Call-Stack Coverage for GUI Test Suite Reduction

TitleCall-Stack Coverage for GUI Test Suite Reduction
Publication TypeJournal Articles
Year of Publication2008
AuthorsMcMaster S, Memon AM
JournalSoftware Engineering, IEEE Transactions on
Pagination99 - 115
Date Published2008/02//jan
ISBN Number0098-5589
Keywordscall-stack coverage criterion, computer testing, Graphical user interfaces, test suite reduction

Graphical user interfaces (GUIs) are used as front ends to most of today's software applications. The event-driven nature of GUIs presents new challenges for testing. One important challenge is test suite reduction. Conventional reduction techniques/tools based on static analysis are not easily applicable due to the increased use of multilanguage GUI implementations, callbacks for event handlers, virtual function calls, reflection, and multithreading. Moreover, many existing techniques ignore code in libraries and fail to consider the context in which event handlers execute. Consequently, they yield GUI test suites with seriously impaired fault-detection abilities. This paper presents a reduction technique based on the call-stack coverage criterion. Call stacks may be collected for any executing program with very little overhead. Empirical studies in this paper compare reduction based on call-stack coverage to reduction based on line, method, and event coverage, including variations that control for the size and optional consideration of library methods. These studies show that call-stack-based reduction provides unique trade-offs between the reduction in test suite size and the loss of fault detection effectiveness, which may be valuable in practice. Additionally, an analysis of the relationship between coverage requirements and fault-revealing test cases is presented.