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Software Development Testing: Why It’s Necessary and Which Practices to Use

Software is becoming more and more complex, while the clients’ demands grow and the software development market becomes more competitive. Development teams have to deliver solutions faster without sacrificing the quality of the product. Such conditions require a thoroughly thought-out approach to software engineering. How to find it? A part of the answer lies in the introduction of the development testing processes.

What is software development testing?

Development testing is an approach that involves a set of defect prevention and detection techniques during the software development process. This process, often performed by testing and software development teams, helps to detect bugs and errors at an early stage of the project development and therefore reduce the defect elimination costs in the future. Development testing also minimizes the risk of expensive software failures and security issues. It is worth mentioning that by using development testing methodology you can shorten your time to market thus get a competitive advantage and provide better customer experience.

In other words, development testing is a complex process aimed at minimizing development risks, time, and costs. Development testing complements traditional software testing and transforms testing processes from reactive to a proactive one.

What are the software testing strategies for software development?

Development testing may include different practices such as unit testing, static code analysis, metrics analysis, data flow analysis, code coverage, peer code reviews, and traceability. Let’s have a look at what each of them means:

  • Code coverage

The code coverage is a metric that indicates how many source files, functions and lines of code are covered by tests. Code coverage analysis demonstrates that the software product has been widely tested for defects and should be relatively error-free. There are different code coverage metrics for this purpose, such as function coverage, statement coverage, branch coverage, condition coverage, parameter value coverage, and сyclomatic сomplexity.

  • Unit testing

Software unit testing is a development and testing approach that allows checking if a particular block of code, called “unit”, works as intended. Unit tests are normally automated tests that run periodically and help development teams to find the defects, improve the quality of the code and simplify the debugging process. In order to create unit tests quickly and easily different unit testing frameworks are used.

  • Static code analysis

The static code analysis, unlike dynamic analysis, analyzes the source code without it being executed. Static code analyzers look for patterns that indicate software bugs, errors, or vulnerabilities. With the help of static analysis, you can also check the source code for compliance with programming guidelines or with industry standards as well as evaluate the software in terms of complexity.

  • Metrics analysis

Software metrics are used that quantify different properties of software products and software processes. Metrics analysis allows making conclusions regarding the quality of the software and taking measures if necessary. This helps to define the deviations at an early stage and make the development process more predictable.

  • Data flow analysis

Data-flow analysis is a method used by software developers that helps them understand what values variables hold over time as the software is executed. The collected information allows optimizing the code with regard to the execution time and memory usage.

  • Peer code reviews

Code review is a widely adopted technique of checking someone’s code before it becomes part of the existing codebase. It represents the process of systematic examination of source code in order to find errors and deficiencies in the code, improve the code and thus improve the quality of the software.

  • Traceability

Traceability means the capacity to trace work items while working on a software development project. There are different aspects of traceability. We can think of it as of a distinguishable link between two or more logical entities such as requirements, system elements, checks, and tasks or as of the capacity to understand relationships between artifacts of the development process.

Why is developer testing important?

Development testing techniques have proven themselves to be an effective tool for Quality assurance and and Industry or regulatory compliance purposes. Traditional approaches to testing software projects are definitely an effective way to ensure the functionality and performance of the software. But if testing begins only after the product is completed, the risks rise. Not detected and not eliminated bugs lead to failed builds and to the higher cost of fixing errors in the future. By combining development and testing it is possible to detect hard-to-find critical issues quickly and fix them during the development stage. Developing testing approach not only improves the quality of the software but helps to increase project predictability as well as harmonize the development process.

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