Modeling and Testing Web-based Applications

ISE-TR-02-08, November 2002.

Ye Wu and Jeff Offutt


The Internet is quietly becoming the body of the business world, with web applications as the brains. This means that software faults in web applications have potentially disastrous consequences. Most work on web applications has been on making them more powerful, but relatively little has been done to ensure their quality. Important quality attributes for web applications include reliability, availability, interoperability and security. Web applications share some characteristics of client-server, distributed, and traditional programs, however there are a number of novel aspects of web applications. These include the fact that web applications are ``dynamic'', due to factors such as the frequent changes of the application requirement as well as dramatic changes of the web technologies, the fact that the roles of the clients and servers change dynamically, the heterogeneity of the hardware and software components, the extremely loose coupling and dynamic integration, and the ability of the user to directly affect the control of execution. In this paper, we first analyze the distinct features of web-based applications, and then define a generic analysis model that characterizes the typical behaviors of web-based applications independently of different technologies. Based on this analysis, a family of testing techniques is discussed to ensure different level of quality control of web applications under various situations.

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