Introduction

Code coverage analysis is the process of:

Finding areas of a program not exercised by a set of test cases,
Creating additional test cases to increase coverage, and
Determining a quantitative measure of code coverage, which is an indirect measure of quality.
An optional aspect of code coverage analysis is:

Identifying redundant test cases that do not increase coverage.
A code coverage analyzer automates this process.

You use coverage analysis to assure quality of your set of tests, not the quality of the actual product. You do not generally use a coverage analyzer when running your set of tests through your release candidate. Coverage analysis requires access to test program source code and often requires recompiling it with a special command.

This paper discusses the details you should consider when planning to add coverage analysis to your test plan. Coverage analysis has certain strengths and weaknesses. You must choose from a range of measurement methods. You should establish a minimum percentage of coverage, to determine when to stop analyzing coverage. Coverage analysis is one of many testing techniques; you should not rely on it alone.

Code coverage analysis is sometimes called test coverage analysis. The two terms are synonymous. The academic world more often uses the term "test coverage" while practitioners more often use "code coverage". Likewise, a coverage analyzer is sometimes called a coverage monitor. I prefer the practitioner terms.

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