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Linux Journal: Coverage Measurement and Profiling

Sep 17, 2004, 07:00 (0 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Zach Frey)

"Maybe you've always wondered what the gcov utility that comes with GCC is used for, or maybe your new project at work has a regulatory or customer requirement that your delivered software be tested to a certain percentage of coverage, and you are looking for how to accomplish that task. In this article, I introduce the general ideas of coverage measurement and of performance profiling, along with the standard GNU tools (gcov and gprof) used in these two techniques.

"Coverage measurement is the recording of what paths were executed in code. Coverage can be measured with different degrees of granularity. The coarsest level is function coverage, measuring which functions were called; then comes statement coverage, measuring which lines of code were executed; and finally, branch coverage, measuring which logic conditions in branch statements were satisfied. When someone refers to coverage measurement usually statement or branch coverage is being discussed. gcov is the standard GNU coverage measurement tool, and it requires GCC.

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