A survey of unit testing practices

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Abstract

o m p u t e r S o c i e t y 0 7 4 0 -7 4 5 9 / 0 6 / $ 2 0 . 0 0 © 2 0 0 6 I E E E investigate what practitioners refer to when they talk about unit testing. Based on this com-mon understanding, I also investigated unit testing practices' strengths and weaknesses. The survey revealed a consistent view of unit testing's scope, but participants didn't agree on whether the test environment is an isolated harness or a partial software system. Furthermore, unit testing is clearly a developer issue, both practically and strategically. Nei-ther test management nor quality management seem to impact unit testing strategies or prac-tices. Unit tests are structural, or white-box based, but developers rarely measure their completeness in terms of structural coverage. Most of the companies I surveyed desired unit test automation but had trouble spreading good practices across companies. This survey is an indication of unit testing in several companies. You can use the ques-tionnaire at your own company to clarify what you mean by unit testing, to identify the strengths and weaknesses of your unit testing practices, and to compare with other organi-zations to improve those practices.

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