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Friday, November 23, 2007

Testing and Evaluation

Criteria for Software Testing Tool Evaluation – A Task Oriented ViewT.Illes, A.Herrmann, B. Paech, J. Rückert Institute for Computer Science, University of Heidelberg Im Neuenheimer Feld 326, 69120 Heidelberg, Germany{illes, herrmann, paech , rueckert}@informatik.uni-heidelberg.deAbstract. Considering the immense variety of test tools available, bothcommercial and open source, an extensive evaluation of these tools with respect to their adequacy for a given organizational or project context seems to beimpossible. On this account we present a systematic approach for derivingeasily verifiable evaluation criteria for test tools. We define both, qualitycriteria and functional criteria. Using the TORE methodology we identifyactivities which potentially could be automated or at least supported by a testtool. Starting from these activities we derive evaluation criteria for test tools.We focus on criteria which can be evaluated considering only vendors'instructions, consequently without an extensive laboratory test. The result ofour work is a reasonable list of criteria allowing an effective classification andpre-selection of test tools. In a first step we applied our criteria to evaluate threecapture & replay tools. At this, our approach proved of value. The fundamentaldifferences between the tools could be identified and additional criteria for this particular test automation technique could be defined.1 Introduction Browsing the web one can find an immense variety of tools supporting differentactivities performed during the test process. Even though there are over 600 test tools no approach exists for classifying these tools, apart from a very superficialcategorization into test tools supporting test planning, test design, test execution, defect tracking or configuration management as mentioned in [20]. Therefore inproduct overviews plainest tools and extensive ones are grouped into the samecategory. In this paper we refine these criteria to allow a more detailed classificationof tools according to the context of a special project without lapsing into the contraryby defining criteria, which are only applicable on the basis of extensive productevaluations. Suchlike criteria require a high effort so that we confine ourselves to criteria which allow a pre-selection only by consulting the vendor’s instructions. In order to determine quality criteria for test tools, we extend the characteristics of the quality model proposed by the standard ISO/IEC 9126 [10] by criteria related to vendor qualification as mentioned in [4]. For deriving a reasonable set of functional criteria we analyzed the test process applying the TORE methodology [16]. Weidentified that way the tasks performed while systematically testing a software system
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2 T.Illes, A.Herrmann, B. Paech, J. Rückert and the corresponding roles. Refining these tasks we detected activities which potentially could be automated or at least supported by a test tool. The result of ourwork is a set of quality and functional criteria. For validating our results, we thenexemplary applied the criteria in order to evaluate three capture & replay tools. Related Work. Apart from the criteria defined by Poston and Sexton [18] there isno founded approach for deriving evaluation criteria for test tools. Since the criteria proposed by Poston and Sexton focus on company specific criteria or on criteria requiring a high effort to be evaluated e.g. test effort or test quality (percentages offound defects), these criteria do not apply for a pre-selection of the test tools.Additionally, criteria specific to test tools are mentioned without a justification for their derivation. The criteria mentioned by Poston and Sexton represent a subset ofthe criteria systematically derived in our approach. Commercial test tool evaluations offered by OVUM [15] and CAST [1], [2], and most of the non-commercial ones as proposed in [19] or [4] appraise only a smallsubset of the test tools/frameworks available. These works concentrate on a detailed evaluation of products offered by the market leaders requiring extensive evaluation(installation and use) of the test tools. In contrast, we focus on more coarse-grainedcriteria enabling an effective pre-selection for users. Furthermore, our approach doesnot restrict the tools to be evaluated to a minimal set determined by the market leadersso that a wide range of test tools can be considered. The criteria defined in the CAST-reports are not available to us. Overview. The reminder of this paper is organized as follows. Section 2summarizes quality criteria for test tools. In section 3 we analyze the test process froma task oriented view and define activities performed during the test process. Section 4summarizes the functional criteria derived from the activities identified in section 3.Section 5 then summarizes the result of an exemplary tool evaluation and section 6 concludes the paper and presents our intended future work.2 Quality Criteria for Testing Tools For specifying quality criteria for testing tools, we used the ISO/IEC 9126 standard [10]. The ISO/IEC standard defines a framework for the evaluation of software quality, proposing a hierarchical model, which consists of six characteristics and corresponding sub characteristics for software product quality. Furthermore we supplemented these characteristics by criteria related to vendor qualificationsproposed in [4]. These criteria consider the following additional aspects: general vendor qualifications, vendor support, licensing and pricing. Subsequently, wesummarize the quality evaluation criteria we determined this way. The criteria Q1-Q6represent the characteristics and sub-characteristics of the ISO/IEC 9126 standard, the criteria Q7-Q9 represent the criteria related to vendor qualifications. A refinement ofthese criteria can be found in [9] and [3]. Q1 Functionality suitability, accurateness, interoperability, compliance, security(1-5)Q2 Reliability maturity, fault tolerance, recoverability (6-8)Q3 Usability understandability, learnability, operability (9-11)
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Criteria for Software Testing Tool Evaluation – A Task Oriented View 3 Q4 Efficiencytime behavior, resource behavior (12-13)Q5 Maintainability analyzability, changeability, stability, testability (14-17)Q6 Portability adaptability, installability, conformance, replaceability (18-21) Q7 General vendor qualifications22 maturity of the vendor, market share, financial stability Q8 Vendor support23 warranty, maintenance and upgrade policy 24 regularity of upgrades, defect list with each release 25 compatibility of upgrades with previous releases 26 e-mail support, phone support, user groups 27 availability of training, recommended training time, price Q9 Licensing and pricing 28 open source or commercial29 licensing used, rigidity (floating node-locking license) 30 price consistent with estimated price range 31 price consistent with comparable vendor products 3 The Test Process: A Task Oriented ViewWe now consider functional criteria for testing tools. For this reason we analysed thetest process. While the criteria proposed by Poston and Sexton [18] focus onorganisational issues and the recommended functional criteria are coarse grained, our work aims at proceeding in a more general way by considering the whole test processso that we can derive more detailed and more test specific criteria. For a more abstractview on the test process we applied therefore the TORE (Task and Object-oriented Requirements Engineering) methodology proposed by Paech and Kohler in [16]. This methodology was designed to give guidance to the specification of user requirementson different abstraction levels. In the context of this work the task and the domain level are relevant. At task level, the most abstract of the four levels, user tasks andcorresponding roles are identified and specified. These tasks are then refined byfurther activities at domain level. We applied the TORE methodology to identify tasks and roles involved in the testprocess. Tasks are typically identified by analysing the current work of roles involvedinto the process and emphasis on the work context of these roles [16]. We identified the tasks by analyzing test process descriptions mentioned in standard textbooks suchas Spillner [20, 17] and Mosley and Posey [14]. The basis of our work is the fundamental test process described in [20] consisting of planning, specification, testexecution, capturing and analysing test results. We then detailed these tasks according to [14], resulting in a more precise view of the tasks concerning test design and testexecution. Finally we added tasks continuously performed during the whole test process concerning the tracking of defects and the management of the test ware asmentioned in [17]. Test ware includes all artifacts such as test specifications, test scripts and test data, developed during the test process [17]. In a further step werefined these tasks by activities. Table 3 summarizes the main tasks and the corresponding roles involved in the test process we identified in this step.
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4 T.Illes, A.Herrmann, B. Paech, J. Rückert Table 1. Tasks and roles involved in the test process. ID Tasks Role(s) A Test planning and monitoringTest manager B Designing Test Cases Test designer C Constructing Test Cases Test automator, test designer D Executing test cases Tester E Capturing and comparing test results Tester F Reporting test results Tester GTracking Software problem reports/defectsTester, test manager, developer H Managing the test ware Test configuration manager, testadministrator Subsequently we present refining activities performed during the correspondingtask.A: Test planning and monitoring. Considering that testing activities represent 30– 40 % of all activities in the software life cycle [21], it is critical to plan and begintest activities as early as possible. As testing activities are complex, a sound planning and monitoring of testing activities is crucial to the success of the project. Thus, keyactivities of test planning include the tailoring of the organizational test process to the requirements of the current project, identifying the constraints of the current project1, identifying the test strategy, prioritizing test activities, assessing risks, scheduling,identifying staffing and training needs, defining metrics to monitor the progress of testactivities, defining pass/fail criteria. Key activities in project monitoring include collecting metrics, project tracking and adapting the test plan according to the currentcircumstances. Beside these activities a coordination of the interface to other processes in the software development life cycle is necessary. B: Designing Test Cases.2Key activities of designing test cases are to choose test techniques based on the defined test strategy, to identify test conditions, to derive anddocument logical test cases, and to identify the layout of the test data for logical tests.The design of test cases includes both, test cases for testing functional requirements (the “what”) but also quality aspects (the “how”) of the system under test (SUT). The ISO/IEC standard [10] proposes a framework for characterising quality aspects for software. C: Constructing Test Cases. Key activities of constructing test cases include the implementation of test cases by defining concrete test cases and test data. In case of test automation test scripts are developed. A test script can realize requiredpreconditions, the execution steps and set-up and clear-down facilities. Additionally, test scripts can implement generation procedures for test data and expected outcomes. D: Executing Test Cases. The test cases designed and constructed in the phasesbefore must be executed. These activities can be done manually (by executing the1Constraints can concern e.g. programming paradigm, specific application characteristics suchas web application, etc. 2A test case specification should include the test items, input specifications, output specifications, environmental needs, special procedural requirements and inter-case dependencies [7].
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Criteria for Software Testing Tool Evaluation – A Task Oriented View 5 defined steps of the test case) or automated by running the test script. A semi-automated execution of the test scripts is also possible. E: Capturing and comparing test results. Key activities of this task include the documentation of the executed test steps and outcomes and the verification of the testresults by comparing expected and actual outcomes.F: Reporting test results. Reporting activities aim at aggregating test informationon different detail levels in a comprehensible and reproducible manner: Test reports document test results and their analysis [14]. Therefore, reports should have acustomizable degree of detail with respect to the intended audience (managers, customer, and developers) G: Tracking Software problem reports/defects. The key activities of this task concern a problem’s or defect’s traceability during their lifecycle. This lifecycleincludes the recording and classifying of a defect/problem, the monitoring of theprogress on corrective activities, the prioritization of defects to decide whether corrective actions should be started and regression testing activities of correcteddefects. According to this, a defect passes through various states (new, opened, denied, analysing, correcting, testing, closed, flop) during its life cycle [20]. H: Managing the test ware. Key activities of this task include the management ofthe test ware (versioning, storage, sharing, …), providing traceability between theelements of the test ware (requirements, logical test cases, concrete test cases, test data files, …), tracing modifications on a test object and communicating changes, andcreating “snapshots” of the test ware at the end of a test cycle in order to conserve theresults of a test cycle for regression testing.4 Deriving Functional Criteria for Test Tools Based on the activities identified using the TORE methodology, we derived evaluation criteria for test tools. We identified those activities performed in the tasks described in section 3 that could be potentially supported, respectively automated by atest automation tool. The resulting criteria are designed in such a way, that they can be evaluated by “yes” or “no” to enable an efficient evaluation of a variety of test tools. For a more fine-grained classification, a scaled rating could be chosen (e.g. for a specific criteria the following scale is conceivable to express to what extent afeature provided by the particular tool supports the criteria: 0 – not supported, 1 – semi-automated, 2 – automated). Subsequently we list the functional criteria grouped by the tasks described in section 3. A: Test planning and monitoring. Test tool provides support for:1. customization of the organizational test process 2. particular programming paradigms3and/or languages, operating systems, browser, network configuration3. application specific characteristics, which require specific testing techniques44. testing special application domain (e.g. avionics, automotive, etc.) 3E.g. component-based, imperative, model-driven, etc. 4E.g. web-based, GUI testing, real-time testing, database testing, protocol conformance testing.
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6 T.Illes, A.Herrmann, B. Paech, J. Rückert 5. planning of the test process (scheduling, project tracking, risk management) 6. monitoring test activities • by tracking of the estimated and actual time/test case • by providing coverage metrics to measure the progress of testing activities • by providing metrics from different sources (e.g. requirements, test cases) 6. integration with other tools5B: Designing Test Cases. Test tool provides support for:7. designing test cases for the required test level (unit, integration, system) 8. selecting the test techniques 9. defining test conditions derived from the defined test techniques 10. defining templates for structuring the information specifying test cases11. generation of logical test cases from semi-formal models6? 12. generation of logical test cases from formal specifications (e.g. Z) 13. generation/derivation of test data layout714. optimizing the test case set815. designing test cases to test quality criteria of the application916. restricting the test case set (e.g. ranking by prioritisation of the test cases, risks assigned to test cases) in case of deadline constraintsC: Constructing Test Cases. Test tool provides support for:17. editing test scripts 18. developing of test code conforming with accepted software engineering practices1019. capturing of executable test cases 20. generation of concrete test cases from (semi-)formal models621. generation of (in)valid test data1122. generation of stubs, test drivers, mock objects, 23. simulating missing faulty system components D: Executing Test Cases. Test tool provides support for:24. setting-up and clearing-down of the test environment/pre condition and respectively the post conditions for a set of test cases 25. roll-back to initial in case of unexpected errors 26. execution of captured, captured & edited or manually implemented test casesfor functional testing.27. execution of captured test cases for testing quality criteria125e.g. with other testing tools, project management tools, requirement management tools, etc.6E.g. UML scenarios, UML state charts, UML sequence diagrams. 7E.g. template-based/code based/interface based/specification based/database-based (schemadefinitions)/using results of former test cycles. 8E.g. minimizing test cases by concurrently maximizing coverage of requirements.9A possible set of quality criteria is defined by the ISO/IEC 9126 standard as described insection 2. 10E.g. modularisation of the code, comments, declaration of variables and data types; parameter passing; separation of test data and definition of the course of events. 11E.g. code based; interface based; specification based; from databases (live data information, schema information), randomly, rule-based. 12By performing static analysis e.g. checking conformance of the source code to style guidesor by performing dynamic analysis e.g. performance testing or load testing
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Criteria for Software Testing Tool Evaluation – A Task Oriented View 7 28. stopping and continuation of the execution of a suspended test case E: Capturing and comparing test results. Test tool provides support for:29. logging information on executed test cases1330. comparison facilities between specified and actual outcomes F: Reporting test results. Test tool provides support for:31. aggregation of logged test results 32. customizable, role specific amount of information G: Tracking Software problem reports/defects. Test tool provides support for:33. specifying problem reports/defects by using predefined templates 34. generating entries for recorded defects 35. prioritizing defects 36. tracking change requests/defects and their current status 37. generating statistical information 38. for regression testing 14H: Managing the test ware. Test tool provides support for:39. management of the test ware 1540. traceability between the elements of the test ware1641. by tracing modifications on a test object and communicating changes 42. the maintenance of the test data, of the test cases 43. for automated tests to be (re)used for regression testing/in other projects 44. snapshot facilities (by freeze a special state of the test ware) 5 Applying the Evaluation Criteria In order to evaluate the applicability of the derived criteria, we exemplary analysedand compared three capture and replay tools. The capture and replay approach isprimarily applied to regression tests of web and GUI-based applications. Capture andreplay tools are similar in their mode of operation consisting of four steps as described in [8] and [12]: (1) Capture mode, where all manual user interactions on the test object are captured; (2) Programming, where the captured interactions aremapped to a test script, (3) Checkpoints, where additional checkpoints are added tothe test script, (4) Replay-mode, where captured scripts can be replayed. In step 4 results from former tests and current results are compared. In case they differ, the test fails. The test also fails if defined checkpoints are violated. The three tools we evaluated are: WinRunner [13], Rational Robot [6], and HTTrace [11]. WinRunner is distributed by Mercury. This tool is about the marketleader (54% of the market in test tools). Rational Robot is distributed by IBM and holds 17% of the market in test tools. HTTrace is not a commercial product, butdeveloped for internal use for the company i-TV-T. We analyzed HTTrace because of its scientific relevance. Basis of our evaluation was the documentation provided by13E.g. executed steps, outcomes and exceptions but also memory/resource usage, network load, code coverage information. 14Ee.g. by identifying test case set to be re-executed for regression testing 15E.g. versioning, storage, sharing, and authorisation facilities.16E.g. requirements, logical test cases, concrete test cases, test data files, outcomes, etc.
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8 T.Illes, A.Herrmann, B. Paech, J. Rückert the vendors on their web site. Additionally, we got feedback from Mercury and i-TV-T regarding our evaluation. Subsequently we present a brief summary of the evaluation results. A detailed report can be read in [5]. A: Test planning and monitoring. The evaluated tools do not focus on supporting test planning and monitoring activities. 17B: Designing test cases. Since the design of test cases does not represent a keyfeature of the evaluated test tools, most of these functions e.g. guidance in selectingtest techniques/defining test conditions, derivation/generation of test cases or test data are not supported. For testing quality criteria of the SUT HTTrace providesperformance tests. For stress tests an additional component, HTBlast, can beintegrated. For WinRunner and Rational Robot, the additionally components Load Runner and TestDirector respectively Rational Performance Tester must beintegrated for both, performance and stress test. Usability testing is not provided byany of the vendors. C: Constructing test cases. Constructing test cases by capturing user interactionrepresents one of the key features of the tools where captured scripts can be manuallyedited. Expected outcomes are defined by outcomes in previous test runs. In case ofregression testing current and previous outcomes are compared in order to decide ifthe test failed or passed. None of the tools supports the generation of test data (valid,invalid) or the generation of stubs or test drivers.D. Executing test cases. All tools support the execution of test cases by runningthe captured/implemented test scripts. The separation of test data and test scriptallows scripts to be parameterized by different test data. Both, WinRunner but alsoRational Robot provide this facility, HTTrace does not offer a solution for this problem.E. Capturing and comparing results. Logging of outcomes occurs in a separate file. Each tool allows comparison of expected (defined by previous test runs) and actual outcome. F: Reporting test results. Reporting features can be added to each tool byintegrating additionally components.18G. Tracking software problem reports/defects. Reporting features can be addedby integrating additionally components19H. Managing the test ware. WinRunner provides tracebility of test cases torequirements by integrating the additional component TestDirector, and by RationalRobot by integrating TestManager. HTTrace provides rudimentarily this facility. Rational Robot provides a Recovery Manager for a programmable handling forexceptions in the SUT. WinRunner and HTTrace allow the SUT to be restarted after acrash. 17The integration of additional components like TestDirector provided by Mercury andRational Test Manager, Rational Administrator or Rational Team Unifying Plattformprovided by Rational support project planning and monitoring facilities. For HTTrace noadditional components supporting project planning are available.19WinRunner can be extended by TestDirector, Rational Robot by Rational ClearQuest, Rational Team Unifying Plattform or Unified Change Management and HTTrace by Scarab or Tracilla in order to provide defect tracking facilities. These additional componentsprovide workflow support for automatic notification of changes to the state of a defect.
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Criteria for Software Testing Tool Evaluation – A Task Oriented View 9 Summary. Key features of all three test tools are the construction of test cases by capturing and subsequently editing the test scripts and the execution of the recordedtest scripts. Comparing previous and current outcomes regression tests can beefficiently performed. By integrating additional components, WinRunner and Rational Robot can be extended to provide test planning and monitoring as well as defect and reporting facilities. HTTrace’s strength lies on testing database applications by allowing the reset of consistent database states. Additionally, all three tools can be extended to provide support for testing quality attributes of the systemunder test e.g. performance. By evaluating these tools we could identify supplementary criteria specific totesting web applications by the capture and replay technique: Object recognition (e.g. HTML-tables, frames, links, etc.), repository for managing objects, mapping of non standard objects to standard objects (e.g. checkboxes, buttons, etc.), masking facilitiesfor particular areas on the screen, support for comparing images, OCR (opticalcharacter recognition) to extract text from images, etc. A complete list of criteria, specific to web testing and a detailed evaluation of the test tools can be found in [5]. 6 Conclusion and Future Work Applying the TORE methodology to the test process with the objective of derivingcriteria for test tools proved to give a useful set of classification and selection criteria.The comparison of three capture & replay tools showed that the defined criteria areeffectively applicable to the evaluation of test tools based on vendor’s documentation. The evaluation revealed the basic differences between the test tools. Additionally, our criteria helped to derive criteria specific to a particular test technique, capture & replay in this case. The evaluation criteria derived in our approach can be used for diverse purposes. At first, our criteria allow a pre-selection of test tools according to (coarse) initial requirements. Considering that a detailed evaluation is very time-consuming, anefficient pre-selection is crucial. Applying our criteria, such a pre-selection can becarried out effectively on the basis of vendor’s information. Certainly, a definitive decision for using a special tool can only be made by a detailed investigation of thetools which passed the pre-selection process. Then, the evaluation criteria can beapplied for conducting a survey on commonly used products and to derive the state ofthe art in testing tools as well as to identify gaps in the market and scientific challenges. Additionally, the proposed criteria can be used as a framework for classifying research results in the area of testing, especially in test automation.Our future research focuses on providing a survey on test tools using our criteria toclassify commercial and open source tools. Additionally, we aim at refining our criteria for testing activities specific to particular applications (e.g. object orientedtesting, component based testing, GUI testing, etc.).

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