Speed up mutation testing with incremental analysis available in PIT 0.29

Posted: 2013-01-21 in Tools
Tags: , , , , , ,

Mutation testing can efficiently detect places in code which are insufficiently covered by tests. The price we have to pay for it is time – number of mutations has to be tested with a set of unit tests. This time is much longer than calculating a “normal” code coverage. The newest PIT 0.29 provides a long awaiting feature – incremental analysis. When enabled PIT will store results from the previous runs on disk and track changes in the code and tests to avoid rerunning analyses which result should stay the same.

To start using incremental analysis it is necessary set historyInputLocation and historyOutputLocation configuration properties. For example in Pitest Maven Plugin it could be:

<plugin>
    <groupId>org.pitest</groupId>
    <artifactId>pitest-maven</artifactId>
    <version>0.29</version>
    <configuration>
        <threads>4</threads>
        <historyInputLocation>target/pitHistory.txt</historyInputLocation>
        <historyOutputLocation>target/pitHistory.txt</historyOutputLocation>
    </configuration>
</plugin>

It is worth to notice that for a basic usage (i.e. run analysis from time to time) input and output history locations will point to the same file. Therefor in Gradle plugin for PIT 0.29.0 there was added an additional parameter enableDefaultIncrementalAnalysis which when enabled automatically set historyInputLocation and historyOutputLocation to build/pitHistory.txt simplifying a configuration.

buildscript {
    (...)
    dependencies {
        classpath 'info.solidsoft.gradle.pitest:gradle-pitest-plugin:0.29.0'
        classpath 'org.pitest:pitest:0.29'
    }
}

apply plugin: 'pitest'

pitest {
    targetClasses = ['our.base.package.*']
    threads = 4
    enableDefaultIncrementalAnalysis = true
}

There is a number of optimizations already implemented in PIT. The author warns of potential errors which can be introduced in that way into the analysis, but although being currently an experimental feature it can dramatically reduce calculation time especially when used on very large codebases.

Update 2013-04-13: Added missing line which applies plugin to a project. Thanks to Bruno de Carvalho for report the issue.

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