Scalability Issues with Using FSMs to Test Web Applications

Elsevierís Information and Software Technology, 52(1):52-66, January 2010, DOI: 10.1016/j.infsof.2009.06.002.

Anneliese A. Andrews, Jeff Offutt, Curtis Dyreson, Christopher J. Mallery, Kshamta Jerath, and Roger Alexander


Web applications are fast becoming more widespread, larger, more interactive, and more essential to the international use of computers. It is well understood that web applications must be highly dependable, and as a field we are just now beginning to understand how to model and test Web applications. One straightforward technique is to model Web applications as finite state machines. However, large numbers of input fields, input choices and the ability to enter values in any order combine to create a state space explosion problem. This paper evaluates a solution that uses constraints on the inputs to reduce the number of transitions, thus compressing the FSM. The paper presents an analysis of the potential savings of the compression technique and reports actual savings from two case studies.

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