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The Impact of Test Case Summaries on Bug Fixing Performance: An Empirical Investigation


Panichella, Sebastiano; Panichella, Annibale; Beller, Moritz; Zaidman, Andy; Gall, Harald (2016). The Impact of Test Case Summaries on Bug Fixing Performance: An Empirical Investigation. In: Proceedings of the International Conference on Software Engineering (ICSE), Austin, TX, USA, 14 May 2016 - 22 May 2016.

Abstract

Automated test generation tools have been widely investigated with the goal of reducing the cost of testing activities. However, generated tests have been shown not to help developers in detecting and finding more bugs even though they reach higher structural coverage compared to manual testing. The main reason is that generated tests are difficult to understand and maintain.
Our paper proposes an approach, coined TestDescriber, which automatically generates test case summaries of the portion of code exercised by each individual test, thereby improving understandability. We argue that this approach can complement the current techniques around automated unit test generation or search-based techniques designed to generate a possibly minimal set of test cases. In evaluating our approach we found that (1) developers find twice as many bugs, and (2) test case summaries significantly improve the comprehensibility of test cases, which is considered particularly useful by developers.

Abstract

Automated test generation tools have been widely investigated with the goal of reducing the cost of testing activities. However, generated tests have been shown not to help developers in detecting and finding more bugs even though they reach higher structural coverage compared to manual testing. The main reason is that generated tests are difficult to understand and maintain.
Our paper proposes an approach, coined TestDescriber, which automatically generates test case summaries of the portion of code exercised by each individual test, thereby improving understandability. We argue that this approach can complement the current techniques around automated unit test generation or search-based techniques designed to generate a possibly minimal set of test cases. In evaluating our approach we found that (1) developers find twice as many bugs, and (2) test case summaries significantly improve the comprehensibility of test cases, which is considered particularly useful by developers.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Conference or Workshop Item (Paper), refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:03 Faculty of Economics > Department of Informatics
Dewey Decimal Classification:000 Computer science, knowledge & systems
Language:English
Event End Date:22 May 2016
Deposited On:17 Feb 2016 13:28
Last Modified:31 Aug 2017 05:47
Publisher:IEEE
ISBN:978-1-4503-3900-1
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1145/2884781.2884847
Other Identification Number:merlin-id:13156

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