What is Integration Testing?

  • By Chetna Malagi
  • September 2, 2023
  • Software Testing
What is Integration Testing?

What is Integration Testing?

Certainly! Integration testing is a critical phase in the software testing life cycle. Let’s delve into the details of What is Integration Testing? especially from a manual testing perspective.

1. What is Integration Testing

Integration testing is the process of testing the interfaces and interactions between different modules or units of a software application. It’s designed to ensure that integrated units work smoothly together. This is the level above unit testing and below system testing.

2. Why is Integration Testing Important?

  • Interface Contracts: To ensure that individual software modules communicate properly with each other.
  • Data Integrity: To make sure that data passed between modules remains intact and unaltered.
  • Functional Interactions: To ensure that functional calls between modules work as expected.
  • Error Handling: To ensure that errors are handled gracefully and don’t cause system crashes or inappropriate behavior.

3. Types of Integration Testing (in manual context):

  1. Big Bang Approach: This is where most of the modules or units are integrated simultaneously, and the system is tested as a whole. This can lead to the challenge of isolating defects and is generally not recommended.
  2. Incremental Approach: This is a more systematic approach where two or more modules are integrated incrementally, and then they are tested as a group. This approach can further be divided into
  • Top-Down Testing: The higher-level modules are tested first, often with the help of stubs (a simple implementation of a module, often just returning hardcoded values) for lower-level modules that haven’t yet been developed.
  • Bottom-Up Testing: The lower-level modules are tested first, using drivers (programs or scripts that initiate and control the execution of the module under test) to simulate higher-level modules.
  1. Sandwich/Hybrid Approach: A combination of both Top-Down and Bottom-Up approaches.


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4. Integration Testing Process (manual context):

  1. Prepare Test Environment: Set up the necessary infrastructure, tools, and other requirements.
  2. Develop Test Cases: Design test cases focusing on module interfaces, data flow between modules, and functional interactions.
  3. Execute Test Cases: Run the tests manually, focusing on interactions between the modules.
  4. Log Defects: If an issue or unexpected behavior is detected, it should be logged properly with steps to reproduce, expected outcome, actual result, and other necessary details.
  5. Retest: Once the defects are fixed, the test cases should be re-executed to ensure the fix is valid.
  6. Test Reporting: Document the results of integration tests, providing details about the executed test cases, passed/failed tests, and open/closed defects.

5. Challenges in Manual Integration Testing:

  1. Complex Interactions: Sometimes, the interactions between modules can be very intricate, making it challenging to test manually.
  2. Isolating Defects: When many modules are integrated and tested together, it can be tough to pinpoint which module is causing the defect.
  3. Extensive Effort: Manual integration testing can be time-consuming, especially when the number of module interactions is large.


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Test Scenario on Integration Testing 

Let’s consider a real-world example: Online Bookstore.

Scenario: A user wants to purchase a book from an online bookstore. The user browses the collection, selects a book, adds it to the cart, and then proceeds to checkout.

Components/Modules involved:

  1. User Account Management System: Manages user login, registration, and profile management.
  2. Book Catalog System: Manages the display of books, including descriptions, ratings, and prices.
  3. Cart Management System: Allows users to add books to their cart and view the cart contents.
  4. Payment System: Processes payments and returns payment status.
  5. Order Management System: Handles the creation, update, and tracking of orders.


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Integration Testing Scenarios:

  • User Account and Cart Management:

  • Test the scenario where a logged-in user adds a book to the cart.
  • Verify that the cart reflects the correct book and quantity.
  • Test how the cart behaves when a non-logged-in user tries to add a book. It might prompt them to log in or register.
  • Book Catalog and Cart Management:

  • When a user adds a book to the cart, check if the correct book details (like title, price, and author) are passed to the cart.
  • Test removing a book from the cart and ensure the book catalog reflects availability accurately.
  • Cart Management and Payment System.

  • When proceeding to checkout, the cart should transfer the correct amount to the payment system.
  • Test the scenario where the payment system returns a payment failure. The cart should handle this gracefully, maybe by displaying an appropriate error message.
  • Payment System and Order Management:

  • Once a payment is successful, the order management system should create an order with the correct details.
  • If a payment fails, ensure no order is created.
  • Order Management and User Account:

  • A user should be able to view their past orders in their account/profile section.
  • Test the update of an order (like address change) and see if it reflects correctly in the user’s account.


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Remember, the focus of integration testing in these scenarios is on the interaction between the systems, not the individual behavior within each system. If the Book Catalog System has a bug displaying book details, that’s a concern for unit testing. But if it sends the wrong book details to the Cart when a user adds a book, that’s an integration issue.


Chetna Malagi
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