Testing Coverage Techniques for the Testing Process

Oct 20, 2022 | Best Practices, Test Automation Insights, Uncategorized

When working with software and applications, you need to ensure your testing process is as effective as possible. One way to do this is by using intelligent test design. These techniques help identify which parts and how much of the system is being tested. Different tools enhance the efficacy of test automation coverage.

You can employ different types of testing coverage techniques. These include code, risk, and statement coverage techniques, among others. Each method has a specific purpose and can help improve the overall quality of the software under test. Tools for test coverage can also help automate processes and ensure success. This article will discuss seven of the most common testing coverage techniques and how they can be used to improve the effectiveness of your testing efforts.

What Is Test Coverage?

Test coverage measures how much testing has been done on a particular piece of software. It determines whether your test cases cover the code of operating systems and how much code is exercised when those cases are executed. It is usually expressed as a percentage or a fraction and can be used to gauge the completeness of a test suite.

Many coverage criteria can be used to assess test coverage. Some common criteria include product coverage, branch coverage, and condition coverage. Tools for test coverage — like Ranorex Studio — can be used to automate the process of measuring coverage and can help ensure complete coverage. 

7 Testing Coverage Techniques and Their Place in Testing

Various test coverage techniques can be used during the software testing process. Each method has its strengths and weaknesses, and no single technique can cover all defects completely. Below are the seven key coverage techniques and their purpose.

1. Statement Coverage

Statement coverage is a white box testing technique that can improve your software quality. It measures the execution level of all statements in the source code. Statement coverage ensures that all statements are executed at least once, and that all lines of execution paths are covered. This helps ensure that all software bugs are found and fixed.

Statement coverage is valuable at different levels, from unit testing to system testing. It is important to ensure that it is sufficient at each level to find all defects. At the unit testing level, statement coverage ensures all lines of code in a unit are executed.

2. Code Coverage

Code coverage is a testing metric used to measure the amount of code executed by tests. It determines the number of lines of code successfully validated during a test process and the extent to which a software application has been tested and verified. It can be used as a metric to identify which parts of the code are most important to test and can help prioritize  test cases. Code coverage is usually expressed as a percentage of lines of code covered. 

Code coverage can be valuable in ensuring high software code quality, but it is not a perfect measure. However, it can help find more bugs than tests with lower code coverage. It is particularly valuable when code coverage techniques for prioritizing test cases are required.

3. Compatibility Coverage

Compatibility coverage is among the key testing coverage techniques. It focuses on testing the application’s compatibility across different operating systems and browsers. This type of testing is important because it helps ensure that software works as intended on all the devices and platforms for which it is designed. 

Testers also need to be familiar with how software can break when it is not compatible with a certain operating system or browser

Compatibility testing is time-consuming and expensive, but it is valuable in ensuring that software works as intended in all platforms designed and for all users.

4. Risk Coverage

One important coverage criterion is risk coverage. This approach ensures that the tests cover all risks associated with the software under development. Identifying and prioritizing risks allows you to ensure that your tests cover the most important areas first.

There are many ways to identify risks, but some common methods include:

  • Looking at the history of similar projects
  • Examining the code for areas likely to be defective
  • Talking to stakeholders about your concerns

Risk coverage is most valuable in identifying areas of the software testing process that may be more prone to errors. After identifying them, testers can focus their efforts on these areas and ensure they are thoroughly assessed. Risk coverage can also identify areas where additional testing may be needed. For example, if a new feature is added to the software that has not been thoroughly tested, risk coverage can identify this area and ensure it is given the attention it needs.

5. Branch Coverage

Branch coverage is a test coverage technique to ensure that all branches in the code are executed at least once. This is important because it helps identify errors in the code that could cause the program to behave unexpectedly. 

To achieve branch coverage, all the following must be met: 

  • All decision points must be covered.
  • All logical operators must be covered.
  • All loops must be covered.

To ensure branch coverage is achieved during testing, testers must create cases that exercise all the different branches in the code. This can be done manually or with the help of management tools that can automatically generate test cases. Once all the branches have been covered, this metric can be calculated.

This is the number of branches covered divided by the total number of branches in the code. A branch coverage of 100% means all the branches have been executed at least once, and no errors were found.

6. Product Coverage 

Product coverage is one of the principal testing coverage techniques to evaluate the effectiveness of the testing process. It is the ratio of testable items (requirements, function, use cases, etc.) to the number of items in the software product.

To achieve effective test automation coverage, automation engineers need to analyze the product and its testability. They also need to understand the test automation tools available and how they can be used with the product. 

There are many benefits of using product coverage in testing: 

  • It helps test engineers focus on testable items and eliminates the need to test untestable items.
  • It helps automation engineers identify testable items not covered by test automation.
  • It measures the testability of the product.
  • It is most valuable in evaluating product testability.

7. Requirements Coverage

Requirements coverage helps testers identify gaps in requirements. By definition, requirements coverage is the process of identifying which software requirements have been tested and which have not. To properly assess requirements coverage, testers must first understand the requirements that need to be covered. These include functional, non-functional, interface, and performance requirements. Each requirement has its associated test coverage technique.

  • Functional requirements cover the functionality of the software. To ensure that all functional requirements are met, you can use boundary value analysis and equivalence partitioning techniques.
  • Non-functional requirements cover the non-functional aspects of the software, such as scalability and reliability. You can use techniques like load testing and stress testing to test these requirements.
  • Interface requirements cover the interface between the software and its users. Usability and user acceptance testing techniques are used.
  • Performance requirements cover the performance of the software. Load and performance testing techniques are employed.

How Can You Ensure You’ve Taken Optimal Coverage Measures?

Regardless of the kind of testing, tools like Ranorex Studio can help ensure you get the appropriate coverage to minimize risks and protect your software.

There are a few factors to consider when determining your test coverage. First, you need to understand the types of tests that make the most sense for your project. There are four main types of tests: unit, integration, functional, and non-functional. 

  • Unit tests are the most granular, testing individual pieces of code.
  • Integration tests cover how those units work together.
  • Functional tests check the functionality of the system.
  • Non-functional tests cover aspects like performance and scalability.

You also need to decide what your coverage goals are. What do you want your automated tests to cover? There are many factors to consider here, but some common goals include ensuring that all code paths are covered, all requirements are met, and all bugs are found. Knowing your goal and selecting the right coverage measures will help optimize your testing. Your provider should have positive reviews showing their success.

Optimize Your Test Coverage

To have the optimal coverage percentage and techniques, you need to understand what your risks are and how they can be mitigated.

  • What parts of the system are most likely to break?
  • What do you need to test to make sure those risks are covered?

For instance, if you’re testing a web application, you’ll need to consider user input validation, session management, and cross-site scripting attacks. For a financial application, you’ll need to factor in interest rate calculations and money laundering prevention.

Take advantage of tools like Ranorex Studio for automated testing, and Ranorex DesignWise for test authoring. You’ll ensure appropriate test coverage depending on your risks, and run powerful scenarios to help your business be its most successful.

How Automation Tools Can Help Execute Your Software Application Testing

Automation tools can help you speed up your software application testing process by automating rote tasks. This can free up your time and save you money. Automation tools can also help you improve the accuracy of your testing by providing consistent results.

Ranorex is the leading provider of software test automation. Integrations with popular development environments makes it easy for a Ranorex user to create, maintain and incorporate test automation into their existing workflow. With the addition of Ranorex DesignWise and its integration, users can be confident they are maximizing their test automation to achieve optimal test coverage.

Get in touch today to learn how we can help you optimize your testing process.

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