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Managing Conflicts when Using Combination Strategies to Test Software
University of Skövde.
Information and Software Engineering, George Mason University, Fairfax, VA .
University of Skövde.
2007 (English)In: Proceedings of 18th Australian Conference on Software Engineering (ASWEC2007), 10-13 April, Melbourne, Australia, 255-264 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Testers often represent systems under test in input parameter models. These contain parameters with associated values. Combinations of parameter values, with one value for each parameter, are potential test cases. In most models, some values of two or more parameters cannot be combined. Testers must then detect and avoid or remove these conflicts. This paper proposes two new methods for automatically handling such conflicts and compares these with two existing methods, based on the sizes of the final conflict-free test suites. A test suite reduction method, usable with three of the four investigated methods is also included in the study, resulting in seven studied conflict handling methods. In the experiment, the number and types of conflicts, as well as the size of the input parameter model and the coverage criterion used, are varied. All in all, 3854 test suites with a total of 929, 158 test cases were generated. Two methods stand out as tractable and complementary. The best method (called the avoid methods) with respect to test suite size is to avoid selection of test cases with conflicts. However, this method cannot always be used. The second best method (called the replace method), removing conflicts from the final test suite, is completely general.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
IEEE , 2007. 255-264 p.
National Category
Computer Science
URN: urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-12972DOI: 10.1109/ASWEC.2007.27OAI: diva2:17565
Available from: 2008-02-29 Created: 2008-02-29 Last updated: 2010-04-28
In thesis
1. Handling Combinatorial Explosion in Software Testing
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Handling Combinatorial Explosion in Software Testing
2007 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

In this thesis, the overall conclusion is that combination strategies, (i.e., test case selection methods that manage the combinatorial explosion of possible things to test), can improve the software testing in most organizations. The research underlying this thesis emphasizes relevance by working in close relationship with industry.

Input parameter models of test objects play a crucial role for combination strategies. These models consist of parameters with corresponding parameter values and represent the input space and possibly other properties, such as state, of the test object. Test case selection is then defined as the selection of combinations of parameter values from these models.

This research describes a complete test process, adapted to combination strategies. Guidelines and step-by-step descriptions of the activities in process are included in the presentation. In particular, selection of suitable combination strategies, input parameter modeling and handling of conflicts in the input parameter models are addressed. It is also shown that several of the steps in the test process can be automated.

The test process is validated through a set of experiments and case studies involving industrial testers as well as actual test problems as they occur in industry. In conjunction with the validation of the test process, aspects of applicability of the combination strategy test process (e.g., usability, scalability and performance) are studied. Identification and discussion of barriers for the introduction of the combination strategy test process in industrial projects are also included.

This research also presents a comprehensive survey of existing combination strategies, complete with classifications and descriptions of their different properties. Further, this thesis contains a survey of the testing maturity of twelve software-producing organizations. The data indicate low test maturity in most of the investigated organizations. Test managers are often aware of this but have trouble improving. Combination strategies are suitable improvement enablers, due to their low introduction costs.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Linköping University, Department of Computer and Information Science, 2007
, Linköping studies in science and technology. Dissertations, ISSN 0345-7524 ; 1073
Input parameter models, software development, software testing, test process
National Category
Software Engineering
Research subject
urn:nbn:se:his:diva-1994 (URN)978-91-87515-74-9 (ISBN)
Public defence
Available from: 2008-04-21 Created: 2008-04-21 Last updated: 2013-03-26

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Grindal, Mats
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