Test-driven development (TDD): The effective approach for software development projects

Starting a software development project is of no easy task. When developing this project, it’s essential to choose the most effective approach to save time, meet the budget, and get a product that works perfectly. And using test-driven development (TDD approach) is one of the most effective approaches for any software development project ever. This is thanks to its functions, as well as its approaching method.

There’s plenty of articles written on TDD software on the internet, yet they’re so different from each other. This is due to the writer’s distinct approach in terms of TDD web development. So now, we – ArrowHiTech would like to introduce to you guys everything you need to know about TDD software in the simplest approach. By the end of this article, you will be equipped with the best and most easy-to-understand knowledge about this perspective.

But first, we need to go through some definitions.

What is TDD approach?

Test-driven development (TDD) is an approach when developers create a product backward. With a traditional development approach, developers write code first and then test it. TDD web development requires developers to write tests first and only then start to write the code. The purpose of this procedure is to better the code. This approach instructs developers to write new code only if an automated test has failed. This avoids code repetition.

The simple concept of TDD approach is to write and correct the failed tests before writing new code. This helps to avoid duplication of code as we write a small amount of code at a time in order to pass tests. Test-driven development is a process of developing and running automated tests before the actual development of the application

The procedure of TDD approach

Instead of writing functional code first and then your testing code as an afterthought, if you write it at all, you instead write your test code before your functional code. Furthermore, you do so in very small steps – one test and a small bit of corresponding functional code at a time. A programmer taking this approach refuses to write a new function until there is first a test that fails because that function isn’t present. There are two levels of TDD approach:

  • Acceptance test-driven development: With this, you write a single acceptance test, or behavioral specification depending on your preferred terminology, and then just enough production functionality/code to fulfill that test. The goal of this approach is to specify detailed, executable requirements for your solution on a just in time (JIT) basis. This is also called Behavior Driven Development (BDD).
  • Developer test-driven development: First, you write a single developer test, sometimes inaccurately referred to as a unit test, and then just enough production code to fulfill that test. The goal of this approach is to specify a detailed, executable design for your solution on a JIT basis. This is often simply called TDD approach

Some benefits of TDD approach for software development projects

Test-driven development may be a new approach for some teams, and it may become an obstacle for them. Nevertheless, TDD approach has a long list of benefits. Let’s take a look and see the best advantage of test-driven development.

#1. High code quality

When following a test-driven development approach, developers have to write tests before the code itself. As a result, the code that developers create has very high test coverage, meaning all bugs, imperfections, and flaws are easy to detect and fix. Another aspect of TDD approach that influences code quality is the essential step of refactoring. This is the process of improving existing code to make it more structured, organized, and easy to understand.

#2. Cost-efficient

High-quality code not only works seamlessly and leads to a bug-free product. It also saves money on code support and maintenance. If your code has 100% coverage, you can easily add new functionality without breaking things. The development process starts with creating unit tests and documentation. These tests describe what the code has to do, so developers know what they need to implement and how much time they need to do so. 

When following TDD approach, developers have to clarify all technical and business requirements in order to create tests. These tests allow team members to get a uniform vision of the project and deliver on it, avoiding misunderstandings and rework. As a result, by using a common linear workflow (code first, test second), developers can write code without having all the requirements. 

#3. Simple debugging

Test-driven development promotes good coding principles such as Don’t Repeat Yourself (DRY), You Ain’t Gonna Need It (YAGNI), and many others. These principles encourage developers to write clean, well-organized, and easy-to-read TDD code. It’s much harder to debug complicated code than code with a clear structure. Additionally, high-quality code is easy to work on even if you change your development team to join the project.

Simple debugging

We – ArrowHiTech has the best development team for you to hire. Our team facilitates you to flexibly enhance your business scale while obtaining stability. Whether you are looking for short-term or long-term support for your specific projects, you can find everything possible at AHT since we are providing dedicated senior developers in a wide range of expertise. Check us out now: ArrowHiTech developers for hire.

#4. Detailed product documentation of TDD approach

Tests that developers write before coding can be used as detailed documentation that explains how the code works and what it does. Documentation is particularly important for the success of your project. You might want to migrate your product to another technology stack when you need newer, more powerful features. When migrating to new technologies, developers use documentation to make sure they clearly understand how the code works.

If you decide to change your software development company, your new contractor is likely to start with a code review to get familiar with your product’s codebase. TDD software documentation is vital to helping your new team understand all parts of your product, maintain it, and modify it when necessary. Also, this allows developers to add functionality and modify the system without spending too much time getting familiar with it.

#5. TDD approach ensures better code structure

Unit tests can only work with code that has a modular structure. A modular code structure helps to avoid unnecessary dependencies, as each part of the code can be modified with little or no influence on other parts. Besides, when writing tests first, developers have to think in advance how the code will function and can detect potential bottlenecks at this stage. Test-driven development can help you with that.

Some drawbacks of TDD approach for software development projects

Everything has some flaws that we should discuss. Test-driven development is of no exception. As regards to the non-negative imperfections, we surely want to discuss a little bit about it, just for you and your business’s future

#1. TDD approach takes longer

Instead of writing code straightaway, developers following this approach need to think through the code architecture first, then create tests, and only after that start to code. As a result, you get code later than when you follow a traditional development approach. However, you need to take into account that the code you get when following TDD approach is cleaner, does exactly what it’s supposed to, and has significantly fewer bugs. 

#2. The procedure won’t help with projects that lack sufficient preparation

Without careful preparation, TDD won't work
Without careful preparation, test-driven development won’t work

TDD approach is only useful if developers know the purpose of code. To create a unit test, developers need to understand how code will function and what it will do. And because of that, developers need to know all business and technical requirements. This means that before test-driven development starts, you (or your contractors) need to collect the requirements for your project, prepare specifications, create a feature breakdown list, etc.

#3. Tests must be of the same importance as code

Tests are a huge part of your product. When you make changes to the codebase, you have to change tests as well. When applying TDD approach, if you need to make a change, developers first need to modify tests and only then can modify the code. This can affect a lot in your overall software development project, which may lead to malfunctions.

#4. Beginners won’t be a fan of TDD approach

Young development teams may face challenges with test-driven development. It takes time and effort to learn to write laconic unit tests for code that doesn’t even exist yet. Besides, some inexperienced developers may believe tests aren’t that necessary and refuse to spend time on them. However, more experienced companies are already aware of the benefits of unit tests and more specifically, this approach and practice it daily.

These disadvantages can be avoided

All the drawbacks we’ve described above aren’t so difficult to overcome. Besides, the result is worth the effort. That is to say, these consequences are important, yet not so significant for you in your software development projects. As a result, the pros of this approach heavily outweigh the foes, as for the massive functions and features that TDD approach can possibly bring for your business.

Final words

That should be it! Here is the basic knowledge you need to know about test-driven development for your project. Throughout this article, the TDD approach has already shown an undeniable positive effect on software development projects. All in all, this makes you focus on your task, code exactly what you need, think from outside the box, and ultimately, a better programmer.

We – ArrowHiTech is proud to be one of the most well-established IT companies all around the world. With over 12 years of experience, we can deliver the best software development services for your business.