Software developers say they feel pressured to sacrifice code quality to meet deadlines

Unrealistic deadlines and manual testing processes cited as factors leading to poor software quality, says a new report from software supplier Diffblue.

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Application developers face countless challenges in creating software. Their programs are expected to be clean and sleek, relatively bug-free and out of time to meet demanding deadlines.

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But these different expectations often clash with each other, resulting in software that has been removed before it is finished, making users beta testers for buggy programs. Released on Wednesday, a Diffblue report shines a light on some of the obstacles that application developers encounter.

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When asked which factors contributed to poor software quality, 40% of the 300 developers investigated in the US and the UK mentioned unrealistic schemes and 40% blamed manual testing processes.

Organizations often set targets for test code coverage for developers, requiring them to do unit tests to ensure the quality of their software. The average goal of code coverage is 63%, according to the survey. But 48% of respondents admitted that they sometimes find it difficult to reach even that level of coverage.

Most developers surveyed agreed that unit tests improve software quality and speed up code maintenance. But to achieve their coverage goals, they have to spend 35% of their time writing tests and 20% of them writing unit tests, time that can be better spent on other coding tasks.

In addition to achieving their test code objectives, developers also said they feel busy delivering new production code, which takes up 29% of their time.

To meet all these expectations, 42% of developers acknowledged that they had skipped testing to concentrate their time and efforts on developing new functions. In addition, two-thirds of developers said the setup of the unit test is commonplace, while more than a third said they wished they didn’t have to write unit tests at all.

A full 82% of respondents said they would rather spend time on more creative endeavors, such as developing new product functions. When asked which tasks they would like to see automated, 73% mentioned bug tracking and 70% pointed to writing unit tests.

“Development teams ask to deliver world-class software without the right support, asks them to fail and shut down,” said Diffblue CEO Mathew Lodge in a press release.

“Creating quality codes should not depend on developers who write hundreds or thousands of non-intuitive, uninteresting tests. Whenever robot tasks can be assigned to machines, they must be – not just to maintain a more satisfied and effective workforce in a time when top talent can be hard to find, but also to improve the quality of the code they create, “said Lodge.

Sponsored by Diffblue and conducted by Vanson Bourne, the online survey produced responses from 300 people (200 in the US and 100 in the UK). All respondents work in software development, application development and DevOps in sub-executive level roles at a series of companies with at least 500 employees.

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