typically, the program is referred to as SUT (System Under Test).
  2. Stimulus: After initialization, a stimulus is applied to the application which is under test. It is usually done by invoking a method that will contain the code to test the functionality of the SUT.
  3. Result: After the stimulus has been applied to the SUT, then comes the result. This actual result has to be compared with the expected result. If it passes then the functionality is working fine else you need to figure out the problem which is in the system under test.

unit testing processing

11  Unit Testing Best Practices

  1. Tests should be isolated

The test cases have to be separate from one another and they can be organized any way you choose. Apart from this. You can define the cluster  – short or long-running test cases. Every test should be orthogonal in such a way that it should be independent of other test cases.

If it weren’t the case, then every modification to the behavior of one test case would have an impact on other tests. This may be accomplished by adhering to the single, uncomplicated rule: “Don’t try to add unnecessary assertions.”

Assertions that correspond to a particular application’s behavior should be included. They shouldn’t rely on any other external elements and should be able to operate independently.

The example tests whether a number can be added with a zero. Multiplication

2. High Speed

Unit tests are an essential part of the software development process, allowing developers to ensure that their application is free of bugs. To achieve this, developers design unit tests in a way that enables repeated execution, effectively catching any potential issues.

However, it is crucial to consider the efficiency of these tests, as slower test execution times can negatively impact the overall test suite. Even a single slow test can significantly increase the time required to run the entire suite of unit tests.

To mitigate this issue, developers should adhere to best coding practices when writing unit tests. By incorporating concepts such as streams into the test code, the execution speed can be improved exponentially.

Therefore, utilizing streams in unit test code is considered a highly beneficial practice. It not only enhances the speed of execution but also contributes to more efficient and effective testing processes.

3. High Readability

For successful communication of the functionality being tested, readability and clarity should be given top priority in unit tests. Each test should outline the situation it is testing and provide a concise tale. If a test fails, the reason why should be obvious, making it easy to find the issue and fix it.

Test cases should be organized logically and simply in order to improve readability. It might be challenging to comprehend and manage tests with complex test cases. So, order and simplicity are crucial.

For both variables and test cases, naming is essential. Each term should appropriately describe the capability and action being evaluated.

Avoid employing meaningless or ornately-sounding names. For instance, a variable or test with the name “Show Logical Exception” doesn’t make it obvious what it performs.

Developers may write unit tests that are simple to understand by following these guidelines, enabling effective debugging and troubleshooting.

4. Good Designing of Tests

Developers may adhere to the following best practices to ensure that unit tests are well-designed:

Single Responsibility Principle: Each test needs to concentrate on a particular action or circumstance. This improves isolation and makes tests easier to read and comprehend.

Use descriptive names for tests and variables to make the purpose and functionality being tested very obvious. This makes the text easier to read and makes it easier to comprehend the exams’ objectives fast.

To minimize cascade failures, test independence should be maintained. Every test need to be autonomous and able to function alone.

Arrange-Act-Assert (AAA) Pattern: Create tests that follow the AAA pattern, which divides the test into three parts: setting up the required preconditions, carrying out the action or operation, and asserting the anticipated result. The readability is improved, and worries are divided.

Test Coverage: To offer thorough coverage, make sure your tests cover a variety of situations, edge cases, and corner cases. This makes the code more resilient and helps in recognizing possible problems.

5. High Reliability

Unit tests are essential for finding problems and guaranteeing the dependability of software systems.

Tests need to ideally only fail when the system is really broken. There are, however, several circumstances in which tests may fail even in the absence of flaws.

It is possible for developers to get into situations where a test runs well on its own but fails when included in a bigger test suite.

Similar unexpected failures could happen when tests are moved to a continuous integration server. These circumstances often point to system design faults.

Minimizing dependence on external elements, such as the environment or certain machine configurations, is crucial for producing high-quality unit tests.

Regardless of the execution environment, unit tests should be created to be independent and consistent. This guarantees that tests get trustworthy results and correctly detect issues.

There may be dependencies or design problems in the codebase if tests repeatedly fail or are sensitive to the execution environment.

The reliability and efficiency of unit tests must be increased by recognizing and fixing these design faults.

Developers may construct strong unit tests that regularly find flaws and provide accurate feedback on the behavior of the system by aiming for test independence and reducing external dependencies.

6. Adopt a Well-organised Test Practice

In order to improve the quality of software development and testing, it is essential to use a well-organized testing procedure.

Significant advancements may be achieved by ensuring that the testing process is in line with software development.

One efficient method is to write test code before production code so that tests may be evaluated while the software is being developed.

This proactive strategy guarantees that tests are in place to confirm the functioning of the code and enables the early detection of any problems.

A well-organized test practice may also be considerably aided by using approaches like test-driven development, mutation testing, or behavior-driven programming.

These methods aid in improving test code quality and encourage a better understanding of the source.

Developers may create a strong and organized testing process that improves the overall quality of the product by adhering to these best practices.

Early defect identification, communication between developers and testers, and complete codebase validation via efficient test coverage are all made possible.

Some effective unit testing good practices that we follow

 7. Automates Unit Testing

Though automated unit testing may sound challenging. But it is for no doubt ensures quick feedback, more test coverage, better performance, etc. It in short helps in in-depth testing and gives better results.

8. Focus on a Single Use-Case at a Time

Another good practice of unit test coding is to test a single-use case at one time to verify its behaviors against the expected output.

 9. Keep it Unit, Not Integration

Sometimes, we unknowingly shift our focus from unit testing to integration testing. Including more external factors and thus making it difficult to isolate issues and also increasing the production time. And hence we should ensure that unit testing is compulsory unit testing.

10.  100% Code Coverage

Since unit tests concentrate on evaluating distinct pieces of code, it is theoretically feasible to achieve 100% test coverage using just unit tests.

However, aiming for comprehensive coverage in every circumstance may not always be feasible or essential.

Code coverage is a useful indicator, but to guarantee thorough software validation, it should be combined with other testing techniques like manual testing and integration testing.

However, to ensure maximum efficiency,

  • Divide the application into more manageable, testable components like classes, functions, or methods. Each unit needs to have a distinct function and be capable of independent testing.
  • Create unit tests for each unit that cover various situations and edge cases. Aim to test every potential code path included inside each unit, being sure to exercise all branches and conditions.
  • Use test coverage tools or frameworks that can gauge the level of code coverage attained by the tests. These programs provide reports identifying the parts of the code that the tests do not cover.
  • Review the code coverage data to find regions of poor coverage. Analyze. Concentrate on building more tests that specifically target those places, making sure to exercise all code paths and eliminate any untested parts.
  • If specific sections of the code are challenging to test, think about restructuring those sections to make them more testable. To separate units for testing, remove dependencies, disconnect closely connected components, and use mocking or stubbing approaches.
  • Include unit tests in the development process by automatically executing them after every change to the code. This guarantees that any new code additions or updates are checked for coverage right away.

 11. Start Using Headless Testing in the Cloud

Conducting automated tests on online applications or software systems without the use of a graphical user interface (GUI) is referred to as “headless testing” in the cloud.

Through direct contact with the underlying code and APIs, headless testing simulates user interactions and verifies functionality.

Headless testing may be carried out in a scalable and distributed way by using cloud infrastructure, enabling the concurrent execution of tests across several virtual computers.

This strategy has advantages including increased testing effectiveness, fewer resource needs, and the capacity to test in many contexts and configurations, improving the general quality and dependability of the program.


Unit tests are mostly considered a burden, especially in a team where team members are working on multiple projects at a time. in this kind of scenario, automation can help a lot. Just make sure that the tests are accessible, maintainable and readable, and self-contained.

Hope you will put our suggestion for unit testing best practices to better use. Together, let’s make sure that quality remains a habit. 


Unit Testing vs Integration Testing : What’s the Difference?

Unit Testing vs Integration Testing! Do you know what’s the difference between unit testing and integration testing?
Both of them are essential in the development phase as unit testing will evaluate the code you have written for particular feature means while integration testing will ensure that it’s working fine with the rest of the system.
But the difference doesn’t end there.
Let’s make an inch to inch comparison between both the process. Unit Test vs Integration Test!

1) What is UnitTesting:

  • Tests that are conducted by developers for a particular unit of code such as module or component that has been developed by them
  • One of the most effective and simple way to determine if the individual units of source code that are being tested are perfect and ready to use
  • Helps in cutting down the cost of bug fixes as the bugs are identified during the early stages of the software development life cycle (SDLC)

2) What is Integration Testing:

  • A type of testing that tests a product in terms of the integration between its modules
  • Its one of the most effective software testing techniques in which the individual units of a program are combined and tested as a group
  • Executed with the help of test stubs and test drivers that assist in its easy execution

Unit Testing vs Integration Testing – The Differences.

Both these forms of testing have their own significance but it is important to understand the difference between the two:

1. Aim

Unit testing tests each part of the program individually so as to ensure that each of them perform correctly. Whereas, integration testing combines the modules and test them as a group for their optimum functionality.

2. Time of testing

Unit testing is independent and can be performed at any point of SDLC. On the other hand, integration testing is conducted after unit testing is completed and system testing begins.

3. Sub-Divisions

Unit testing cannot be sub-divided whereas integration testing can be divided into top-down integration, bottom-up integration and so on.

4. Integration Errors

Unit testing cannot identify integration errors, or other system-wide errors that exist. Whereas, integration testing can identify all sorts of errors as its purpose is to test and identify errors in modules.

5. Specification

Unit testing begins with the specification of the modules whereas integration testing begins with interface specification.

6. Type of Testing

Unit testing is a form of white-box testing, which refers to testing of internal structure of a program or application. Whereas, integration testing is both white-box and black box testing.

7. External Dependencies

Unit testing does not examine whether a program code works properly with external dependencies whereas integration testing tests the code on the same parameters.

8. Maintenance

Conducted by the software developer oneself, testing a program using unit testing is cheaper as compared to integration testing which is executed by a team of testers.

Unit and Integration Testing are Equally Important

Both these forms of testing have their own importance as the absence of one might impact the overall performance and development of the product.

While unit testing ensures that optimum quality during the development phase of the product, integration testing ensures that there are no errors pending after the development of different modules.
Moreover, identifying the errors during integration testing raises the need for conducting unit testing again so as to identify the specific error in the program.
Therefore, to ensure the premium product delivery, it is better and advisable to keep implementing both these forms of testing as and when required.

The Need of Unit Testing in Software Development

Imagine the architect building your dream house skipping your ventilation or forgetting to leave points for power plugins. Wouldn’t it be odd? Of course it will be

app testing

Just like that, unit testing is also something you cannot afford to forget while building up a software.

So what is this unit testing?

Read also

3 Key Fears of Software Testing Professionals

Unit testing is a part of software testing like integration testing, penetration testing, usability testing and so on. In unit testing, a program or software is divided into the smallest functional unitsmaking testing effective and helps testers find out bugs easily. Unit testing is not something that produces an end product, but it is something that goes on with the process

In fact, unit testing makes your job easy.

In the developmental stage itself, unit testing reduces bugs which save time and money in the long run. As unit testing breaks software into simple codes and undergo testing of functionalities one by one, it gives more clarity and enables testers to find errors instantly.

You know what happens when you have a tendency to postpone unit testing ?

Testers have the tendency to drop unit testing for later, considering it as the last thing to do.

This happens not because developers are lazy, (unless they actually are’) ;But because unit testing is different from all other kinds of testing. Unit testing requires totally different kind of programs, written to test the function and logic errors of a software.

It has to be maintained throughout the life time process of a software.

Try cutting it down to the line and you face the risk of critical errors costing you.

How unit testing reduces bugs?

Don’t worry, this is not going to cost you any extra money.

Then how is it going to work? Let’s take a look

Effective unit testing happens with a good developer. Some suggest that keeping codes in written formats helps you understand codes better. Even though smaller projects may benefit from unit testing, larger projects are the usual ones that are in immediate need of unit testing. For them it’s mandatory.

If unit testing is going to be the very next step after creating initial prototype, then developers and clients have to be aware about the time needed to develop unit testing at the time of developing project.

Patience in doing unit testing brings difference. Take a little time and get the job done, don’t act quickly.

Since unit testing is done in modules, it’s easy to understand the additions and changes done to the software.They won’t get mixed with other codes or sections. Unit testing can provide a classic quality to your software.

Always remember to avoid complicated codes and pay some attention to threat warning.

automation testing

‘Thinking twice’ and checking twice can also help in successful testing.

Recommended Read

Top Software Testing Skills Required for Success in 2017

Objectives of unit testing

when writing unit testing don’t forget to remember these three points:-

  1. Codes should be readable

  2. Allow automation testing

  3. Written tests should be manageable.

How you can benefit from unit testing

  • Quickly allows to make changes
  • Saves time
  • Test driven development tell you when to stop coding
  • Helps define and document what something is supposed to do.
  • Codes can be re-used in new project
  • Coding constipation can be fixed by test-driven development, they help in fast movements of complicated codes
  • Test driven development brings a successful outcome combining the codes and test work together
  • Instead of constructing a code, testing outlines all the codes you need and brings out what developer wants the codes to do. 
  • Instant visual feedback
  • Unit testing helps developers understand the code instead of writing code for an expected outcome.