Integration testing (sometimes called integration and testing, abbreviated I&T) is the phase in software testing in which individual software modules are combined and tested as a group. It occurs after unit testing and before validation testing. Integration testing takes as its input modules that have been unit tested, groups them in larger aggregates, applies tests defined in an integration test plan to those aggregates, and delivers as its output the integrated system ready for system testing.
Some different types of integration testing are big-bang, top-down, and bottom-up, mixed (sandwich) and risky hardest. Other Integration Patterns are: collaboration integration, backbone integration, layer integration, client server integration, distributed services integration and high-frequency integration.
In the big-bang approach, most of the developed modules are coupled together to form a complete software system or major part of the system and then used for integration testing. This method is very effective for saving time in the integration testing process. However, if the test cases and their results are not recorded properly, the entire integration process will be more complicated and may prevent the testing team from achieving the goal of integration testing.
Top-down integration testing is an integration testing technique used in order to simulate the behaviour of the lower-level modules that are not yet integrated. Stubs are the modules that act as temporary replacement for a called module and give the same output as that of the actual product.
Bottom-up testing is an approach to integrated testing where the lowest level components are tested first, then used to facilitate the testing of higher level components. The process is repeated until the component at the top of the hierarchy is tested.
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