What Strategies Work Best For Adopting Test-Driven Software Development

Apr 07, 2022

Software testing is critical to the software life cycle and Test Driven Development. It is critical to identify faults and flaws throughout software development in order to improve product quality. As a result, one must concentrate on software testing. There are numerous techniques, one of which is the Test-Driven methodology.

Many software teams have used test-driven development in an effort to reduce rework and its associated expenses (TDD). The reasoning: The earlier in the software development lifecycle (SDLC) a problem is identified, the less expensive it is to resolve. The goal of test-driven development (TDD) is to write lean and mean code with a high level of test coverage. Developers develop tests for requirements before producing code, and the code is deemed complete after the test passes. That’s fantastic, but how can you successfully implement TDD in your organization? We’ll go through this in more detail here, and discuss some pointers on how to get the most out of TDD.

What is Test Driven Development?

Test Driven Development (TDD) is a critical practice for extreme programming; it implies that code is generated or altered solely through unit testing. TDD (Test-Driven Development) is a software-driven process that involves test-first development. It means that the developer creates a completely automated test case before writing production code to fulfill the test and refactoring. Before developing the code for a feature, it is customary to write a (failed) test. The feature code is fine-tuned till it passes the unit test. The premise of TDD: You write the test before you write the code

Testing is at the forefront of people’s minds during product architecture, design, and development while using TDD. Software engineers plan ahead of time what and how they will test. What does the feature (code) need to be able to do successfully in order to be regarded complete? What tests must be passed for the code to be considered good?

Before coding the functionality, developers write these tests one at a time, beginning with a simple instance and gradually increasing in complexity. This allows developers to ensure that every possible circumstance is addressed. Before a developer commits a feature to the code base, it must pass both the old and new tests. What are the Benefits of Test-Driven Development?

  • It allows the developer to think through his or her requirements or design before writing functional code.

  • TDD is a programming approach that allows the developer to take a tiny step while developing software.

  • It is more productive than attempting to code in large chunks.

  • As an example, suppose a developer writes some code, compiles it, and then tests it. Perhaps there is a probability of failure. In this scenario, it is easier to detect and correct flaws if a developer wrote two new lines of code rather than a thousand.

Strategies for Implementing Test Driven Development (TDD)

So, how do you successfully implement TDD? To achieve TDD success, follow the four tips listed below.

1. Applying TDD to Legacy Code

A common TDD implementation issue arises when an organization inherits untestable code and lacks the resources to pay off the technical debt. Is it necessary to refactor the code? If so, how much restructuring is required to begin practicing TDD in a meaningful, attainable manner?

If there is a mandate to start doing TDD on legacy code, then attempting to build ideal TDD will fail. The code you’re inheriting was not written to be testable, the original author may no longer be on the team or even in the organization, the dependent libraries may have changed, and so on.

As a result, if the legacy code is already in place and operating, the risk associated with technical debt is modest in comparison to the risk of new untested work. By using TDD to the new code you’re building, as opposed to updates to old code, you reduce risk while not increasing technical debt.

You can leverage Releasly’s unit testing functionality to easily develop relevant tests to overcome the obstacles of testing existing code. We’ll test analyze the historical code and its dependencies, minimizing the time needed to write JUnit test cases and implement the extensive stubbing/mocking required for the old code.

2. Applying TDD to Microservices

Microservice-based designs have substantially more dependencies and complexity than traditional application stacks, injecting a large amount of volatility into the testing environment. Because advanced mocking and stubbing are required, creating tests for applications based on microservices and other complicated architectures can be tough.

A microservice-based architecture, on the other hand, provides a very efficient approach to exploit TDD best practices. When you consider the microservice as the unit rather than the compilation unit, the TDD pragmatist approach becomes really effective. When using TDD at the API level, your API (OpenAPI/Swagger, WSDL) is described in the contract. Based on such definitions, an API testing solution can then generate tests automatically. You can now develop functionality in terms with the definitions until the SOAtest tests pass.

3. Enhancing TDD with BDD

As previously noted, there are various advantages to applying TDD; nonetheless, TDD does not always result in code that meets the requirements. It merely assures that the code is tested and that the tests pass. This is where Behavior-Driven Development (BDD) enters the picture. Developers write code until the behavior is implemented rather than until the test passes.

It’s worth noting that in the past, attempts were made to define the functional framework before creating the code. In fact, BDD is the most recent attempt to put such an approach into practice. Before writing a test or code in BDD (or DbC, for that matter), the pre- and post-conditions must be defined.

BDD represents an opportunity to push TDD to new heights. If you’re utilizing a BDD language like Gherkin, Parasoft SOAtest can help you overcome the technical challenges of adopting BDD. It generates tests automatically from the feature file and lowers the technical difficulty of building glue code, which generally necessitates developer resources.

4. Enabling the Squad

TDD is often regarded as a developer-focused activity, typically contained by the creation of tests in a unit testing framework such as JUnit or NUnit. Most businesses, on the other hand, simply do not have enough developers or time to cover all of their use-cases. This is particularly problematic for enterprise firms with a diverse set of responsibilities and expertise contributing to their projects.

Using TDD approaches at the API level, as mentioned above for microservices, allows you to address the issue of limited technical resources by leveraging tester knowledge to define tests against the contract. This method allows business analysts, testers, and other non-developer resources to contribute to TDD testing efforts.

Are there Issues with Test-Driven Development?

When it comes to assuring software accuracy, TDD is not a panacea. There are various dangers and drawbacks to be aware of while using a TDD-based approach. TDD necessitates the writing of more code up front. Before implementation, tests must be written, and the system cannot be utilized until the implementation is complete. Redundancy in testing code is likely if tests are not written effectively, resulting in needless code that the programmer must spend time writing (Olan, 2003). According to the Microsoft study, the amount of code required by TDD virtually increased in some circumstances (Bhat & Nagappan, 2003). Writing more unit tests to gain familiarity with the concept is the greatest approach to eliminate TDD code redundancy, therefore this is an issue that arises most frequently early in the transition to TDD.

Poorly constructed tests instil false confidence in the functionality of the code. Implementation that is not intended to pass a specific test risk introducing undetected problems. The simplest method to mitigate these risks is to write better tests that explain all of the aspects of a code change and to minimize additional code. A research by the Indian Institute of Technology discovered that, in an academic atmosphere, code quality could decline with TDD (Gupta & Jalote, 2007), most likely due to this issue. This problem is frequently encountered while a developer is learning how to utilize TDD properly, so expertise in developing with test-based contracts reduces the danger of code overconfidence.

Some systems are not well suited to the TDD approach. While it is possible to develop “test-first” software for application UIs, network programming, security protocols, and so on, it is difficult to cover the wide range of possible interactions with these programs sufficiently. Fuzz testing could be used in this scenario to produce a huge number of test cases. Limitations

  • TDD doesn’t work well when functional tests need to be done, like when you’re designing a GUI.

  • When unit tests are written by developers, they may have the same flaws as the code.

  • High numbers of passing tests might sometimes generate a false sense of security, resulting in less testing activities during integration testing, potentially generating difficulties.

  • Tests are added to the maintenance overhead. Inadequately constructed tests might lead to additional expenditures in maintenance and updating.

  • The level of detail attained during TDD cannot be easily replicated later.

To Sum Up

To summarize, we can safely argue that using Test Driven Development improves project outcomes significantly. Furthermore, we can state unequivocally that programmers who use the TDD approach have more structured thinking and typically produce better estimates. This, of course, adds to the benefits of using this strategy in project development.

Along with TDD, there are a number of best practices for strengthening the final code, such as CI, Code Reviews, Refactoring, and others. However, in order to find a solution that truly fits all of your objectives, you must evaluate other factors beyond than technology.

At Releasly, we have expertise in all best practices, including TDD, and use them as applicable. Our case-by-case approach and extensive knowledge enable us to select the optimal techniques for your specific project.

Is test-driven development the best option for your company? There is no one-size-fits-all strategy to developing custom software, but our product experts can advise you on if TDD is the best methodology for you.

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