At its core, Diffblue uses unsupervised learning to build these unit tests. “What we’re doing is unique in the sense that there have been tools before that use what’s called static analysis,” Diffblue CEO Mathew Loge, who joined the company about a year ago, explained. “They look at the program and they basically understand the path through the program and try and work backwards from the path.
With the community edition, which doesn’t offer the command-line interface (CLI) of Diffblue’s paid editions, developers can write their code in IntelliJ as before and then simply click a button to have Diffblue write the tests for that code. “The Community Edition is designed to be very accessible.
Besides support for more language, unit tests are just the first step in the company’s overall goal of automating more of the programming process with the help of AI. “We started with testing because it’s an important and urgent problem, especially with the impact that it has on DevOps and the adoption of more rapid software cycles,” Loge said.
Diffblue, a spin-out from Oxford University, uses machine learning to help developers automatically create unit tests for their Java code.
Today, however, the company also launched its free community edition, Diffblue Cover: Community Edition, which doesn’t feature all of the enterprise features in its paid versions, but still offers an IntelliJ plugin and the same AI-generated unit tests as the paid editions.
Since few developers enjoy writing unit tests to ensure that their code works as expected, increased automation doesn’t just help developers focus on writing the code that actually makes a difference but also lead to code with fewer bugs.
The next obvious step is to then take a similar approach to automatically fixing bugs — and especially security bugs — in code as well. “The idea is that there are these steppingstones to machines writing more and more code,” he said. “And also, frankly, it’s a way of getting developers used to that.