A number of strategies have been proposed for state-based class testing. An important proposal made by Chow (1978), that was subsequently adapted by Binder (1999), consists in deriving test sequences covering all round-trip paths in a finite state machine (FSMs). Based on a number of (rather strong) assumptions, and for traditional FSMs, it can be demonstrated that all operation and transfer errors in the implementation can be uncovered. Through experimentation, this paper investigates this strategy when used in the context of UML statecharts. Based on a set of mutation operators proposed for object-oriented code we seed a significant number of faults in an implementation of a specific container class. We then investigate the effectiveness of four test teams at uncovering faults, based on the round-trip path strategy, and analyze the faults that seem to be difficult to detect. Our main conclusion is that the round-trip path strategy is reasonably effective at detecting faults (87% average as opposed to 69% for size-equivalent, random test cases) but that a significant number of faults can only exhibit a high detection probability by augmenting the round-trip strategy with a traditional black-box strategy such as category-partition testing. This increases the number of test cases to run -and therefore the cost of testing- and a cost-benefit analysis weighting the increase of testing effort and the likely gain in fault detection is necessary.

Additional Metadata
Keywords Automata, Computer aided software engineering, Containers, Costs, Fault detection, Genetic mutations, Proposals, Software quality, Software testing, Unified modeling language
Persistent URL dx.doi.org/10.1109/ISSRE.2002.1173268
Conference 13th International Symposium on Software Reliability Engineering, ISSRE 2002
Citation
Antoniol, G., Briand, L.C., Di Penta, M., & Labiche, Y. (2002). A case study using the round-trip strategy for state-based class testing. Presented at the 13th International Symposium on Software Reliability Engineering, ISSRE 2002. doi:10.1109/ISSRE.2002.1173268