Using a goal-driven approach to generate test cases for GUIs

TitleUsing a goal-driven approach to generate test cases for GUIs
Publication TypeConference Papers
Year of Publication1999
AuthorsMemon AM, Pollack ME, Soffa ML
Conference NameSoftware Engineering, 1999. Proceedings of the 1999 International Conference on
Date Published1999/05//
KeywordsArtificial intelligence, automatic test case generation, goal state, goal-driven approach, Graphical user interfaces, GUIs, hierarchical planning operators, initial state, Microsoft Word-Pad, operators, planning (artificial intelligence), program testing, software, verification commands

The widespread use of GUIs for interacting with software is leading to the construction of more and more complex GUIs. With the growing complexity comes challenges in testing the correctness of a GUI and the underlying software. We present a new technique to automatically generate test cases for GUIs that exploits planning, a well developed and used technique in artificial intelligence. Given a set of operators, an initial state and a goal state, a planner produces a sequence of the operators that will change the initial state to the goal state. Our test case generation technique first analyzes a GUI and derives hierarchical planning operators from the actions in the GUI. The test designer determines the preconditions and effects of the hierarchical operators, which are then input into a planning system. With the knowledge of the GUI and the way in which the user will interact with the GUI, the test designer creates sets of initial and goal states. Given these initial and final states of the GUI, a hierarchical planner produces plans, or a set of test cases, that enable the goal state to be reached. Our technique has the additional benefit of putting verification commands into the test cases automatically. We implemented our technique by developing the GUI analyzer and extending a planner. We generated test cases for Microsoft's Word-Pad to demonstrate the viability and practicality of the approach.