What is Test Driven Development (TDD)

Many enterprises nowadays adopt agile development to accelerate custom software delivery through iterative planning and feedback loop. As an agile methodology test driven development (TDD) helps businesses to build high quality software applications in less time. TDD requires developers to write automated test cases before writing functional code. The developer can write test cases based on individual features or improvements. Hence, they can create a suite of unit tests, and run the tests to check if the software is working in the expected way.

Unlike conventional software development approaches, TDD requires practitioners to follow and repeat a specific sequence of steps – steps – add a test, run the tests, write the code required to pass the test, repeat the tests, and refactor the code to pass the test. Hence, the developers are not required to start writing functional code till the initial test fails. At the same time, they have to write test cases for each function or improvement. These sequences further help programmers to keep the code base clean, modular and maintainable. However, each developer needs to understand important aspects of TDD to work in a new development environment.

Understanding Important Aspects of Test Driven Development

Two Levels

The developers can implement TDD at two distinct levels – Acceptance TDD and Developer TDD. Acceptance TDD (ATDD) or Behavior Driven Development (BDD) requires developers to write a single acceptance test, and then write the minimal function code required to fulfill the particular acceptance test. On the other hand, Developer TDD (DTDD) enables developers to write a single developer test, and then develop the production code required to fulfill the particular developer test. However, the developers must combine ATDD and DTDD to deliver a high quality software application.

Test Automation

As mentioned earlier, TDD requires developers to write and execute automates test cases before writing business code. The developers need robust test automation tools to write, execute, and maintain test cases rapidly. In addition to facilitating unit testing and removing test constraints, the test automation tools further help developers to enhance test coverage, detect runtime errors during test execution, and generate elaborate test reports. Hence, it becomes essential for enterprises to invest in the right test automation tools and frameworks.

Clean, Modular, and Extensible Code

Test driven development allows developers to divide large and complex software applications into small and manageable units. The small units make it easier for programmers to write and execute test cases, and write functional code. The developers even have option to test the modules or units independently and as a single unit. The developers can further become more productive by focusing a specific function or requirement at a time. At the same time, the clean and modular codebase will help developers to maintain and update the software without putting extra time and effort.

Early and Quick Detection of Bugs

Often programmers find it easier to fix bugs which are detected during early phases of development. TDD enables developers to run test cases before writing business code. Hence, it becomes easier for them to detect the bugs in a new or existing feature of the software quickly. Also, the initial testing helps the programmer to reduce the debugging time significantly. The programmers can even focus extensively on the business code when they are not required to fix more bugs or defects in future.

Shorten Feedback Loop

In an agile development environment, developers have to communicate with software QA testers, project managers, business analysts and clients consistently. They also need to provide constant feedback on various requirements or functions consistently to different stakeholders in the project. TDD makes it easier for developers to check if a specific feature or functionality of the software meets customer requirements precisely. The smooth communication and short feedback loop will help programmers to deliver software according to precise business needs.

Focus on User Experience

TDD makes it essential for developers to understand both business requirements and expected test results before writing production code. Hence, each developer has to analyze the software’s design and functionality critically. Also, he needs to make changes to the production code each time a new bug or defect is detected. Hence, TDD enables developers to create high quality software according to precise business needs. It even makes it easier for programmers to focus on the software’s user experience by thinking from the perspective of end users.

On the whole,Test driven development helps enterprises to deliver high quality software without increasing development time and cost. But the agile method has its own shortcomings. For instance, the developers may find it difficult to write tests when the requirements keep changing frequently. Likewise, they have to put extra time and effort to write test cases and maintain test suites. Hence, the enterprises have to keep in mind the precise needs of each project while adoptingTest driven development. But an enterprise can always adopt TDD to deliver high quality and maintainable software applications.

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