So, earlier I mentioned Mock Objects — The TDD variant that requires isolation of the tested component. The Mock Objects technique requires a hierarchy of tests:
- At the lowest level, objects are tested in isolation against mocks.
- Higher up, objects are tested in collaboration with a few other real objects.
- Higher up, the entire system is tested.
- At the top level, test define if the system is complete.
That’s a good hierarchy. My only problem is with the names that they use.
Mock Object developers use these names:
Long before that, I head people use these names:
- “Why are you testing at such a low level? Don’t waste your time.”
- “We probably ought to run the whole thing on some sample data.”
On top of which, there are two other things called “Integration Tests”, which long predate Mock Objects:
QA Integration Tests: We’ve upgraded to the latest version of of GUI library. Let’s run some integration tests to make sure nothing broke. (Usually a full regression sweep.)
(Pre-Agile) Developer Integration Tests: We’re merging three new feature branches on Tuesday. We’d better do some testing to make sure they integrate properly.
At this stage of the game, it’s just not a good idea to re-use existing terms for different things. Especially when telling the difference between those things requires you to read the mind of the speaker.