What is Integration Testing?

Integration Testing is the next level of software testing after Unit Testing. The individual components or units are integrated and tested as a part of a group. The objective of Integrated Testing is to identify defects when such integrated units interact. For instance, consider how a bicycle is manufactured. We can almost draw an analogy with the manufacturing of a bicycle where individual components such as tyres, brakes, etc. are manufactured and each ‘unit’ is tested separately. Thereafter, these components are together – a few at a time – tested to see how they interact with the other integrated parts.

There are two broad types of Integration Testing:

A. Component Integration Testing – It is carried out to detect faults in the interactions among different integrated components.

B. System Integration Testing – It is performed to test the integration of distinct packages. It fundamentally tests the interfaces to external agencies, for instance, the packages over the internet.

The method adopted for Integration Testing depends upon how a ‘unit’ has been defined. So, any of these – Black Box, White Box or Grey Box Testing can be used.

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Benefits of Integration Testing

This is the second level of testing after Unit Testing and just before System Testing. Integrated Testing yields many benefits – it is possible to identify flaws at this second level. Sometimes, the ‘units’ by themselves might be performing as designed and expected but problems may arise when such units are not interacting in a way they were expected to. It is possible to identify such loopholes at this second level and iron them out with effective debugging.

This procedure not only saves a lot of time and effort, but also saves a lot of cost. It is important, however, that Integration Testing be carried out by a third party to ensure that the software is looked upon by an independent tester before it is floated out for use by the end users.

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