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What is Test Harness?

By Sanghita Ganguly, Community Contributor -

Most programmers or testers have heard about the term “harness”. It is a tool for controlling a software process that involves detailed testing of the data, drivers, features or any other unit of an application in different scenarios under various conditions. The behavior and output are monitored, and a report is generated.

So if you’re wondering about the test harness process, keep reading to learn more about this process, its importance, types, and the best way to conduct this test.

What is Test Harness?

As part of any software testing strategy, a test harness is one of the popular testing processes that help QA testers to test each app’s features in detail, executing tests and generating a report for developers. So that developers can analyze the report and make changes per desired output. Typically, the test harness collects software, data, drivers, and other tools to test an application in different circumstances.

Key Features of the Test Harness

  • Execute test suite in the framework
  • Offers flexibility & support for debugging
  • Record test results
  • Measure the code coverage
  • Enter test data to an application under test

Before we begin to describe how Test Harnessing is performed, we need to understand its significance and under which context it is used.

Importance of Test Harness

A few key reasons for using the test harness process in software testing:

  • Automate the testing process
  • Execute test suites of test cases
  • Generate detailed test reports
  • Useful for debugging
  • Record test each time 
  • Analyse test results
  • Help in test case optimisation
  • Increases productivity through automation
  • Easy to handle the complex testing conditions

Context where Test Harness is used

When it comes to context, the test harness is used in two major tests:

  1. Automation Testing
  2. Integration Testing

Automation Testing

In Automation Testing, a test harness works as a framework that contains testing scripts with specific parameters to run those scripts more effectively. After testing, a detailed report is generated to see the outcome. So that developers can analyze the report, make improvements and develop the desired output. 

Automation testing is required when there is a need for:

  • Repetitive testing
  • Complex testing
  • Smoke testing
  • Data driven testing
  • Performance testing

An example of a test harness would be to say you have built a delivery app of some sort. Now you need to test every feature of the app to see whether everything is fine and there should not be any loose ends. 

It would be difficult to check the code, its stability, whether the GUI is okay, and whether the app is secure. Since it is difficult to test it in a single shot. 

With BrowserStack App Automate, you can test on 3,000+ real cloud devices & browsers. It allows you to check each feature in detail in different scenarios, thus consuming less time and effort and resulting in fewer errors.

​​Also integrate with BrowserStack using Appium, Espresso, XCUITest and Flutter.

Try Automation Testing

Integration Testing

Integration Testing is another type of software testing in which many units and components are combined to test their functionalities to determine whether they’re producing the desired output.

In simple words, it is used to identify errors when all the units & components are integrated. But integration testing errors rarely happen, so many QA testers prefer to use test stubs and test drivers. A test use case can give an example of Integration Testing.

Imagine the following scenario, an app consisting of three modules. Say, one module is Login Page, the other one is a Mailbox, and the third one is Deleting emails or something of that type. Now, look at how each of them has been integrated logically.

Perform the Login Page testing by the Unit Testing method. Then check how it’s linked to the page that has the mailbox. Again, perform an integration test on the Delete Mails page.

Benefits of Test Harness

There are numerous benefits of Test Harness process, we’ve handpicked the top-most reasons:

  • To improve software quality
  • Automate the testing process
  • Useful in debugging
  • Easily manage complex testing conditions.
  • Detailed Report generation
  • Record test results
  • Increase productivity
  • Enhance software quality

Difference between Test Harness vs. Test Framework

Test HarnessTest Framework
A Test Harness is a collection of drivers & stubs that interact in the software testingA set of processes, procedures, abstract concepts and environment in the automated testing
No option for “Record & Playback” scripts in test harnessRecord & Playback script available in this framework
It covers all necessary information for compiling, testing and deployment. Test Framework contains information like test library, testing tools, automated testing, practices etc.
Test harness comes in two categories i.e., Automation Testing & Integration TestingSome of the best examples of automation framework are:
  • Data-driven testing
  • Keyword driven testing
  • Modularity driven testing
  • Hybrid testing
  • Model-based testing
  • Code driven testing
  • Behaviour-driven testing

Wrapping it up!

The test harness is a valuable testing process to find detailed issues in software testing, increase productivity and generate a detailed report that helps developers to resolve the issues. 

Note that with BrowserStack Real Device Cloud, QA testers can automate the application testing & test each feature in detail with different scenarios and generate a report. So developers can analyze and resolve the issues more effectively.

What is Test Harness?

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