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Test Case Generation, UML, and Eclipse

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Benefits

To determine the benefits of AQUABUS and AGAPE thanks to the support of two projects (TIN2007-67843-C06-01 and TIN2005-24792-E funded by the Spanish Ministry of Science), we collected performance data from more than 100 project leaders, analysts, programmers, testers, teachers, consultants, and the like, based on the following:

  • We published on a web site a simple data management application for managing a DVD collection.
  • Participants tested it, recording the test cases they did.
  • Recorded test cases from the participants were compared with the set of test cases generated with AGAPE (AQUABUS).
  • Participants had access to the results of their tests and the comparison with the AGAPE test cases. They were asked to give their opinion via a questionnaire designed to analyze their evaluation, both of the method and the plug-in. They were also asked to give a priority mark to each test case according to their idea of importance for the software application.

Given that the system recorded tests proposed and time devoted to the task (mean time of 21 minutes), poor-quality results (short time, few test cases) were discarded, leaving only 72 valid test sets. Although we collected lots of interesting information, for the purposes of this article we highlighted the following results:

  • None of the participants included any test case or different scenario (path of activity diagram) that was not covered by the tests design generated by the algorithm.
  • Only one participant reached more than 75 percent of the total existing paths; more than 50 percent did not reach the 50 percent of the paths/scenarios. Test cases designed by 50 (70 percent) of the participants hardly surpassed the threshold of 25 percent of total scenarios.
  • Testers who used activity diagrams as reference designed 70 percent more test cases than those who did not.
  • Among the 10 most tested paths by all participants, only one (in eighth place) appears in the 10 top priority paths for them. Within the list of the 10 least tested paths, three of the top priority paths are included. Even more, at least 50 percent of the testing effort was dedicated to test something previously tested.
  • Regarding the usefulness of the method and plug-in, 77 percent of the testers said that AQUABUS would be really cost-effective for their organizations, although activity diagrams are needed as part of software specifications. Seventy percent of the participants believe the priority allocated to the different scenarios following the AQUABUS method would be cost-effective.

Conclusion

To encourage good practices for controlling software quality, developers clearly need integrated environments that take advantage of the cross relationships between analysis and modeling. Although existing tools support certain quality assurance activities, integration isn't always easy because of problems with communication between tools, or the lack of techniques to exploit models for quality control. However, standard notation like UML and open environments like Eclipse make possible useful tools that go one step further in making affordable and convincing implementations of software quality assurance techniques. The AGAPE plug-in lets you concentrate on requirements and models, and with a simple click lets you generate a whole set of test cases with a priority rank.


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