IEEE Transactions on Software Engineering 38 (4): 794-809 (2012)

DESSERT: a DividE-and-conquer methodology
for identifying categorieS, choiceS, and
choicE Relations for Test case generation

T.Y. Chen 2 , Pak-Lok Poon 3 , Sau-Fun Tang 2 , and T.H. Tse 4

[paper from IEEE Xplore | paper from IEEE digital library | technical report TR-2011-11]


This paper extends the CHOiCe reLATion framEwork, abbreviated as CHOCLATE, which assists software testers in the application of category/choice methods to testing. CHOCLATE assumes that the tester is able to construct a single choice relation table from the entire specification; this table then forms the basis for test case generation using the associated algorithms. This assumption, however, may not hold true when the specification is complex and contains many specification components. For such a specification, the tester may construct a preliminary choice relation table from each specification component, and then consolidate all the preliminary tables into a final table to be processed by CHOCLATE for test case generation. However, it is often difficult to merge these preliminary tables because such merging may give rise to inconsistencies among choice relations or overlaps among choices. To alleviate this problem, we introduce a DividE-and-conquer methodology for identifying categorieS, choiceS, and choicE Relations for Test case generation, abbreviated as DESSERT. The theoretical framework and the associated algorithms are discussed. To demonstrate the viability and effectiveness of our methodology, we describe case studies using the specifications of three real-life commercial software systems.

Keywords: Black-box testing, category-partition method, choice relation framework, choice relation table, software testing, test case generation

1. The work described in this paper was partially supported by the General Research Fund of the Research Grants Council of Hong Kong (project nos. 123206 and 717308), a Departmental General Research Fund of The Hong Kong Polytechnic University (project no. 1-ZV2H), and a grant of the Australian Research Council (ARC DP0880295).
2. Centre for Software Analysis and Testing, Swinburne University of Technology, Melbourne, Australia.
3. (Corresponding author.)
School of Accounting and Finance, The Hong Kong Polytechnic University, Hung Hom, Kowloon, Hong Kong.
4. Department of Computer Science, The University of Hong Kong, Pokfulam, Hong Kong.


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