Problem Identification for Structural Test Generation: First Step Towards Cooperative Developer Testing

Xusheng Xiao
North Carolina State University, USA

Achieving high structural coverage is an important goal of software testing. Instead of manually producing high-covering test inputs that achieve high structural coverage, testers or developers can employ tools built based on automated test-generation approaches to automatically generate such test inputs. Although these tools can easily generate high-covering test inputs for simple programs, when applied on complex programs in practice, these tools face various problems, such as the problems of dealing with method calls to external libraries, generating method-call sequences to produce desired object states, and exceeding defined boundaries of resources due to loops. Since these tools currently are not powerful enough to deal with these various problems in testing complex programs, we propose cooperative developer testing, where developers provide guidance to help tools achieve higher structural coverage. To reduce the efforts of developers in providing guidance to the tools, we propose a novel approach, called Covana. Covana precisely identifies and reports problems that prevent the tools from achieving high structural coverage primarily by determining whether branch statements containing not-covered branches have data dependencies on problem candidates.