Test Harness in Software Testing | What is Test Harness
In today’s tutorial, we intend to uncover what is meant by test harness in Software Testing, one of those rarely spoken or spelled out word in the testing community.
Working in a real-life testing environment in a company, I have realized nobody really speaks the testing language. They prefer their native tongue. Some of the things we are using don’t even have a name. People don’t even call a potato a potato, forget the pronunciation.
One such word is Test Harness. Did you ever come across it while testing? Well, surprise, surprise! It’s just one of those thousand words that do not mean a thing when said out loud unless you put its purpose next to it.
Let’s see what Test Harness is all about.
What is Test Harness in Software Testing?
A general definition of Test Harness would be similar to that of a framework. But it is still a little different. Test harness is an automated test framework which we use to test a program unit. It is made of stubs and drivers that help in interacting with the software and make testing easier.
The following two main parts comprise it:
- Test Execution Engine
- Test Script Repository
The first one, Test Execution Engine is nothing but the software you are using to perform testing. While, Test Script repository is a place where your test scripts and test cases are stored. Together we call them as Test Harness.
So in short, you can call it as a collection of software (Execution engine) and test data (script repository) that you need to run a test.
Usage in Actual Testing Scenarios
You will hear this term generally in two places:
- Automation Testing
- Integration Testing
Let’s see where.
In an automation testing environment, Harness holds test scripts and test data. They are responsible for calling the required functions or methods to compare the results eventually matching the expected with the actual. Using a test harness you can run specific tests.
In Integration testing, on the other hand, it becomes what you call a test stub. It basically facilitates testing by simulating a service or a particular functionality. It is external to the system that’s being tested. You use it to check the testing behaviour when you don’t have a product or a system to create the exact working scenario.
So let’s say you are testing an ATM machine screen functionality. Now you cannot put the whole ATM machine in your office instead you can simulate (create a substitute) a module that will force the system to think that it’s taking inputs from an ATM.
That being said Test Harness assists us in scenarios that are difficult to test.
Objectives of Test Harness in Software Testing
The following are the main objectives of Test Harness:
- To automate the testing process
- To execute test suites
- Generate reports
- To make testing easy
The Final Word
I would like to end this by urging everyone in the testing community to start using the terms that are there, as it will not only help in identifying what is what, but will also help those who are trying to learn things in testing. Because it’s not always about just cracking interviews but about sticking to standards. Standards that might help the posterity.