Testing at Programming / Coding phase

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Note: This is applicable for both Black box as well as White box testers.

Check the code for consistency with design - The areas to check include modular structure, module interfaces, data structures, functions, algorithms and I/O handling.


Start testing with organized and systematic manner - Perform the Testing process in an organized and systematic manner with test runs dated, annotated and saved. A plan or schedule can be used as a checklist to help the programmer organize testing efforts. If errors are found and changes made to the program, all tests involving the erroneous segment (including those which resulted in success previously) must be rerun and recorded.

Asks some colleague for assistance - Some independent party, other than the programmer of the specific part of the code, should analyze the development product at each phase. The programmer should explain the product to the party who will then question the logic and search for errors with a checklist to guide the search. This is needed to locate errors the programmer has overlooked.

Use available tools - The programmer should be familiar with various compilers and interpreters available on the system for the implementation language being used because they differ in their error analysis and code generation capabilities.

Apply Stress to the Program - Testing should exercise and stress the program structure, the data structures, the internal functions and the externally visible functions or functionality. Both valid and invalid data should be included in the test set.

Test one at a time - Pieces of code, individual modules and small collections of modules should be exercised separately before they are integrated into the total program, one by one. Errors are easier to isolate when the no. of potential interactions should be kept small. Instrumentation-insertion of some code into the program solely to measure various program characteristics – can be useful here. A tester should perform array bound checks, check loop control variables, determine whether key data values are within permissible ranges, trace program execution, and count the no. of times a group of statements is executed.

Measure testing coverage/When should testing stop? - If errors are still found every time the program is executed, testing should continue. Because errors tend to cluster, modules appearing particularly error-prone require special scrutiny.

Use Metrics - The metrics used to measure testing thoroughness include statement testing (whether each statement in the program has been executed at least once), branch testing (whether each exit from each branch has been executed at least once) and path testing (whether all logical paths, which may involve repeated execution of various segments, have been executed at least once). Statement testing is the coverage metric most frequently used as it is relatively simple to implement.

The amount of testing depends on the cost of an error. Critical programs or functions require more thorough testing than the less significant functions.

Also See:

- What is White Box Testing
- Unit Test Case
- Top Down vs Bottom up Testing
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