Direct-Dependency-based Software Compatibility Testing

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“Direct-Dependency-based Software Compatibility Testing” by Il-Chul Yoon, Alan Sussman. Atif M. Memon, and Adam Porter, in ASE '07: Proceedings of the 22nd IEEE international conference on Automated software engineering, (Washington, DC, USA), 2007.


Software compatibility testing is an important quality assurance task aimed at ensuring that component-based software systems build and/or execute properly across a broad range of usage scenarios or configurations. Because each system configuration can involve different components, each component can have multiple versions, and because there are complex and changing interdependencies between components and their versions, it is generally infeasible to test all potential system configurations. Therefore, compatibility testing usually means examining only a handful of default or popular configurations to detect problems. This virtually guarantees that the system will be released with nearly all of its possible configurations untested. As a result costly errors can and do escape to the field. This paper presents an improved approach to compatibility testing called RACHET. This approach formally models the configuration space of component-based systems and then uses this model to generate efficient test plans for covering user-specified entities in the configuration space -- the example in this paper involves covering all direct dependencies between components. We then use an automated process to rapidly execute the test plan in parallel across a grid of computers, distributing work so as to best use grid resources. We have conducted experiments and simulation studies, applying our approach to a large data management middleware system. These results showed that for this system RACHET discovered incompatibilities at a small fraction of the cost exhaustive testing without compromising test quality. They also expose key tradeoffs in the RACHET process that can be leveraged in future work to improve the approach.

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BibTeX entry:

   author = {Il-Chul Yoon and Alan Sussman and Atif M. Memon and Adam Porter},
   title = {Direct-Dependency-based Software Compatibility Testing},
   booktitle = {ASE '07: Proceedings of the 22nd IEEE international
	conference on Automated software engineering},
   publisher = {IEEE Computer Society},
   address = {Washington, DC, USA},
   year = {2007}

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