Code coverage

Assume this function is a part of some bigger program and this program was run with some test suite.

Condition coverage does not necessarily imply branch coverage. For example, consider the following code fragment:

However, this set of tests does not satisfy branch coverage since neither case will meet the if condition.

The condition/decision criteria will be satisfied by the following set of tests:

However, the above tests set will not satisfy modified condition/decision coverage, since in the first test, the value of 'b' and in the second test the value of 'c' would not influence the output. So, the following test set is needed to satisfy MC/DC:

This criterion requires that all combinations of conditions inside each decision are tested. For example, the code fragment from the previous section will require eight tests:

Some of the coverage criteria above are connected. For instance, path coverage implies decision, statement and entry/exit coverage. Decision coverage implies statement coverage, because every statement is part of a branch.

The target software is built with special options or libraries and run under a controlled environment, to map every executed function to the function points in the source code. This allows testing parts of the target software that are rarely or never accessed under normal conditions, and helps reassure that the most important conditions (function points) have been tested. The resulting output is then analyzed to see what areas of code have not been exercised and the tests are updated to include these areas as necessary. Combined with other test coverage methods, the aim is to develop a rigorous, yet manageable, set of regression tests.

In implementing test coverage policies within a software development environment, one must consider the following:

Software authors can look at test coverage results to devise additional tests and input or configuration sets to increase the coverage over vital functions. Two common forms of test coverage are statement (or line) coverage and branch (or edge) coverage. Line coverage reports on the execution footprint of testing in terms of which lines of code were executed to complete the test. Edge coverage reports which branches or code decision points were executed to complete the test. They both report a coverage metric, measured as a percentage. The meaning of this depends on what form(s) of coverage have been used, as 67% branch coverage is more comprehensive than 67% statement coverage.

Generally, test coverage tools incur computation and logging in addition to the actual program thereby slowing down the application, so typically this analysis is not done in production. As one might expect, there are classes of software that cannot be feasibly subjected to these coverage tests, though a degree of coverage mapping can be approximated through analysis rather than direct testing.