Nine out of 10 developers still use manual testing for business critical applications, according to new research.
Nearly half of developers spent over two-fifths of their development time on manual testing and did not use automated testing tools, according to the survey of 100 Visual Studio developers by business software and services specialist Compuware.
"The current level of dependence on manual testing is astounding," Sarah Saltzman, technology manager at Compuware UK, told vnunet.com. "It seems that when client-server computing came in, application structure went out of the window."
But mainframe and Unix developers are more likely to use automated tools, Saltzman said.
Only 13 per cent of the developers surveyed - including Visual Basic, C and C++ developers - used automated tools.
Some 45 per cent said they spent anything from 41 to 80 per cent of their total development time on debugging, with another 39 per cent spending 21 to 40 per cent.
Saltzman said errors could be found quicker with automated tools. "Where you find an error has a direct impact on the cost to correct. One problem is getting visibility and commitment by development managers.
"You can make a massive return on investment case on the speed to deployment," she said.
But fewer than half of developers said they attempted to detect bugs at the coding phase.
Most left it to the formal testing phase (30 per cent) or tuning phase (18 per cent), while five per cent actually admitted to leaving bug-detection until after deployment.
Figures from the US National Institute for Standards and Technology has estimated the annual cost to the US economy alone from software bugs is around $63bn (£40bn).
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