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Code Versus Functional coverage

  • 07/11/2011
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  • Posted by EuroSTAR
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Most testers have experience of test automation tools; some testers have exposure to code coverage toolsets while all are familiar with the concepts. However, there are few companies that have an end-to-end integrated approach to maximizing their code coverage during testing.

There is a lively debate as to whether 100% code coverage is a) attainable and b) necessary. As an ex programmer, I would suggest that 100% code coverage is not really attainable and, in fact, the better the programmer the LESS likely is this to be attained.

So should 100% code coverage be the goal? In my opinion, no, and research by Richard Bender, of Bender RBT Inc, suggests that 90% code coverage would be the maximum that can be expected. A more effective and realistic goal is a 100% functional coverage, in other words, ensuring that all of the specified requirements are satisfied by the tests.

Yet once you have decided on your test cases, you still need to prepare the physical data to test your application and all too often, the creation of data to satisfy the test usually takes 3 to 5 times more effort than it takes to design the test cases themselves.

Populating data directly into databases via APIs or directly into disparate applications is hard work and must be factored in. In our case, we use Datamaker to populate the data directly into the database.

Generating data is by far the most effective method of creating perfect test data. The advantage is that you produce the right kind of data you need; ensuring accuracy and the right spread of data guaranteeing the data is as you need it.

In addition to this, the next time you need to test you will already have test data that can be modified slightly and used with slightly different combinations of data criteria.

As testing now accounts for up to 60 per cent of the development lifecycle of an application, there is a strong business case for ensuring that test data is fit for purpose. Datamaker test data management solutions now work with HP testing technology and can be embedded in HP driven enterprise management.
It is another step forward towards ensuring that whatever the system and whatever the challenge, creating the specific data needed to comprehensively test new functionality will no longer be a stumbling block.

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