[TIP] Difference between functional test and integration test

Ned Batchelder ned at nedbatchelder.com
Sun Feb 10 04:53:57 PST 2013

On 2/9/2013 10:43 PM, John Wong wrote:
> I am posting the same exact question on Stackexchange: 
> http://programmers.stackexchange.com/questions/186523/difference-between-functional-test-and-integration-test 
> It's more nicely formatted. I have posted on here before on using mock 
> so I figure I can try here as well (and people on this mailinglist are 
> usually really really experienced programmers!)
> That being said, I really have a hard time differentiating functional 
> test from integration test.

Why do you need to differentiate between them?  This isn't a rhetorical 
question: if you knew better why the distinction matters, it might help 
narrow down the criteria.

> Sidenote: I understand people use different terms in different 
> organization (ex. at Google they use small, medium and large instead 
> of unittest, and integration test), but for most organizations, they 
> enjoy using "standard terms".

This is a great example: "functional" usually means smaller than 
"integration", and therefore, more tightly focused and runs quicker.  
When you use the terms small, medium, large, everyone understands that 
it's a continuum, and there's no point debating whether any given test 
is small or medium.  By giving them terms that seems qualitative like 
"functional" and "integration", you set up a false expectation that 
there's a qualitative difference between them.  I've never found the 
distinction to be that useful.


> Thanks!
> Yeukhon
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> testing-in-python at lists.idyll.org
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