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Similarity-Based Test Effort Reduction
Mälardalen University, School of Innovation, Design and Engineering, Embedded Systems.ORCID iD: 0000-0001-8096-3592
2017 (English)Licentiate thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Embedded computer systems are all around us. We find them in everything, from dishwashers to cars and airplanes. They must always work correctly and moreover, often within certain time constraints. The software of such a system can be very large and complex, e.g. in the case of a car or a train. Hence, we develop the software for embedded systems in smaller, manageable, parts. These parts can be successively integrated, until they form the complete software for the embedded system, possibly at different levels. This phase of the development process is called the system integration phase and is one of the most critical phases in the development of embedded systems. In this phase, substantial effort is spent on testing activities.

Studies have found that a considerable amount of test effort is wasteful due to people, unknowingly or by necessity, performing similar (or even overlapping) test activities. Consequently, test cases may end up to be similar, partially or wholly. We identified such test similarities in a case study of 2500 test cases, written in natural language, from four different projects in the embedded vehicular domain. Such information can be used for reducing effort when maintaining or automating similar test cases.

In another case study in the same domain, we investigated several approaches for prioritizing test cases to automate with the objective to reduce manual test effort as quick as possible given that similar automated tests could be reused (similarity-based reuse). We analyzed how the automation order affects the test effort for four projects with a total of 3919 integration test cases, written in natural language. The results showed that similarity-based reuse of automated test case script code, and the best-performing automation order can reduce the expected manual test effort with 20 percentage points.

Another way of reducing test effort is to reuse test artifacts from one level of integration to another, instead of duplicating them. We studied such reuse methods, that we denote vertical reuse, in a systematic mapping study. While the results from of our systematic mapping study showed the viability of vertical test reuse methods, our industrial case studies showed that keeping track of similarities and test overlaps is both possible and feasible for test effort reduction. We further conclude that the test case automation order affects the manual test execution effort when there exist similar steps that cannot be removed, but are possible to reuse with respect to test script code.

Abstract [sv]

Inbyggda datorsystem finns överallt omkring oss idag; i allt från diskmaskiner till bilar och flygplan. Ofta finns det stränga krav på såväl korrekt funktion som svarstider. Eftersom programvaran i det inbyggda systemet i till exempel en bil är väldigt stor och komplex, utvecklar man programvaran i mindre delar som sedan successivt integreras till det färdiga datorsystemet. Denna del av utvecklingsprocessen kallas systemintegrationsfasen och är en av de största och mest kritiska faserna när man utvecklar inbyggda system. Integrationen kan utföras i ett antal nivåer med utförliga tester av mjukvaran på varje nivå. Detta innebär att det krävs ett avsevärt arbete för att testa mjukvaran. Om man kan minska detta arbete, givetvis utan att ge avkall på testningens kvalitet, förväntas det få en stor effekt på det totala utvecklingsarbetet.

Studier har visat att en icke försumbar del av testarbetet är slöseri på grund av att människor, omedvetet eller av nödvändighet, utför likartade (eller till och med överlappande) testaktiviteter. En konsekvens är att testfall riskerar att bli helt eller delvis lika. Vi identifierade sådana likheter i en fallstudie med 2500 manuella testfall, skrivna på vanligt språk, från fyra projekt inom fordonsindustrin. Information om likheter och överlapp kan användas för att, till exempel, minska arbetsåtgången vid underhåll eller när man översätter testfall till kod så att de kan utföras automatiskt av en dator (automatisering). I en annan studie inom samma domän, undersökte vi flera metoder för att prioritera arbetsordningen vid automatisering av testfall där liknande testfall kunde återanvändas. I studien analyserade vi hur denna ordning påverkar arbetsmängden för fyra industriprojekt med totalt 3919 integrationstestfall skrivna på vanligt språk. Resultaten visar att den bästa ordningen kan minska testarbetet avsevärt. En förutsättning för detta är att redan översatta delar av testfall kan återanvändas för att slippa översätta liknande testfall igen.

En annan väg för att minska testarbetet är att återanvända testfall och information mellan integrationsnivåer. Vi har kartlagt metoder och motiv kring sådan återanvändning i en systematisk mappningsstudie. Våra fallstudier visar vidare att det både är genomförbart och lönsamt att hålla reda på likheter i testfallen. Slutligen konstaterar vi att arbetsinsatsen för manuell testning påverkas av automationsordningen när det är möjligt att återanvända redan översatta delar av liknande testfall.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Västerås: Mälardalen University Press , 2017.
Series
Mälardalen University Press Licentiate Theses, ISSN 1651-9256 ; 257
Keyword [en]
Software Testing
National Category
Software Engineering
Research subject
Computer Science
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:mdh:diva-35053ISBN: 978-91-7485-318-6 (print)OAI: oai:DiVA.org:mdh-35053DiVA: diva2:1083853
Presentation
2017-04-21, Pi, Mälardalen University, Västerås, 13:15 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Projects
IMPRINT
Funder
VINNOVA, 2014-03397
Available from: 2017-03-23 Created: 2017-03-22 Last updated: 2017-04-04Bibliographically approved
List of papers
1. Vertical Test Reuse for Embedded Systems: A Systematic Mapping Study
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Vertical Test Reuse for Embedded Systems: A Systematic Mapping Study
2015 (English)In: The 41st Euromicro Conference on Software Engineering and Advanced Applications SEAA'15, 2015, 317-324 p.Conference paper, (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

Vertical test reuse refers to the the reuse of test cases or other test artifacts over different integration levels in the software or system engineering process. Vertical test reuse has previously been proposed for reducing test effort and improving test effectiveness, particularly for embedded system development. The goal of this study is to provide an overview of the state of the art in the field of vertical test reuse for embedded system development. For this purpose, a systematic mapping study has been performed, identifying 11 papers on vertical test reuse for embedded systems. The primary result from the mapping is a classification of published work on vertical test reuse in the embedded system domain, covering motivations for reuse, reuse techniques, test levels and reusable test artifacts considered, and to what extent the effects of reuse have been evaluated.

National Category
Computer and Information Science
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:mdh:diva-28164 (URN)10.1109/SEAA.2015.46 (DOI)000380478300046 ()2-s2.0-84958235305 (Scopus ID)978-1-4673-7585-6 (ISBN)
External cooperation:
Conference
The 41st Euromicro Conference on Software Engineering and Advanced Applications SEAA'15, 26-28 Aug 2015, Funchal, Madeira, Portugal
Projects
IMPRINT - Innovative Model-Based Product Integration Testing (Vinnova)
Available from: 2015-06-12 Created: 2015-06-08 Last updated: 2017-03-22Bibliographically approved
2. Exploring Test Overlap in System Integration: An Industrial Case Study
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Exploring Test Overlap in System Integration: An Industrial Case Study
2016 (English)In: 42nd Euromicro Conference series on Software Engineering and Advanced Applications SEAA 2016, 2016, 303-312 p.Conference paper, (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

Tougher safety regulations, global competition and ever increasing complexity of embedded software puts extensive pressure on the effectiveness of the software testing procedures. Previous studies have found that there exist overlaps (i.e., multiple instances of highly similar test cases) and even redundancies in the software testing process. Such overlap has been found between versions, variants and integration levels, but primarily at unit test level. Given large embedded systems involving many subsystems, does overlap exist within the system integration testing as well? In this paper, we present an industrial case study, aiming to a) evaluate if there exist test overlaps within the given context, b) if so, investigate how these overlaps are distributed, and c) find ways of reducing test effort by investigating how the knowledge of overlaps and their distribution may be used for finding candidate test cases for automation, maintenance or even removal. We have studied manual test cases, written in natural language, at a large vehicular manufacturer in Sweden. In particular, we have collected and analyzed test cases from the system integration testing levels of four different projects of a vehicle control management system. Using a similarity function, we evaluate if any overlaps between test cases exist, and where. We found that overlaps do exist within the system integration level, particularly in the form of partial test step sequences. However, very few test cases overlapped in their entirety. Some candidates for test step automation and update propagation were identified, but none for easy removal.

National Category
Computer Systems
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:mdh:diva-32865 (URN)10.1109/SEAA.2016.34 (DOI)000386649000044 ()2-s2.0-85020747520 (Scopus ID)978-1-5090-2819-1 (ISBN)
Conference
42nd Euromicro Conference series on Software Engineering and Advanced Applications SEAA 2016, 31 Aug 2016, Cyprus, Cyprus
Projects
IMPRINT - Innovative Model-Based Product Integration Testing (Vinnova)
Available from: 2016-09-23 Created: 2016-08-24 Last updated: 2017-06-29Bibliographically approved
3. Similarity-Based Prioritization of Test Case Automation
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Similarity-Based Prioritization of Test Case Automation
(English)In: Software quality journal, ISSN 0963-9314, E-ISSN 1573-1367Article in journal (Refereed) Submitted
National Category
Software Engineering
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:mdh:diva-35055 (URN)
Available from: 2017-03-22 Created: 2017-03-22 Last updated: 2017-03-27Bibliographically approved

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