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10 Best Unit Testing Tools Shortlist

Here's my pick of the 10 best software from the 15 tools reviewed.
  1. 1. TestNG — Best to simplify a broad range of advanced testing needs
  2. 2. Mockito — Best Java mocking framework for writing & maintaining tests
  3. 3. JMockit — Best automated testing toolkit for Java developers
  4. 4. HtmlUnit — Best GUI-less browser for Java programs
  5. 5. PHPUnit — Best programmer-oriented, unit-testing php-based framework
  6. 6. EMMA — Best open source toolkit for measuring Java code coverage
  7. 7. JUnit — Best simple testing framework for Java & JVM to repeatable tests
  8. 8. NUnit — Best NET unit testing platform for organizing test scripts
  9. 9. Parasoft JTest — Best to streamline compliance by facilitating defect-free code with Java
  10. 10. Embunit — Best unit testing framework for embedded C or C++ software development

The best unit testing tools help organizations 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.

What are Unit Testing Tools?

Unit testing tools are software programs that aid developers in testing individual components or units of their code, ensuring that each one functions correctly. These tools automate the process of creating and running test cases, giving developers prompt feedback on the accuracy of their code. By isolating and testing individual parts of the codebase, unit testing tools enable developers to identify and resolve bugs before they can cause more significant issues. 

Overview Of The 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

TestNG

Best to simplify a broad range of advanced testing needs

Open source and free

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.

2

Mockito

Best Java mocking framework for writing & maintaining tests

Free

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.

3

JMockit

Best automated testing toolkit for Java developers

Open source and free

JMockit offers Java developers out-of-container integration testing, especially for Java EE and Spring-based apps. It is an advanced library that provides automated processes across a range of functions such as mocking, faking, and integration testing.

Among the features it provides are code coverage tools, mocking API for armed with recording and verification syntax, and faking API for replacing implementations. 

JMockit provides more comprehensive mocking mechanisms compared to other equivalent frameworks, for instance, the ability to mock final classes, including private, and static methods. It provides other encapsulation capabilities to enable mock implementations and other instances to execute tests without any explicit knowledge of the actual implementation classes. This subsequently gives JMockit the capability to more accurately verify objects through the use of regular assertions. 

JMockit functionality makes it possible for programmers to spend less time debugging code but more time building features. It provides various APIs for mocking, known as “Expectations API” for mocking dependencies. Others exist for automatic initialization or instantiation of objects, and some for other relevant purposes. 

JMockit is open source and free.

4

HtmlUnit

Best GUI-less browser for Java programs

Open source and free

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. 

5

PHPUnit

Best programmer-oriented, unit-testing php-based framework

Open source and free

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.

6

EMMA

Best open source toolkit for measuring Java code coverage

Free To Use

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.

7

JUnit

Best simple testing framework for Java & JVM to repeatable tests

Free

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.

8

NUnit

Best NET unit testing platform for organizing test scripts

Free To Use

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. 

9

Parasoft JTest

Best to streamline compliance by facilitating defect-free code with Java

Pricing upon request

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.

10

Embunit

Best unit testing framework for embedded C or C++ software development

Free for 30 days

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

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.

The Best Unit Testing Tools Summary

Tool Trial Info Price
1
TestNG

Best to simplify a broad range of advanced testing needs

Not available

Open source and free Website
2
Mockito

Best Java mocking framework for writing & maintaining tests

Not available

Free Website
3
JMockit

Best automated testing toolkit for Java developers

Not available

Open source and free Website
4
HtmlUnit

Best GUI-less browser for Java programs

Not available

Open source and free Website
5
PHPUnit

Best programmer-oriented, unit-testing php-based framework

Not available

Open source and free Website
6
EMMA

Best open source toolkit for measuring Java code coverage

Not available

Free To Use Website
7
JUnit

Best simple testing framework for Java & JVM to repeatable tests

Not available

Free Website
8
NUnit

Best NET unit testing platform for organizing test scripts

Not available

Free To Use Website
9
Parasoft JTest

Best to streamline compliance by facilitating defect-free code with Java

Not available

Pricing upon request Website
10
Embunit

Best unit testing framework for embedded C or C++ software development

Free for 30 days

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

Other Unit Testing Options

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

  1. Microsoft Visual Studio

    Best comprehensive IDE for development, debugging, & test management in .net

  2. SimpleTest

    Best unit testing framework for PHP developers

  3. Karma

    Best for bringing productive test environments to developers with minimal or no configuration setup

  4. Mocha

    Best for making in-browser, asynchronous testing simple and fun

  5. Typemock

    Best unit testing solution for .NET and C++ programming languages

How I Selected the Best Unit Testing Tools

If you're wondering how I selected the best tools for unit testing, here's where I'll break it all down for you. First of all, I started with unit test tools that have high user review and satisfaction ratings. Then, using my experience in software testing, I discerned what key criteria were most important for unit testing software tools and compared how each of them stacked up against the rest.

I empathize with how much time it takes to source the right software for a job. I do this work so that you don't have to. I've been using and reviewing tools for unit testing for years so you can trust me to do the heavy lifting and compile all the facts you need to make your final decision.

Selection Criteria

After careful consideration, I've determined that these are the most important criteria when selecting the best unit test tools. Here's a brief list outlining the whats and whys of my selection.

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.

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.  

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.

Pricing

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.

People Also Ask

Sometimes while writing I have an “ah-ha!” moment around questions readers might have about the topic at hand. In this case, I’ve compiled some brief Q&As around unit testing tools, what they do, and how they help.

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.