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Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Data flow testing is a white box testing technique - Explain?

A program is said to be in active state whenever there is some data flow in the program. Without having the data flowing around the whole program, it would not have been possible for the software systems or application to do any thing.

Hence, we conclude that data flow is an extremely important aspect of any program since it is what that keeps a program going on. This data flow also needs to be tested like any other aspect of the software system or application and therefore, this whole article is dedicated to the cause of the data flow testing.

What is Data Flow Testing?

- Data flow testing technique has been categorized under the white box testing techniques since the tester needs to have an in depth knowledge of the whole software system or application.

- Data flow testing cannot be carried out without a control flow graph since without that graph the data flow testing won’t be able to explore any of the unreasonable or unexpected things i.e., anomalies that can influence the data of the software system or application.

- Taking these anomalies in to consideration, it helps in defining the strategies for the selection of the test paths that play a great role in filling up the gaps between the branch testing or statement testing and the complete path testing.

- Data flow testing implements a whole lot of testing strategies chosen in the above mentioned way for exploring the events regarding the use of the data that occurs in a sequential way.

- It is a way determining that whether or not every data object has been initialized before it used and whether or not all the data objects are used at least once during the execution of the program.

Classification of Data types
The data objects have been classified in to various types based up on their use:

- Defined, created and initialized data objects denoted by d.
- Killed, undefined and released data objects denoted by k.
- Used data objects in predicates, calculations etc, denoted by u.

Critical Elements for Data Flow Testing

- The critical elements for the data flow testing are the arrays and the pointers.

- These elements should not be under estimated since they may fail to include some DU pairs and also they should not be over estimated since then unfeasible test obligations might be introduced.

- The under estimation is preferable over the over estimation since over estimation is causes more expense to the organization.

- Data flow testing is also aimed at distinguishing between the important and not so important paths.

- During the data flow testing many a times pragmatic compromises are needed to make since there exist so many unpredictable properties and exponential blow up of the paths.

Anomaly Detection under Data Flow Testing

There are various types of anomaly detection that are carried under the data flow testing:

1. Static anomaly detection
This analysis is carried out on the source code of the software program without the actual execution.

2. Dynamic anomaly detection
This is just the opposite of the static testing i.e., it is carried out on a running program.

3. Anomaly detection via compilers
Such detection are possible due to the static analysis. Certain compilers like the optimizing compilers can even detect the dead variables. The static analysis itself is incapable of detecting the dead variables since they are unreachable and thus unsolvable in the general case.

Other factors:
There are several other factors that play a great role in the data flow testing and they are:
1. Data flow modelling based on control flow graph
2. Simple path segments
3. Loop free path segments
4. DU path segments
5. Def – use associations
6. Definition clear paths
7. Data flow testing strategies

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