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Code coverage at Google

René Just
Gordon Fraser
Proceedings of the 2019 27th ACM Joint Meeting on European Software Engineering Conference and Symposium on the Foundations of Software Engineering, ACM, pp. 955-963


Code coverage is a measure of the degree to which a test suite exercises a software system. Although coverage is well established in software engineering research, deployment in industry is often inhibited by the perceived usefulness and the computational costs of analyzing coverage at scale. At Google, coverage information is computed for one billion lines of code daily, for seven programming languages. A key aspect of making coverage information actionable is to apply it at the level of changesets and code review. This paper describes Google’s code coverage infrastructure and how the computed code coverage information is visualized and used. It also describes the challenges and solutions for adopting code coverage at scale. To study how code coverage is adopted and perceived by developers, this paper analyzes adoption rates, error rates, and average code coverage ratios over a five-year period, and it reports on 512 responses, received from surveying 3000 developers. Finally, this paper provides concrete suggestions for how to implement and use code coverage in an industrial setting.

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