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Regression Test Selection for Java Software

Proceedings of the ACM Conference on Object-Oriented Programming, Systems, Languages, and Applications (OOPSLA 2001)

October 2001

M.J. Harrold, J. Jones, T. Li, D. Liang,
A. Orso, M. Pennings, S. Sinha, S. Spoon,
and A. Gujarathi


As software evolves during development and maintenance, regression testing is applied to modified versions of the software to provide confidence that the changed parts behave as intended and that the unchanged parts have not been adversely affected by the modifications. To reduce the cost of regression testing, test cases are selected from the test suite that was used to test the original version of the software---this process is called regression test selection. A safe regression-test-selection algorithm selects every test case in the test suite that may reveal a fault in the modified software. Safe regression-test-selection techniques can help to reduce the time required to perform regression testing because they select only a portion of the test suite for use in the testing but guarantee that the faults revealed by this subset will be the same as those revealed by running the entire test suite. This paper presents the first safe regression-test-selection technique that, based on the use of a suitable representation, handles the features of the Java language. Furthermore, unlike other safe regression test selection techniques, the presented technique also handles incomplete programs. The technique can thus be safely applied in the (very common) case of Java software that uses external libraries or components; the analysis of the external code is not required for the technique to select test cases for this kind of software. The paper also describes RETEST, a regression-test-selection system that implements our technique, and a set of empirical studies that demonstrate the potential savings that can be achieved using our technique. These studies show that, for the subjects we considered, the regression-test-selection algorithm can be effective in reducing the size of the test suite.

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