On recording output of the program the testing system should judge its accuracy. How to do it? There are several traditional approaches to this verification process.
- If there is a sample program that performs the same functions as the one under test, you can compare their output.
- Write a parallel program that generates exactly the same results, and compare its output with that of the other programs. In practice, it is easier to create several dozens of small parallel programs – one for each function being tested.
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- Create a library for valid output. In addition, it will be necessary to create new sample output data for each new set of tests. This is a fairly long and laborious process, especially if reference data files have to be entered manually. And there will inevitably be costs associated with identifying bugs and typos. However, most of the work will be done at the start of the project, when it will be necessary to create the main data array, and the next tasks will be less complicated. Given enough time tests can be automated gradually, one after the other.
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- Intercept program output. You should keep the results of each test, whatever they may be. The test result is recorded in a separate file, analyzed immediately or later and marked as good or bad.
- After the same tests are executed a second time, their results can be written back into the file and compared with the previous ones. This work is perfectly amenable to automation. The difference between the new file and the old one marked as Satisfactory means occurrence of a new error or change in the specification. If the next test result is good, all the previous bad results can be removed.
- This strategy is incremental in nature. Test results library gradually expands, is replenished with new data, and eventually it appears to contain a file for each test, and only valid data are included in these files.
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