Modern integration: Keeping up with demands by using the right testing tools

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The application requirements of the modern age are far more demanding than those of traditional software. Deliverables need cross-platform functionality, as well as the ability to integrate with a wide variety of other programs. Testing the Internet of Things and mobile applications puts added strain on testers, who must not only ensure critical functionality, but also need to achieve interoperability across a diverse array of platforms. 

On top of that, consumer demands can change at the drop of a hat, giving developers little choice but to adapt in step. This flexibility is ultimately the reason agile methodologies have become so essential. Not only does it provide developers, designers and testers with the framework they need to deploy quickly and easily, but it also helps to ensure that no unforeseen problems arise upon release. 

In order to achieve this, QA management demands certain features out of a testing tool. 

Automate integration testing

Integration can be divided into two subsections, according to QA Matters: integration tests at the code component level, and integration tests at the system component level. The former ensures that different code units work well with one another, while the latter checks for the integration of systems at the API layer.

One of the problems with integration testing, according to DZone contributor Nicolas Frankel is that when done manually, it's a time-consuming, tedious process. Frankel noted that developers will typically automate unit tests, which ensure the integrity of code at its most basic level, without needing test automation integration.

Some tests, such as test cases at the user interface level, will undoubtedly have to remain manual; however, integration testing can be automated, and according to feedback on a StackExchange forum, is actually more useful than automating unit testing. 

"In my experience the most bugs seems to be in the interaction between modules, and not so much the actual (usual limited) logic of each unit," the respondent wrote. "Also regressions often happened because of changing interfaces between modules (and changed pre and post-conditions.)"

Therefore, by automating integration tests, you not only increase the likelihood of catching problems prior to deployment by covering the space in which they're most likely to occur, but you also speed up the methodology behind doing so. This helps organizations keep up with the ever-changing demands of consumers. 

The other side of integration: Agile test management software

In order for agile teams to adequately address the many elements of integration testing, they themselves need test management tools that integrate seamlessly with one another. This is the only way that they can create a framework in which developers, testers and designers are constantly on the same page. In an agile environment, anything less than real-time tracking of projects can lead to misunderstandings that risk degrading the integrity of the deliverable. As such, teams need a test management tool that can easily integrate with the software development platform. This allows them to easily create, execute, track and save test cases. 

Test automation will also be extremely important to staying afloat in today's fast-paced software production climate. As such, QA teams need test management tools with an automation integration feature. The ability to leverage the functionality of a test automation tool within a test management tool that the team is comfortable using enhances your QA capabilities. Combined with the aforementioned, up-to-the-second tracking functionality of a strong test management tool, it will be much easier for organizations to become agile enough to respond to market conditions. 

Integration testing is becoming increasingly important. This is especially true in the business world where an increasing number of applications are being used in chorus to expedite workflows and improve collaboration for the sake of boosting the bottom line. Add in the proliferation of enterprise mobility, the fact that many professionals are choosing to work from home, or locations of their choosing, and one thing becomes very clear: There are just so many ways in which an application can fail. Testing for all of them would be impossible if performed manually, and a poorly choreographed mess without a streamlined framework for agile testing methodologies.

A strong, well-integrated test management tool precludes both of these potential problems. 

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