[TIP] Difference between functional test and integration test

Michael Foord michael at voidspace.org.uk
Sun Feb 10 09:47:18 PST 2013

On 10 Feb 2013, at 12:53, Ned Batchelder <ned at nedbatchelder.com> wrote:

> 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.

I've "normally" seen those terms used the opposite way round. Do you have any references?


>  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.
> --Ned.
>> Thanks!
>> Yeukhon
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