An approach for understanding and testing third-party software components

Haddox, Jennifer and Kapfhammer, Gregory M. and Michael, C.C.
Proceedings of the 48th Reliability and Maintainability Symposium, 2002


In this paper, we present an approach to mitigating software risk by understanding and testing third party, or commercial-off-the-shelf (COTS), software components. Our approach, based on the notion of software wrapping, gives system integrators an improved understanding of how a COTS component behaves within a particular system. Our approach to wrapping allows the data flowing into and out of the component at the public interface level to be intercepted. Using our wrapping approach, developers can apply testing techniques such as fault injection, data collection and assertion checking to components whose source code is unavailable.

We have created a methodology for using software wrapping in conjunction with data collection, fault injection, and assertion checking to test the interaction between a component and the rest of the application. The methodology seeks to identify locations in the program where the system’s interaction with COTS components could be problematic. Furthermore, we have developed a prototype that implements our methodology for Java applications. The goal of this process is to allow the developers to identify scenarios where the interaction between COTS software and the system could result in system failure. We believe that the technology we have developed is an important step towards easing the process of using COTS components in the building and maintenance of software systems.



Haddox, J., Kapfhammer, G. M., & Michael, C. C. (2002). An approach for understanding and testing third-party software components. Proceedings of the 48th Reliability and Maintainability Symposium.


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