Time is the primary source of stress and pressure for developers. Writing intricate code can consume the bulk of the time allocated for a major project. Perhaps even more time-consuming, is the testing of that code and searching for errors. When an application is first developed, more often than not, it fails to work. Hours upon hours can be exhausted finding the error. The process is even more frustrating when it is discovered that one minor line of code is the source of the problem.
But new technology is saving developers hours (and sometimes days) by performing unit tests instead of manual line-by-line tests. A unit is considered the smallest part of an application that can be tested for functionality. The source code is grouped together with control data, usage procedures, and operating procedures; it is then tested to see that it behaves the way developers intended. Unit test framework technology can run full cycles of tests on desktops, servers, and even mobile platforms. Developers can also customize smaller tests and application program interface functions inside of a unit test, to save increasingly more time.
Similar to Selenium, which was a portable software testing framework used for web applications, Robotium is a new test framework that allows developers to write robust test cases for mobile applications. Specifically designed with Android in mind, Robotium can write function, system, and acceptance test scenarios for multiple device activities. The framework performs perfectly on Android with Java unit tests, and it can also work for iPhone applications with built-in unit tests. Combining unit test technology with GUI (graphical user interface) is also possible by using a unit test for the server functionality and core functionality. This will work for both the Android platform and the iPhone platform.
These testing frameworks are comprehensive, include many popular programming languages, and can deploy on multiple browser platforms. Most importantly, unit testing with these frameworks saves invaluable time. Every hour spent unit testing saves ten hours of de-bugging time. This becomes important as the development of the application evolves. If a server developer changes something, the application code needs to be re-tested. If thirty or forty functions for the application program interface need to be manually tested, that could mean multiple developers testing the code for several days.
Unit test frameworks are freeing developers from the tedious and menial time constraints of manual code testing. These automated frameworks are the wave of the future for developers, making manual de-bugging history.
May 25, 2012