Code coverage, the goal of companies try to attain in software development. To understand how much of the code is exercised and better understand how and what needs to be tested when a change occurs. This is a great thing to have in any software development that will help teams become as efficient as possible to get to a quality product for customers.

As this is something has extremely high value to an organization how could I put “Pros and Cons” in my blog title? You’re right the concept of coverage are highly valuable, when I talk about “Pros and Cons” it is more to do with what is needed to get done to get that understanding of coverage.

The reason I am bringing this up stems from a vendor cold call I got for third party testing services. In my position I get a lot of those calls, and for the most part I do not have an issue to start a conversation to see what they provide. As long as they are able to differentiate from all other third party vendors. In this one call there was one statement that came out that peaked my interests and I pushed back to get more details. That comment was “We can have 100% code coverage through automation.” Sounds too good to be true, right? Well in my experience it is. I have never seen any software shop that had 100% code coverage through automation. There are too many variables out there where to do the work for that statement to be true it would take a lot of work.

Before I continue on with the above comments lets go through what I see as the pros and cons.

Pro

  • Automation coverage can target specific components
  • No need for full regression testing with a change
  • Better estimation to changes, more accurate
  • Shortened test timeframes

There are more and there is plenty of literature out there that will go into details. Here I just wanted to list a few and foster some conversation, as always.

Cons

  • A lot of effort needed
  • Tedious
  • May not be completely accurate
  • May not have full understanding of code

Again the list of the cons can be a lot longer. The good news is the cons are issues that can be worked on and resolved within the company to get to what is needed. There is no technical reason or roadblock. It is about getting the work culture changed to tackle these cons.

There are software packages out there that will give you the code coverage an organization desires, Like all tools it is all about how the tool is used to get the most out of it.

Do I think an organization can have 100% coverage? Yes. In automation? Maybe. Technology is getting better and better over time that it is something that could be achieved. There are a lot of other variables that need to fall into place that will allow it to happen. Consistent coding practices, full knowledge sharing within the teams, and full cooperation between everyone within the organization to name a few.

 

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