Monday, May 16, 2005

Input Validation Testing: A Requirements-Driven, System Level, Early Lifecycle Technique

Syntax-directed software accepts inputs from the user, constructed and arranged properly, that control the execution of the application. Input validation testing chooses test data that attempt to show the presence or absence of specific faults pertaining to input tolerance. A large amount of syntax-directed software currently exists and will continue to be developed that should be subjected to input validation testing. System level testing techniques that currently address this area are not well developed or formalized. There is a lack of system level testing formal research and accordingly a lack of formal, standard criteria, general purpose techniques, and tools. Systems are large (size and domain) so unit testing techniques have had limited applicability. Input validation testing techniques have not been developed or automated to assist in static input syntax evaluation and test case generation. This paper addresses the problem of statically analyzing input command syntax as defined in interface and requirements specifications and then generating test cases for input validation testing. The IVT (Input Validation Testing) technique has been developed, a proof-of-concept tool (MICASA) has been implemented, and validation has been performed. Empirical validation on actual industrial software (for the Tomahawk Cruise Missile) shows that as compared with senior, experienced testers, MICASA found more requirement specification defects, generated test cases with higher syntactic coverage, and found additional defects. Additionally, the tool performed at significantly less cost.
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