Functional Integration Test Planning

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This case study uses the example of an ATM machine to serve as a tutorial for writing test cases for functional integration testing.

Integration testing is the process of validating proper functionality between two or more components. Some shops use different definitions of a "component", so first one should determine the type of integration being performed. The most common use of the concept of integration testing is directly after unit testing. A unit will be developed, it will be tested by itself during unit test, and then it will be integrated with surrounding units in the program. Integration testing could also be used to describe the validation of multiple programs in an application, multiple applications in a company, or multiple companies in a network.

With an ATM machine, there may be several units that verify user data: bank account verification, PIN verification, and bank account status verification. All of these individual units would be integrated into the Verification module. The Verification module would be integrated with a Banking module and a driver for the mechanical pieces, into the entire ATM application. After this testing was complete, integration testing could occur between the ATM machines and the bank's ATM application server. If the bank acquires another bank, the corporate ATMs would have to be integrated into a new network. Each cycle of integration adds another layer until a comprehensive test can be performed on the entire system.

Now let's see how we can build test cases for functional integration testing. (We will not include non-functional requirements concerning performance, usability, or security in this example.) Suppose each of our ATM machines contains a verification module, a banking module and a hardware control module. For this example, we will not cover every process inside the ATM and we won't even touch the bank, just to keep it simple. Let's look at our hypothetical design.

  • The verification module authenticates the user based on card number, PIN number and bank account status. Upon successful authentication, it will pass the bank account number to the banking module.
  • The banking module receives the bank account number and prompts the user for allowable actions. The user can check account balances, request a withdrawal, or make a deposit. If a withdrawal is selected and money needs to be delivered to the user, the banking module sends the hardware control module a number, which indicates the number of $20 bills to deliver. If a deposit is selected, the banking module sends the hardware control module the command to accept the deposit.
  • For a withdrawal, the hardware control module receives the number from the banking module and attempts to deliver the required number of $20 bills. If it can deliver all the bills, it returns a success message to the banking module. If it cannot deliver all the bills, it returns an error to the banking module.
  • For a deposit, the hardware control module receives the command to accept the deposit. Funds from deposits are not immediately available for withdrawal. Deposits will be verified by a cashier at the bank for validity. Because of this, the ATM will not behave differently for failed deposits.
  • The banking module receives the return message from the hardware control module. If the message indicates a success, the banking module records the debit transaction. If the return message indicates a failure, the banking module records a failed attempted withdrawal.

Test Planning
In the verification module, we don't need to test each scenario of failure (invalid bank account, unreadable card, wrong PIN for bank account number, or invalid bank account statuses such as expired card, inactive member or deleted member.) These would each be tested during unit and system testing of the verification module. Remember, the point of integration

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