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Adding Criteria-Based Tests to Test Driven Development

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4 Author(s)
William Shelton ; Software Eng., George Mason Univ., Fairfax, VA, USA ; Nan Li ; Paul Ammann ; Jeff Offutt

Test driven development (TDD) is the practice of writing unit tests before writing the source. TDD practitioners typically start with example-based unit tests to verify an understanding of the software's intended functionality and to drive software design decisions. Hence, the typical role of test cases in TDD leans more towards specifying and documenting expected behavior, and less towards detecting faults. Conversely, traditional criteria-based test coverage ignores functionality in favor of tests that thoroughly exercise the software. This paper examines whether it is possible to combine both approaches. Specifically, can additional criteria based tests improve the quality of TDD test suites without disrupting the TDD development process? This paper presents the results of an observational study that generated additional criteria-based tests as part of a TDD exercise. The criterion was mutation analysis and the additional tests were designed to kill mutants not killed by the TDD tests. The additional unit tests found several software faults and other deficiencies in the software. Subsequent interviews with the programmers indicated that they welcomed the additional tests, and that the additional tests did not inhibit their productivity.

Published in:

2012 IEEE Fifth International Conference on Software Testing, Verification and Validation

Date of Conference:

17-21 April 2012