Rod Hilton's rants about software development, technology, and sometimes Star Wars

The thesis for my Master’s degree in Software Engineering is finished.

It’s the result of many months of research, I hope others may find it interesting and informative.

Abstract

Test-Driven Development is a Software Engineering practice gaining increasing popularity within the software industry. Many studies have been done to determine the effectiveness of Test-Driven Development, but most of them evaluate effectiveness according to a reduction in defects. This kind of evaluation ignores one of the primary claimed benefits of Test-Driven Development: that it improves the design of code. To evaluate this claim of Test-Driven Development advocates, it is important to evaluate the effect of Test-Driven Development upon object-oriented metrics that measure the quality of the code itself. Some studies have measured code in this manner, but they generally have not worked with real-world code written in a natural, industrial setting. Thus, this work utilizes Open Source Software as a sample for evaluation, separating Open Source projects that were written using Test-Driven Development from those that were not. These projects are then evaluated according to various object-oriented metrics to determine the overall effectiveness of Test-Driven Development as a practice for improving the quality of code. This study finds that Test-Driven Development provides a substantial improvement in code quality in the categories of cohesion, coupling, and code complexity.

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If you’d like to read it, you can download it here:

Quantitatively Evaluating Test-Driven Development by Applying Object-Oriented Quality Metrics to Open Source Projects

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