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10 Best Unit Testing Tools In 2022

Unit Testing Tools Shortlist

Here’s the list of the best tools that I’ll cover in this article.

  1. NUnit

    NET unit testing platform for organizing test scripts

  2. Microsoft Visual Studio

    Comprehensive IDE for development, debugging, and test management in .net

  3. JUnit

    Simple testing framework for java and jvm to repeatable tests

  4. TestNG

    Java-based testing framework simplifies a broad range of advanced testing needs

  5. Parasoft JTest

    Streamlines compliance by facilitating defect-free code with java

  6. Mockito

    Java mocking framework for writing tests and maintaining test suites using the mocking approach

  7. PHPUnit

    Programmer-oriented, unit-testing php-based framework

  8. Emma

    Simple open source toolkit for measuring Java code coverage

  9. Embunit

    Unit testing framework for embedded C or C++ software development

  10. HtmlUnit

    GUI-less browser for java programs

The 10 best unit testing tools help organizations to improve the code quality of their software products by virtue of their ability to test individual units or components of software comprehensively. 

The best unit testing tools automate the unit testing process, provide support for data-driven testing, and offer the benefits of good test coverage. These frameworks help developers and QA teams ship defect-free software products that are consistent with requirements.

Comparison Criteria

Here’s a summary of the evaluation criteria I used to select the best tools:

  1. User Interface (UI): Developing software requires writing lots of code. So, the UI should have a clean interface that is minimalist and uncluttered because the unit testing process invariably involves developers juxtaposing substantial source code in an IDE.
  2. Usability: Since developers often need to run tests while simultaneously writing code, convenience and unobtrusiveness is important. Therefore, I looked for tools that are easy to use, especially those tools that can operate seamlessly and be installed as plug-ins.
  3. Integrations: By necessity unit testing tools have to play nice and interact with integrated development environments (IDE) and other software platforms. So, I looked for tools equipped with APIs to support integration with a wide variety of platforms and compatible DevOps tools.
  4. Value for $: I always look out for the bang for the buck in terms of the value for money exceeding the price paid for a tool. However, most unit testing tools tend to be open source and free, so I predominantly made my evaluation based on the richness of features provided.

Unit Testing Key Features

  1. Automated Testing: Unit testing tools are now incorporating automated testing to provide or establish productive testing workflows. These are usually to run test cases to eliminate repetition, reduce time, and remove error-prone manual processes.
  2. Multiple Use Case Testing: The best unit testing frameworks now feature the capability to execute multiple use cases simultaneously. This provides a well-needed productivity boost, especially with huge codebases with several functionalities to unit test, while allowing developers to code and test more effectively.
  3. Validation Testing: These features ensure code is sufficiently tested to meet users' needs and requirements. They encompass mechanisms to effectively test for failures as well as success conditions in code so testers can easily isolate the cause of bugs. 
  4. Mocking Capabilities: Providing developers the ability to create mock objects to replace or control external dependencies in code with an object of predefined behavior. This enables developers to test their own code and override objects and dependencies that don’t need to factor into the narrow snippet of unit code.
  5. Solutions Integration: Unit testing platforms need to have native integration with CI/CD tools to assist developers and testers work effectively.
  6. Real-time Reporting: Unit testing tools provide instruments for executable documentation so that it can be easy or clear to discern the expected outcomes of a software feature's functionality.

Overview Of The 10 Best Unit Testing Tools

Here’s a brief description of each unit testing tool to showcase each tool’s best use case, some noteworthy features, and screenshots to give a snapshot of the user interface. 

1

NUnit

NET unit testing platform for organizing test scripts

NUnit is an open-source unit testing tool for the .NET platform and languages. It is also part of the .NET Foundation. NUnit is a convenient framework for writing tests, along with its accompanying documentation. 

It allows developers and QA testers to add relevant metadata attributes to improve a unit test's context. Subsequently, they can run improved tests based on the specific values provided by the metadata. 

NUnit comes with a category feature that makes it possible to mark tests related to a specific feature. In doing so, it allows QA testers to execute a set of unit tests related to that feature, instead of running a multitude of other tests. In addition, it has many built-in assertions that can be read and used fluently out of the box. 

NUnit offers API access that can be used to integrate with third-party apps like Xamarin, Visual Studio, Launchable, TestLeft, LT Browser, Opsera, and many more. 

NUnit is free to use. 

Free To Use

2

Microsoft Visual Studio

Comprehensive IDE for development, debugging, and test management in .net

Microsoft Visual Studio is a full-fledged software development platform. Visual Studio provides test coverage for developers and testers, allowing them to maintain the health of their codebase through debugging and running unit tests. It provides software professionals with an integrated environment to troubleshoot and find errors before customers do.

Visual Studio also offers an automatic testing feature called Live Unit Testing. It operates in real-time, detecting the tests impacted by the code changes and simultaneously running them in the background. This immediately gives the programmer feedback on whether a particular line of code is failing or passing its test coverage. 

While Microsoft Visual Studio provides debugging and testing capabilities, it also offers Visual Studio Test Professional as a performance testing solution. Test Professional empowers users to create and manage test scenarios throughout the SDLC process. Compared to open source test tools in the market, Test Professional scores high points for its user-friendly and intuitive interface. 

Microsoft Visual Studio and Test Professional integrate seamlessly with other apps in the ecosystem like Microsoft SQL Server and database. 

Visual Studio Test Professional Subscription download is priced at $2,169.00, with renewals costing $899.00. For its Business tier, the Professional and Enterprise subscriptions are priced at $45 per month. 

From $45 per month

3

JUnit

Simple testing framework for java and jvm to repeatable tests

JUnit is a unit testing framework that allows developers to build up-to-date foundations to test their Java and JVM applications. JUnit is open-source and makes it simple to write repeatable tests. It is currently in version 5 and has incorporated the most recent features of Java.

The framework gives testers the ability to run dynamic tests while writing less code but nevertheless producing clean tests. In addition to assertions and extensions, JUnit also incorporates fairly sophisticated testing features such as method parameters and injecting dependencies.

You can easily integrate and run JUnit from any Java-based IDE such as Eclipse and IntelliJ. JUnit can also be integrated with other software platforms and tools including Java, ScalaTest, LambdaTest, TestContainer, Karate DSL, TestLeft, and so on. 

JUnit is free.

4

TestNG

Java-based testing framework simplifies a broad range of advanced testing needs

TestNG stands for Test Next Generation, an open-source framework for Java-based testing. It lives up to its name by supporting fairly advanced features to write powerful tests like grouping test cases along with sequencing and parametrizing. In addition, it also provides automation abilities like the ability to generate customized test reports and easily-to-read code scripts

TestNG covers a range of different test categories such as unit, functional, end-to-end, and integration testing.  Because it was inspired by predecessors like JUnit and NUnit, it shares some of their features like annotations, in addition to the new functionality of its own like multithread safe execution and runtime logging. 

It supports parallel test execution based on priority and the selected test order, which makes automation easier and more reliable. It achieves this by executing test cases using file order of execution of methods and TestNG XML. 

TestNG integrates well with such as Selenium, and Gradle, in addition to supporting a variety of tools and plug-ins with Maven, Eclipse, and IDEA. 

TestNG is open source and free.

Open source and free

5

Parasoft JTest

Streamlines compliance by facilitating defect-free code with java

Parasoft JTest provides a comprehensive set of Java testing tools to maintain quality code and comply with industry-based standards. It allows developers, testers, and QA teams to monitor their progress toward their quality goals. JTest makes this possible, in part, by providing the means for creating a baseline for measuring and establishing coding standards.  

Jtest does this by automatically generating compliance verification documentation. It also adheres to modern DevOps practices like agile development cycles. Furthermore, Parasoft enables you to achieve higher code coverage faster by integrating seamlessly into your development ecosystem and CI/CD pipeline. 

Jtest allows you to improve team test efficiency with its runtime unit analysis and AI-infused software testing. Jtest integrates with Jira software, Jenkins, Bamboo, GitHub, and so on.

Parasoft JTest pricing is available upon request.

Pricing upon request

6

Mockito

Java mocking framework for writing tests and maintaining test suites using the mocking approach

Mockito is an open-source mocking framework with a simple and clean API that enables you to write readable, verifiable tests. It enables both testers and developers to create Mock objects to facilitate easier testing. 

Mockito suits DevOps and QA teams that place a high value on the maintainability of their test suites. It provides clean discernible verification errors, in addition to allowing you to reuse mocking classes and interfaces for better efficiency. Mockito provides sophisticated yet easy ways to track failed test verifications to the actual point of interaction in the code.  

Legacy code can be difficult to work with but Mockito provides the means for it to be refactored so it can be more testable. Mockito makes this feasible by decoupling testing logic from code implementation. 

Mockito integrates with Cucumber, Spring, and Jenkins, along with built-in support for managing a mocking life cycle with JUnit.

Mockito is a free, open-source library.

7

PHPUnit

Programmer-oriented, unit-testing php-based framework

As its name suggests, PHPUnit is a unit testing framework for PHP developers. Its blueprint and building block is derived from the xUnit design for the unit testing system. PHPUnit can be run from the command line. 

One of its main features of attraction is how it enables PHP developers to create pre-written assertion methods. PHPUnit’s assertion methods encapsulate testable logic and are used to test for the expected behavior of units, subsequently highlighting results by turning green/red.

PHPUnit is integrated with virtually all of the main PHP development such as Laravel, Symfony, Zend, Yii, CakePHP, and so on. 

PHPUnit is open source and free.

Open source and free

8

Emma

Simple open source toolkit for measuring Java code coverage

EMMA is an open-source toolkit for measuring and reporting Java code coverage. The tool can instrument classes for coverage either offline (before they are loaded) or using an instrumenting application classloader. It supports coverage types such as class, method, line, and basic block. EMMA is also easy-to-use and intuitive to set-up. EMMA does not require access to the source code in order to work; it degrades gracefully with a decreasing amount of debug information available in each input class.

EMMA is free to use.

Free To Use

9

Embunit

Unit testing framework for embedded C or C++ software development

Embunit is a unit testing tool for developers working with C or C++. While it can be used for various types of software development, it is primarily aimed at embedded applications. 

Embunit capitalizes on what is basically the worst-kept secret in software development — the fact that developers hate writing tests of any kind. Embunit reduces this mundane task by allowing developers and QA teams to specify what they want the test case to do as a sequence of operations. It then proceeds to make the work of C or C++ programmers easier by auto-generating unit source code. It even goes the extra mile by facilitating the maintenance of units.

Embunit provides you with an XML file that has the definition of test cases. Because its XML schema uses meaningful and simple words, Embunit makes it easy to understand and review changes by simply comparing XML files. 

Embunit is designed with flexibility, so it can be customized for a variety of tests for various microcontrollers and hardware platforms. However, it isn’t tied to any toolset but is primarily designed to accommodate the common shortcomings of embedded C++ compilers. 

Embunit costs from ~$109 (£95) for a single user license. You can try it for free for 30 days.

Free for 30 days

From $109 (£95) for a single user license

10

HtmlUnit

GUI-less browser for java programs

HtmlUnit is a command line, Java-based testing framework used for unit testing automation. HtmlUnit provides an implementation of a web browser without a GUI. Hence, it serves as a Java headless browser; which allows developers to perform HTTP requests on websites and parse the HTML content.

GUI-less browsers have the advantage of being used programmatically without the need to be directed by a user. It is a powerful HTML parsing platform that in addition to unit testing, it can also be utilized for web scraping and data mining purposes. 

HtmlUnit is ideal for web application automated testing, as it enables testers to simulate what users can do on a browser such as click events, and submit events. More so, it supports JavaScript and AJAX functionality.  

HtmlUnit also offers users a lightweight implementation of a WebDriver. HtmlUnit Driver is one of the fastest Headless browser drivers available. Headless browsers like HtmlUnit affords testers and QA teams the ability to perform cross-browser testing accurately without requiring the browser on which the application needs to be tested. 

HtmlUnit can be used in conjunction with other development and testing frameworks such as Spring, Maven, and Selenium. 

HtmlUnit is open source and free. 

Open source and free

The 10 Best Unit Testing Tools Summary

Tool Free Option Price
1
NUnit

NET unit testing platform for organizing test scripts

Not available

Free To Use Visit Website
2
Microsoft Visual Studio

Comprehensive IDE for development, debugging, and test management in .net

Not available

From $45 per month Visit Website
3
JUnit

Simple testing framework for java and jvm to repeatable tests

Not available

Free Visit Website
4
TestNG

Java-based testing framework simplifies a broad range of advanced testing needs

Not available

Open source and free Visit Website
5
Parasoft JTest

Streamlines compliance by facilitating defect-free code with java

Not available

Pricing upon request Visit Website
6
Mockito

Java mocking framework for writing tests and maintaining test suites using the mocking approach

Not available

Free Visit Website
7
PHPUnit

Programmer-oriented, unit-testing php-based framework

Not available

Open source and free Visit Website
8
Emma

Simple open source toolkit for measuring Java code coverage

Not available

Free To Use Visit Website
9
Embunit

Unit testing framework for embedded C or C++ software development

Free for 30 days

From $109 (£95) for a single user license Visit Website
10
HtmlUnit

GUI-less browser for java programs

Not available

Open source and free Visit Website

Other Unit Testing Options

Here are a few more that didn’t make the top list.

  1. Emma - Simple open source toolkit for measuring Java code coverage.
  2. SimpleTest - Solid unit testing framework for PHP developers.
  3. Typemock  - Intuitive unit testing solution for .NET and C++ programming languages.
  4. LDRA  - Integrated testing suite ranging from unit testing to dynamic software analysis solutions 
  5. Cantata - C and C++ language automated platform to verify business critical code in embedded toolchains.
  6. Karma - Brings productive test environments to developers with minimal or no configuration setup
  7. Jasmine - Node.js BDD testing framework with low overhead 
  8. Mocha  - makes in-browser, asynchronous testing simple and fun.

The Importance of Unit Testing Tools

Test coverage is a cardinal part of the software development lifecycle. Unit testing and test-driven development are tools that should be in every DevOps arsenal of skill sets. The best unit testing tools help to reduce and fix bugs early in the software development lifecycle..

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By Eze Onukwube

Eze has a master's degree in communications with over 10 years of experience as a software engineer. His playground is at the intersection of technology, process improvement, and simplifying IT concepts.

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