Code without unit tests is much more difficult to refactor with confidence, and when it does get modified the risk of introducing a new bug is high. If a function is composed of two blocks, the cyclomatic complexity of the function is the sum of the complexity of each of it. If we take I2 and add and ‚if‘ statement , the complexity is incremented because a single ‚if‘ statement has a complexity of 1. The complexity of a boolean expression has no impact on the code metric . McCabe can be compared to the decision coverage for which it is important to track if a complete boolean expression was true and false.

definition of cyclomatic complexity

For example, if source code contains no control flow statement then its cyclomatic complexity will be 1 and source code contains a single path in it. Similarly, if the source code contains one if condition then cyclomatic complexity will be 2 because there will be two paths one for true and the other for false. As the Cyclomatic complexity calculates the independent paths for the source program, it gives the idea of a number of test cases for testing the source code. So when the number of independent path count is present it helps to test the code in that number of times.

Just use your GitHub, Bitbucket or Google account to sign up. Based on this knowledge the business or organization is better able to set its goals and expectations, especially ones that are directly dependent on said software. When this happens, it’s easier to set realistic budgets, forecasts, and so on. Which is easier to understand , the original one, or this one?


The McCabe metric is computed independently for each function and it is as if there are interactions between the functions present in the source code. This experience drove me to capture the bumpy road code smell. I simply noticed that some functions were so much harder to understand than others, despite similarities in size and absolute complexity values. As outlined in this article, absolute numbers are of little interest when it comes to code complexity. All that matters is how that complexity is distributed and how that in turn shapes the code.

definition of cyclomatic complexity

Basis Path testing is one of White box technique and it guarantees to execute atleast one statement during testing. It checks each linearly independent path through the program, which means number test cases, will be equivalent to the cyclomatic complexity of the program. However, it can be one of the most difficult software quality metrics to understand. That’s why it is important to learn about software quality metrics — like cyclomatic complexity — and how to measure them accurately measure.

Game Development Report

Cyclomatic complexity is a software metric used to determine the complexity of a program. It is a count of the number of decisions in the source code. Tested Data Complexity Metric quantifies the complexity of a module’s structure as it relates to data-related variables. It is the number of independent paths through data logic that have been tested.

  • Consider the control flow graph of your function, with an additional edge running from the exit to the entrance.
  • It was given by McCabe for finding the efficiency of a computer program.
  • Sometimes you can refactor and in some cases only a redesign will reduce the complexity.
  • However, for my personal understanding, it should be on a function base.
  • Moreover, high code complexity brings with it a higher level of code defects, making the code costlier to maintain.

To demonstrate the metric, let’s use three, somewhat arbitrary, Go code examples. I’ll also go through some of the benefits of assessing and understanding code complexity. These results suggest that the presence of anti-patterns in source code is sometimes tolerable, and part of developers’ design choices. One of the participants at the Smells Forum shared her experience that highlighted how the viscosity of the environment can lead to the introduction of Insufficient Modularization smell.

I recommend you to use the tool called Lizard and you can find the resource code and download the zip file at github. It also has a online version if there is not much confidential information in your code. What I have personally read a lot of times is that methods with a CC higher than 10 have higher risks of defects.

DEPTH indicates at what level a class is located within its class hierarchy. FANIN is the number of classes from which a class is derived. PCTPUB is the percentage of PUBLIC and PROTECTED data within a class. Tested Data Reference Metric is the total number of tested references to data-related variables. OS1 quantifies the number of tests necessary to fully integrate an object or class into an OO system.

Separate subroutines are treated as being independent, disconnected components of the program’s control flow graph. When beginning to implement code coverage, a reasonable goal of 80% will pay back huge dividends and produce much happier QA resources. As with so many things, the last 20% takes 80% of the work. •Project management is often unaware of the impact of software processes. For instance, they could have optimized the change approval process so that the schedule is met.

She is especially interested in coding standards and software metrics. At Perforce, she leads a world-wide group of high-capability technical consultants in delivering added-value products and services to customers. Jill holds a Masters degree in Computer Science from Brunel University and a BSc from University of Newcastle upon Tyne. Data Complexity Severity Metric measures the level of data density within a module.

How this metric is useful for software testing?

We can also see how different complex sections of code are in comparison with each other. In this example, we’re retrieving the current year, month, and day. With this information, we then check if the current date is the 10th of November 2018 with an if/else condition. As there’s only one path through the function, it has a Cyclomatic Complexity score of 1, which we can find by running gocyclo on it. Used to describe the number of circuits in a network; equal to the number of edges, minus the number of nodes plus the number of graphs. Used to describe the number of edges that must be removed from a graph to ensure that no graph cycle remains; equal to the number of edges, minus the number of nodes plus one.

It is the total number of times that data-related variables are used in a module. Drilling down into class and method level complexity will determine areas of the code that need to be refactored into smaller methods or redesigned to elminate the complexity. We recommend definition of cyclomatic complexity checking for cognitive complexity rather than cyclomatic complexity, and we pair that with a return statements check, as two of our 10 point maintainability inspection. The good news is that calculating the cyclomatic complexity is a human accessible operation.

definition of cyclomatic complexity

Test-driven development is one way to bring in unit tests for the purposes of code coverage. To show the value that this work has to the larger organization, it may be necessary to set aside specific time during the work week to have them gather and be trained how to do TDD. Without actually setting aside time to introduce this new concept, the old saying of you get what you pay for is very true and results will be spotty at best. A few developers may pick up on the concepts and begin performing them in their daily work, but more commonly the whole idea will fizzle like a wet firecracker. The importance of unit testing cannot be stressed enough, and the measurement of code coverage gives a real metric to the value of unit testing. In the first few weeks of her involvement, she realized that there were a number of smells in the design and code.

Analysis Configuration

It can be used as a quality metric, gives relative complexity of various designs. Unfortunately, it is not always practical to test all possible paths through a program. Considering the example above, each time an additional if-then-else statement is added, the number of possible paths grows by a factor of 2. As the program grows in this fashion, it quickly reaches the point where testing all of the paths becomes impractical. LOCM is a measure of how the methods of a class interact with the data in a class.

Research has shown that having a lower cyclomatic complexity metric should help develop software that is of higher quality. It can help with software quality attributes of readability, maintainability, and portability. In general one should attempt to obtain a cyclomatic complexity metric of between 5-10.

This metric measures the degree of structuredness and the quality of the code. It is used to predict the maintenance effort and to help in the modularization process. PMD’s default setting is to alert to a cyclomatic complexity of 10, as well. Looking at complexity on a per-method level also allows you to disregard methods that might have good reasons for high CC, such as generated equals methods. If this is your first time hearing about the term or learning about any of the tools, I encourage you to explore the linked articles and tools, so that you learn more.

The next assessor of code complexity is the switch statement and logic condition complexity. In the code example below, I’ve taken the second Go example and split the compound if condition into three nested conditions; one for each of the original conditions. One of the reasons for using metrics like cyclomatic complexity is that in general a human being can only keep track of about 7 pieces of information simultaneously in your brain. This would most likely lead to developing erroneous or bug ridden software. More information about this can be found here and also on Wikipedia. Having classes affected by anti-patterns cause time-consuming maintenance operations due to their lower comprehensibility and maintainability.

The tools I’ve used to assess complexity up until this point don’t do that. I’m not advocating for 100% code coverage by the way—that’s often a meaningless software metric. However, I always advocate for as high a level of code coverage as is both practical and possible. Would you consider the code to be less or more complicated? So this is another essential factor in understanding code complexity. Said more straightforwardly, the fewer the paths through a piece of code, and the less complex those paths are, the lower the Cyclomatic Complexity.

Properties of Cyclomatic complexity:

If you don’t code in Go or C, then google “code complexity tool” plus your software language. Cyclomatric complexity is basically a metric to figure out areas of code that needs more attension for the maintainability. It definitely gives an indication of code improvement area in terms of avoiding deep nested loop, conditions etc. The cyclomatic complexity of a method also denotes the number of unit test cases required to achieve the 100% code coverage for that method. Computing the cyclomatic complexity on some samples allows us to better identify how source code affects the metric.

In other languages

She had just joined a globally distributed software development project concerning a critical clinical workflow product. The ownership of the code base was with the central team located in Country A, and she was a part of the offshore development team located in Country B. The Qt Company acquired froglogic GmbH in order to bring the functionality of their market-leading automated testing suite of tools to our comprehensive quality assurance offering. The metric has a linear grow with the function complexity.

McCabe cyclomatic complexity measures how close is the program graph to a tree-like structure. When cyclomatic complexity exceeds ten it is commonly to confirmed that the program might be problematic. Standard McCabe measurement does not seem appropriate for the SDL metrics because its value is unlimited and linearly depends upon number of arcs and nodes. So, for instance, addition of one arc increases the complexity value by one for both small and large flowgraphs. Cyclomatic complexity measures the number of execution paths through code, but excessive return statements can make a function harder for a human to follow because control flow jumps around.

Cyclomatic Complexity Example 1

Cyclomatic Complexity is software metric useful for structured or White Box Testing. If the decision points are more, then complexity of the program is more. If program has high complexity number, then probability of error is high with increased time for maintenance and trouble shoot. Jill has in-depth knowledge of design, development, and quality processes.

Cookies & Skripte von Drittanbietern

Diese Website verwendet Cookies. Für eine optimale Performance, eine reibungslose Verwendung sozialer Medien und aus Werbezwecken empfiehlt es sich, der Verwendung von Cookies & Skripten durch Drittanbieter zuzustimmen. Dafür werden möglicherweise Informationen zu Ihrer Verwendung der Website von Drittanbietern für soziale Medien, Werbung und Analysen weitergegeben. Weitere Informationen finden Sie unter Datenschutz und im Impressum.
Welchen Cookies & Skripten und der damit verbundenen Verarbeitung Ihrer persönlichen Daten stimmen Sie zu?

Sie können Ihre Einstellungen jederzeit unter Datenschutz ändern.