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Impact of Test Design Technique Knowledge on Test Driven Development: A Controlled Experiment
Mälardalen University, School of Innovation, Design and Engineering. (IS)ORCID iD: 0000-0001-8009-9052
Mälardalen University, School of Innovation, Design and Engineering. (IS)ORCID iD: 0000-0002-5032-2310
Mälardalen University, School of Innovation, Design and Engineering. (IS)ORCID iD: 0000-0001-5269-3900
2012 (English)In: Lecture Notes in Business Information Processing, vol. 111 LNBIP, Springer, 2012, 138-152 p.Chapter in book (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

Agile development approaches are increasingly being followed and favored by the industry. Test Driven Development (TDD) is a key agile practice and recent research results suggest that the successful adoption of TDD depends on different limiting factors, one of them being insufficient developer testing skills. The goal of this paper is to investigate if developers who are educated on general testing knowledge will be able to utilize TDD more efectively. We conducted a controlled experiment with master students during the course on Software Verification & Validation (V&V) where source code and test cases created by each participant during the labs as well as their answers on a survey questionnaire were collected and analyzed. Descriptive statistics indicate improvements in statement coverage. However, no statistically significant differences could be established between the pre- and post-course groups of students. By qualitative analysis of students’ tests, we noticed a lack of test cases for non-stated requirements ("negative" tests) resulting in a non-detection of bugs. Students did show preference towards TDD in surveys. Although further research is required to fully establish this, we believe that identifying specific testing knowledge which is complementary to the testing skills of a new TDD developer would enable developers to perform their tasks in a more eficient manner.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Springer, 2012. 138-152 p.
National Category
Engineering and Technology
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:mdh:diva-17243DOI: 10.1007/978-3-642-30350-0_10Scopus ID: 2-s2.0-84862096524ISBN: 978-364230349-4 OAI: oai:DiVA.org:mdh-17243DiVA: diva2:579574
Note

13th International Conference on Agile Software Development, XP 2012; Malmö; 21 May 2012 through 25 May 2012

Available from: 2012-12-20 Created: 2012-12-20 Last updated: 2016-05-17Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. Quality of Test Design in Test Driven Development
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Quality of Test Design in Test Driven Development
2013 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

One of the most emphasised software testing activities in an Agile environment is the usage of the Test Driven Development (TDD) approach. TDD is a development activity where test cases are created by developers before writing the code, and all for the purpose of guiding the actual development process. In other words, test cases created when following TDD could be considered as a by-product of software development. However, TDD is not fully adopted by the industry, as indicated by respondents from our industrial survey who pointed out that TDD is the most preferred but least practised activity.

Our further research identified seven potentially limiting factors for industrial adoption of TDD, out of which one of the prominent factor was lack of developers’ testing skills. We subsequently defined and categorised appropriate quality attributes which describe the quality of test case design when following TDD. Through a number of empirical studies, we have clearly established the effect of “positive test bias”, where the participants focused mainly on the functionality while generating test cases. In other words, there existed less number of “negative test cases” exercising the system beyond the specified functionality, which is an important requirement for high reliability systems. On an average, in our studies, around 70% of test cases created by the participants were positive while only 30% were negative. However, when measuring defect detecting ability of those sets of test cases, an opposite ratio was observed. Defect detecting ability of negative test cases were above 70% while positive test cases contributed only by 30%.

We propose a TDDHQ concept as an approach for achieving higher quality testing in TDD by using combinations of quality improvement aspects and test design techniques to facilitate consideration of unspecified requirements during the development to a higher extent and thus minimise the impact of potentially inherent positive test bias in TDD. This way developers do not necessarily focus only on verifying functionality, but they can as well increase security, robustness, performance and many other quality improvement aspects for the given software product. An additional empirical study, evaluating this method, showed a noticeable improvement in the quality of test cases created by developers utilising TDDHQ concept. Our research findings are expected to pave way for further enhancements to the way of performing TDD, eventually resulting in better adoption of it by the industry.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Västerås: Mälardalen University, 2013. 224 p.
Series
Mälardalen University Press Dissertations, ISSN 1651-4238 ; 140
Keyword
agile, software testing, test driven development, quality of tests, developer testing, test design quality
National Category
Computer Science
Research subject
Computer Science
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:mdh:diva-18773 (URN)978-91-7485-108-3 (ISBN)
Public defence
2013-06-11, Gamma, Högskoleplan 1, Västerås, 09:15 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Available from: 2013-04-29 Created: 2013-04-26 Last updated: 2015-11-04Bibliographically approved

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