Formal specification directed software testing

Pao Yue-kong Library Electronic Theses Database

Formal specification directed software testing


Author: Ho, Chi-yin
Title: Formal specification directed software testing
Degree: M.Sc.
Year: 1995
Subject: Z (Computer program language)
Computer software -- Testing
Hong Kong Polytechnic University -- Dissertations
Department: Multi-disciplinary Studies
Pages: v., 251 p. : ill. ; 30 cm
Language: English
InnoPac Record:
Abstract: In this dissertation, I proposed a formal specification directed software testing technique called Z Formal Specification Directed Software Testing (ZDST). The methodology being developed consists of specifying an application system in the formal specification language Z. From the specification, types, states and functions can be identified precisely. These entities are used to derive test cases for programs implementing the system specification. This leads to potential benefits over a natural language specification which is usually incomplete and informal for vigorous test case derivation. The technique based on ZDST is systematic but becomes ineffective if ZDST is applied manually to complicated and large systems. It is therefore decided to automate ZDST with a software testing tool. By employing the YACC and LEX tools under UNIX, I developed an automated software testing tool called Z Specification Test Data Generator (ZTG). ZTG is capable of generating test data automatically, based on a given Z specification. I have conducted three case studies to evaluate the practicability of ZDST and ZTG. Two of the studies are a payroll system and a triangle program, both are trivial but academically interesting problems. The third one is a cost estimation system which is a real life application in my work place (The Housing Department). Evaluation on these case studies reveals that there are limitations on the use of ZTG, especially on the enumeration of sets. However, ZTG performs quite satisfactorily when it is used in predicate-based testing. This leads to the conclusion that ZDST assisted by ZTG is a viable software testing method. Finally, future direction of formal specification directed software testing is explored.

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