Theses Doctoral

Techniques for Efficient and Effective Mobile Testing

Hu, Gang

The booming mobile app market attracts a large number of developers. As a result, the competition is extremely tough. This fierce competition leads to high standards required for mobile apps, which mandates efficient and effective testing. Efficient testing requires little effort to use, while effective testing checks that the app under test behaves as expected. Manual testing is highly effective, but it is costly. Automatic testing should come to the rescue, but current automatic methods are either ineffective or inefficient. Methods using implicit specifications – for instance, “an app should not crash” for catching fail-stop errors – are ineffective because they cannot find semantic problems. Methods using explicit specifications such as test scripts are inefficient because they require huge developer effort to create and maintain specifications. In this thesis, we present our two approaches for solving these challenges. We first built the AppDoctor system which efficiently tests mobile apps. It quickly explores an app then slowly but accurately verifies the potential problems to identify bugs without introducing false positives. It uses dependencies discovered between actions to simplify its reports. Our second approach, implemented in the AppFlow system, leverages the ample opportunity of reusing test cases between apps to gain efficiency without losing effectiveness. It allows common UI elements to be used in test scripts then recognizes these UI elements in real apps using a machine learning approach. The system also allows tests to be specified in reusable pieces, and provides a system to synthesize complete test cases from these reusable pieces. It enables robust tests to be created and reused across apps in the same category. The combination of these two approaches enables a developer to quickly test an app on a great number of combinations of actions for fail-stop problems, and effortlessly and efficiently test the app on most common scenarios for semantic problems. This combination covers most of her test requirements and greatly reduces her burden in testing the app.


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More About This Work

Academic Units
Computer Science
Thesis Advisors
Yang, Junfeng
Ph.D., Columbia University
Published Here
July 28, 2018