Understanding Class-level Testability Through Dynamic Analysis
Tahir, A; MacDonell, SG; Buchan, J
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It is generally acknowledged that software testing is both challenging and time-consuming. Understanding the factors that may positively or negatively affect testing effort will point to possibilities for reducing this effort. Consequently there is a significant body of research that has investigated relationships between static code properties and testability. The work reported in this paper complements this body of research by providing an empirical evaluation of the degree of association between runtime properties and class-level testability in object-oriented (OO) systems. The motivation for the use of dynamic code properties comes from the success of such metrics in providing a more complete insight into the multiple dimensions of software quality. In particular, we investigate the potential relationships between the runtime characteristics of production code, represented by Dynamic Coupling and Key Classes, and internal class-level testability. Testability of a class is consider ed here at the level of unit tests and two different measures are used to characterise those unit tests. The selected measures relate to test scope and structure: one is intended to measure the unit test size, represented by test lines of code, and the other is designed to reflect the intended design, represented by the number of test cases. In this research we found that Dynamic Coupling and Key Classes have significant correlations with class-level testability measures. We therefore suggest that these properties could be used as indicators of class-level testability. These results enhance our current knowledge and should help researchers in the area to build on previous results regarding factors believed to be related to testability and testing. Our results should also benefit practitioners in future class testability planning and maintenance activities.