However, in thedisplay of coverage at the source code level, you can display how subexpressions in a branching statement evaluated during a code coverage measurement. In other words, each new basis path “flips” exactly one previously executed decision, leaving all other executed branches unchanged. This is the crucial factor that makes basis path coverage more robust than branch coverage, and allows you to see how changing that one decision affects the method’s behavior. Most developers understand this process and agree on its value proposition, and often target 100% coverage.

definition of branch coverage

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 coverage and branch 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.

Code coverage is a measure which describes the degree of which the source code of the program has been tested. It is one form of white box testing which finds the areas of the program not exercised by a set of test cases. It also creates some test cases to increase coverage and determining a quantitative measure of code coverage.

That’s why there are many different methods of reporting this metric. All these methods focus on covering the most important combinations. It is very much similar to decision coverage, but it offers better sensitivity to control flow. For instance, in the example above we reached 100% coverage by testing if 100 and 34 were multiples of 10. But what if we called our function with a letter instead of a number? It is important that you give time to your team to think about testing from a user perspective and not just by looking at lines of code.

Example of decision coverage

With a combination of C1 and C2, it is possible to cover most statements in a code base. Statement coverage would also cover function coverage with entry and exit, loop, path, state flow, control flow and data flow coverage. With these methods, it is possible to achieve nearly 100% code coverage in most software projects.

definition of branch coverage

It is a simple metric to calculate, and a number of open source products exist that measure this level of coverage. Ultimately, the benefit of statement coverage is its ability to identify which blocks of code have not been executed. This means that you easily can get 100% coverage and still have glaring, uncaught bugs. 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 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.

Based on the input to the program, some of the code statements may not be executed. The goal of Statement coverage is to cover all the possible path’s, line, and statement in the code. Statement Coverage is a white box testing technique in which all the executable statements in the source code are executed at least once. It is used for calculation of the number of statements in source code which have been executed. The main purpose of Statement Coverage is to cover all the possible paths, lines and statements in source code. 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.

Branch Coverage and Cyclomatic Complexity

For instance, the conditional statements and the loop statements in the program, which gives more than one possible result when executed. Hence the identification of branches is the first step in the implementation of Branch Coverage Testing. Both tests verify the requirement and they generate 100% branch coverage. But, even with 100% branch coverage, the tests missed finding the bug.

  • Also, Goodhart’s Law—or, more specifically, the generalization of it made by Marilyn Strathern—warns you that any metric that becomes a target loses its value as a metric.
  • Many paths may also be infeasible, in that there is no input to the program under test that can cause that particular path to be executed.
  • The way that this information is reported, however, can affect the numbers you see in significant ways, especially when measuring complicated code.
  • Software authors can look at test coverage results to devise additional tests and input or configuration sets to increase the coverage over vital functions.
  • Branch coverage is like doing TRUE and FALSE, but in decision coverage, you need to go through each condition …

You’ll know what breaks when you get a red build, but it’ll be hard for you to understand what components have passed the tests. These metrics are usually represented as the number of items actually tested, the items found in your code, and a coverage percentage (items tested / items found). Else FunctionB();
This is obviously a very simple example and the number of branches, and the overall complexity of the code, can quickly grow as additional conditions are introduced. This testing method is applicable only to operations other than the Boolean operations, for which the outcome will either be true or false. Next, you can create one JUnit test case that satisfies the requirement and gets 100% statement coverage.

In the trivial script below, we have a Javascript function checking whether or not an argument is a multiple of 10. We’ll use that function later to check whether or not 100 is a multiple of 10. It’ll help understand the difference between the function coverage and branch coverage. From a complexity, or branch coverage perspective, both Example 1 and Example 2 have a total of 4 branch points with 3 of those points being covered. Before you learn about path coverage, look at some of the problems with statement and branch coverage.

Definition of Branch Coverage

You can use it to determine which portions of the code are more complex and thus more prone to defects. Cyclomatic complexity might also correlate with the difficulty of reading and maintaining a certain piece of code. Scenario to calculate Statement Coverage for given source code. Here we are taking two different scenarios to check the percentage of statement coverage for each scenario. In White Box Testing, the tester is concentrating on how the software works. In other words, the tester will be concentrating on the internal working of source code concerning control flow graphs or flow charts.

definition of branch coverage

And again, the manager may believe that testing is complete and that this method is ready for production. One thing to keep in mind is that branch coverage is probably more effective when evaluated together with other valuable metrics. There are other indicators that can help predict the quality of codebases in general—such as rework or code churn, for instance. The difference between line coverage and statement coverage is that the correspondence between statements and lines isn’t always one to one. Depending on the programming language, a statement can span multiple lines and a single line could contain multiple statements.

Parameter value coverage

Let’s understand this with an example, how to calculate statement coverage. Function coverage will be satisfied if, during this execution, the function foo was called at least once. Unconditional branching statements define only one branch each.

In this example, the login page validation has three possible outcomes. When the login credentials are validated for the correctness, there rise three possible functional flows. The next step is to make a list of the results or outcomes of each branch in the code. A branch can possibly have two or three outcomes when the branch is found to be an ‘if’ conditional, and more than that if the branch if found to be a ‘switch case’ conditional statement. And so, it is essential to not miss any potential branch or the branch’s result in this process.

definition of branch coverage

Test coverage is one consideration in the safety certification of avionics equipment. The guidelines by which avionics gear is certified by the Federal Aviation Administration is documented in DO-178B and DO-178C. Bookmark these resources to learn about types of DevOps teams, or for ongoing updates about DevOps at Atlassian. I’ve been in the software business for 10 years now in various roles from development to product management.

Stack Exchange network consists of 181 Q&A communities including Stack Overflow, the largest, most trusted online community for developers to learn, share their knowledge, and build their careers. Once again, be careful to avoid sending the wrong message as pressuring your team to reach good coverage might lead to bad testing practices. Function isMultipleOf10    console.log(isMultipleOf10); console.log(isMultipleOf10); // This will make our code execute the „return false;“ statement.

In addition, each processing block is considered to contain a default branch defined by the processing block itself. This default branch has a coverage of 100% if the processing block is executed, 0% if the processing block does not run. NCover uses sequence-point coverage as its base coverage number. Sequence-point goes a step further and differentiates between each point where the debugger is able to stop when single-stepping through a code file.

We can use the coverage toolistanbulto see how much of our code is executed when we run this script. After running the coverage tool we get a coverage report showing our coverage metrics. We can see that while our Function Coverage is 100%, our Branch Coverage is only 50%. We can also see that the isntanbul code coverage tool isn’t calculating a Condition Coverage metric. As a type of tactical testing, branch coverage testing is more of a metric used to gauge testing outcomes than a testing philosophy or broader-based testing strategy idea. Branch coverage testing is a methodical type of testing which requires that all program branches or conditional states be tested at least once during a testing process.

By nature, branch coverage testing is different than other broader forms of testing. It represents a rigid conditional requirement that may not be entirely feasible in all cases. Branch coverage measures the fraction of independent code segments that were executed. Independent code segments are sections of code that have no branches into or out of them. These independent code segments are sections of code that you would expect to execute in its entirety every time it’s run.

Let’s look at two simple examples of code as we seek to demonstrate the importance of branch coverage. Both of these examples, and their resulting code coverage metrics, were generated in NCover Bolt. It can otherwise be explained as a necessity for validating the program’s ability to reach every nook and corner, in order to make certain that the functionality provided by the client is fulfilled. Boolean decisions obviously have two outcomes, true and false, whereas switches have one outcome for each case—and don’t forget the default case! The total number of decision outcomes in a method is therefore equal to the number of branches that need to be covered plus the entry branch in the method .

The Coverage API ignores switchable branch statements for purposes of measuring branch code coverage. Statements have been executed with both true and false results. Put another way, an independent code segment is a section of code that you would expect to execute in its entirety every time it’s run. A second run of our coverage tool will now show that 100% of the source is covered thanks to our two console.log() statements at the bottom.

What is Code coverage?

We’ll define line coverage and then it’ll hopefully be clear how they differ. In order to select a coverage method, the tester needs to check the cost of the potential penalty, lost reputation, lost sale, etc. There is still a boolean decision and the assembly would not have branches.

So, achieving 100% statement and 100% branch coverage may not be adequate, and testing every possible path exhaustively is probably not feasible for a complex method either. Hopefully, this article gives you a good understanding of how branch coverage is calculated and why it’s a better overall metric than the line/statement/sequence-point coverage metrics. The branch segmentation approach has a strong theoretical basis, and there are quite a few ways in which it can show you uncovered code that wouldn’t be discovered otherwise. Branch segmentation can be quite intricate, and I will be writing another post to describe how the segmentation works and what you can learn from it.