In embedded software development, it is vital that every line of code be bug free in order to ensure reliable operations and the safety of the professionals involved in the process. To achieve this high level of quality, certain methods, like software unit testing, are employed to not only ensure code is accurate, but that it has the intended results when operating.
Unit testing is a process by which individual segments, or "units," of code are run through tests to ensure they function as intended. These units are considered to be the smallest testable part of software code, an individual process or function, that can be run with an effect. Unit testing occurs primarily during development.
When performing unit testing, parameters are set, by which these units of code are run in isolation with mock objects and subjects. As such, it provides a number of benefits over many other forms of testing. Not only does unit testing help developers discover issues during the development process, which makes them easier to address and fix, but it also simplifies further integration testing. By not only testing applications as they are built, but making it easier for future testing once the product has been completed, unit testing is a must for any software development that can affect lives.
Unit testing also facilitates certain styles of embedded software creation, such as agile development, which relies on frequent releases and updates to shorten the development cycle. With unit testing, software engineers can improve the quality of their software even while decreasing production time.
Often, unit testing is an automated process, as it is intended to isolate and validate units of code, not correct them. This process can be run independently of development, allowing software engineers to analyze the results and fix any issues, or quickly move on when no errors are found. Without automation, unit testing would not promote reduced time to market for the finished product.
Ultimately, the benefits of unit testing are faster production, simplified integration and improved quality of code overall. For any embedded software developer, these advantages are vital to not only creating a safer, more reliable product, but remaining competitive in the market at the same time.