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Regression testing for large-scale embedded software development: Exploring the state of practice
Blekinge Institute of Technology, Faculty of Computing, Department of Software Engineering.ORCID iD: 0000-0001-8177-4355
Blekinge Institute of Technology, Faculty of Computing, Department of Software Engineering.
Blekinge Institute of Technology, Faculty of Computing, Department of Software Engineering.ORCID iD: 0000-0003-0639-4234
Blekinge Institute of Technology, Faculty of Computing, Department of Software Engineering.
2018 (English)Manuscript (preprint) (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Context: A majority of the regression testing techniques proposed by the research have not been adopted in industry. To increase adoption rates, we need to better understand the practitioners' perspectives on regression testing.

Objective: This study aims at exploring the regression testing state of practice in the large-scale embedded software development. The study has two objectives, 1) to highlight the potential challenges in practice, and 2) to identify the industry-relevant research areas regarding regression testing.

Method: We conducted a qualitative study in two large-scale embedded software development companies, where we carried out semi-structured interviews with representatives from five software testing teams. We did conduct the detailed review of the process documentation of the companies to complement/validate the findings of the interviews.

Results: Mostly, the practitioners run regression testing with a selected scope, the selection of scope depends upon the size, complexity, and location of the change. Test cases are prioritized on the basis of risk and critical functionality. The practitioners rely on their knowledge and experience for the decision making regarding selection and prioritization of test cases.The companies are using both automated and manual regression testing, and mainly they rely on in-house developed tools for test automation. The challenges identified in the companies are: time to test, information management, test suite maintenance, lack of communication, test selection/prioritization, lack of assessment, etc. The proposed improvements are in line with the identified challenges. Regression testing goals identified in this study are customer satisfaction, critical defect detection, confidence, effectiveness, efficiency, and controlled slip through of faults.

Conclusions: Considering the current state of practice and identified challenges we conclude that there is a need to reconsider the regression test strategy in the companies. Researchers need to analyze the industry perspective while proposing new regression testing techniques. The industry-academia collaboration projects would be a good platform in this regard.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2018.
Keywords [en]
Regression testing, practices, challenges, goals, multi-case study
National Category
Software Engineering
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:bth-17362OAI: oai:DiVA.org:bth-17362DiVA, id: diva2:1267005
Projects
EASE - Embedded Applications Software Engineering
Funder
VINNOVA, 2015-03235Available from: 2018-11-30 Created: 2018-11-30 Last updated: 2018-12-05Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. Regression Testing Challenges and Solutions: An Industry-Academia Perspective
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Regression Testing Challenges and Solutions: An Industry-Academia Perspective
2019 (English)Licentiate thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Background: Software quality assurance (QA) is an essential activity in the software development lifecycle. Among the different QA activities, regression testing is a challenging task for large-scale software development. Regression testing is a well-researched area, and a large number of techniques have been proposed to fulfill the needs of industry. Despite the extensive research, the adoption of proposed regression testing techniques in the industry is limited. Studies show that there is a visible gap between research and practice.

Objective: This work aims at reducing the gap between industry and academia in regression testing. To fulfill this aim we have the following objectives:

1) Understanding the practitioners' goals regarding regression testing.

2) Understanding the current state of regression testing practice and challenges in the industry.

3) Investigating the testing research applicable in an industrial context.

Method: We conducted multiple studies using different methods.

To explore the industry perspective on regression testing we used focus group and interview-based studies. To explore solutions from the literature, we used the systematic literature review and systematic mapping study.

Results: This thesis presents the practitioners' specific regression testing goals. The identified goals are confidence, controlled fault slippage, effectiveness, efficiency, and customer satisfaction. The challenges identified in the thesis are of two categories, 1) management related challenges and 2) technical challenges. Technical challenges relate to test suite maintenance, test case selection, test case prioritization, evaluation of regression testing.

We have mapped 26 empirically evaluated regression testing techniques to the context, effect, and information taxonomies, and provided a guide to the practitioners regarding the adoption of the techniques in an industrial setting. We have also classified 56 model-based test case generation techniques regarding their strengths/limitations, input/intermediate models used, and relevance to the industrial context.

Conclusions: The challenges identified in this study are not new for research and practice. There could be two reasons regarding the presence of recurring challenges: 1) regression testing techniques proposed in the literature do not fit the companies’ context, 2) or, companies are not aware of the availability of the techniques that could be suitable for their context. To support the adoption of existing research on regression testing in the industry, we have presented three taxonomies. These taxonomies, allow the characterization of regression testing techniques and enable to determine which of these techniques might be suitable in a given context. Furthermore, the identification of information needs for these techniques would be helpful to learn the implications regarding the cost of adoption. Regarding the support in test case generation, we conclude that current research on interaction model-based test case generation techniques did not illustrate the use of rigorous methodology, and currently, model-based test case generation techniques have low relevance for the industrial problems.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Karlskrona, Sweden: Blekinge Tekniska Högskola, 2019. p. 146
Series
Blekinge Institute of Technology Licentiate Dissertation Series, ISSN 1650-2140 ; 2
National Category
Software Engineering
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:bth-17381 (URN)978-91-7295-365-9 (ISBN)
Presentation
2019-01-08, J1650, Campus Gräsvik, Karlskrona, 14:00 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Funder
VINNOVA, 2015-03235
Available from: 2018-12-06 Created: 2018-12-05 Last updated: 2019-01-17Bibliographically approved

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Minhas, Nasir MehmoodPetersen, KaiBörstler, JürgenWnuk, Krzysztof

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