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Barriers to Systematic Model Transformation Testing

by Benoit Baudry, Sudipto Ghosh, Franck Fleurey, Robert France, Yves Le Traon, Jean-Marie Mottu
Abstract:
Model Driven Engineering (MDE) techniques support extensive use of models in order to manage the increasing complexity of software systems. Appropriate abstractions of software system elements can ease reasoning and understanding and thus limit the risk of errors in large systems. Automatic model transformations play a critical role in MDE since they automate complex, tedious, error-prone, and recurrent software development tasks. A fault in a transformation can introduce a fault in the transformed model, which if undetected and not removed, can propagate to other models in successive development steps. As a fault propagates further, it becomes more difficult to detect and isolate. Since model transformations are meant to be reused, faults present in them may result in many faulty models. Model transformations constitute a class of programs with unique characteristics that make testing them challenging. The complexity of input and output data, lack of model management tools, and the heterogeneity of transformation languages pose special problems to testers of transformations. In this paper we identify current model transformation characteristics that contribute to the difficulty of systematically testing transformations. We present promising solutions and propose possible ways to overcome these barriers.
Reference:
Barriers to Systematic Model Transformation Testing (Benoit Baudry, Sudipto Ghosh, Franck Fleurey, Robert France, Yves Le Traon, Jean-Marie Mottu), In Communications of the ACM, ACM, volume 53, 2010.
Bibtex Entry:
@article{Baudry09a,
	Abstract = {Model Driven Engineering (MDE) techniques support extensive use of
	models in order to manage the increasing complexity of software systems.
	Appropriate abstractions of software system elements can ease reasoning
	and understanding and thus limit the risk of errors in large systems.
	Automatic model transformations play a critical role in MDE since
	they automate complex, tedious, error-prone, and recurrent software
	development tasks. A fault in a transformation can introduce a fault
	in the transformed model, which if undetected and not removed, can
	propagate to other models in successive development steps. As a fault
	propagates further, it becomes more difficult to detect and isolate.
	Since model transformations are meant to be reused, faults present
	in them may result in many faulty models. Model transformations constitute
	a class of programs with unique characteristics that make testing
	them challenging. The complexity of input and output data, lack of
	model management tools, and the heterogeneity of transformation languages
	pose special problems to testers of transformations. In this paper
	we identify current model transformation characteristics that contribute
	to the difficulty of systematically testing transformations. We present
	promising solutions and propose possible ways to overcome these barriers.
	},
	keywords = {test, MDE, transformation, selected},
	Author = {Baudry, Benoit and Ghosh, Sudipto and Fleurey, Franck and France, Robert and Le Traon, Yves and Mottu, Jean-Marie},
	Journal = {Communications of the ACM},
	Number = {6},
	Publisher = {ACM},
	Title = {Barriers to Systematic Model Transformation Testing},
	Url = {http://www.irisa.fr/triskell/publis/2009/Baudry09a.pdf},
	Volume = {53},
	X-Editorial-Board = {yes},
	X-International-Audience = {yes},
	X-Language = {EN},
	Year = {2010},
	x-abbrv = {CACM},
}