The Impact of Software Evolution on Code Coverage Information
S. Elbaum, D. Gable, and G. Rothermel
Proceedings of the International Conference on Software Maintenance
November, 2001, pages 169-179.


Many tools and techniques for addressing software maintenance problems rely on code coverage information. Often, this coverage information is gathered for a specific version of a software system, and then used to perform analyses on subsequent versions of that system without being recalculated. As a software system evolves, however, modifications to the software alter the software's behavior on particular inputs, and code coverage information gathered on earlier versions of a program may not accurately reflect the coverage that would be obtained on later versions. This discrepancy may affect the success of analyses dependent on code coverage information. Despite the importance of coverage information in various analyses, in our search of the literature we find no studies specifically examining the impact of software evolution on code coverage information. Therefore, we conducted empirical studies to examine this impact. The results of our studies suggest that even relatively small modifications can greatly affect code coverage information, and that the degree of impact of change on coverage may be difficult to predict.