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Support for test-driven development [TDD] is growing in many development contexts beyond its common association with extreme programming. By focusing on how TDD influences design characteristics, we hope to raise awareness of TDD as a design approach and assist others in decisions on whether and how to adopt TDD. Our results indicate that test-first programmers are more likely to write software in more and smaller units that are less complex and more highly tested. We weren't able to confirm claims that TDD improves cohesion while lowering coupling, but we anticipate ways to clarify the questions these design characteristics raised. In particular, we're working to eliminate the confounding factor of accessor usage in the cohesion metrics.
Date of Publication: March-April 2008