UBC Theses and Dissertations

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UBC Theses and Dissertations

UI driven dynamic analysis and testing of web applications Yandrapally, Rahul Krishna


Modern web applications have evolved to become highly complex, interact-able software capable of replicating the functionalities of traditional software. The web application development itself evolved to present a variety of options in terms of development frameworks and programming languages available to the developers. This however, also leads to one of core challenges in web application testing, the heterogenous nature of web applications, which makes software testing techniques that rely on analyzing source-code ineffective. Instead, end-to-end UI testing is the preferred mode of ensuring the web applications do not contain faults or bugs. However, the web UI testing ecosystem has failed to evolve at a similar pace to web development but instead relies on human effort in practice, making web application testing a costly endeavour. The goal of this thesis is to enable automatic testing of web applications reducing reliance on human effort. First, we identified web page equivalence to be a core challenge faced by existing automatic UI test generation techniques, performed an empirical evaluation of ten existing state comparison techniques and identified the characteristics of modern web apps that render these techniques ineffective in generating optimal UI test suites. Thereafter, we designed a novel state comparison and test generation technique which treats a web page as a set of individual functionalities that can be represented in a hierarchy of fragments, helping us test modern web applications in an effective manner. Next, we designed the first universally applicable mutation analysis framework for web applications regardless of the back-end and front-end technologies they were built upon. It is capable of assessing the quality of a given UI test suite without even requiring the source-code of the web application. Finally, we tackle the challenge of enabling API testing universally for any web application. Our API testing framework exercises the UI to carve API test suites and generates API specification that would enable API testing for any given web application. We implement our techniques in open-source tools and evaluate them through a set of controlled experiments. The results show that our techniques succeeded in accomplishing the set research goals.

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