COLLABORATIVE TESTING ACROSS SHARED SOFTWARE COMPONENTS
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Large component-based systems are often built from many of the same components. As individual component-based software systems are developed, tested and maintained, these shared components are repeatedly manipulated. As a result there are often significant overlaps and synergies across and among the different test efforts of different component-based systems. However, in practice, testers of different systems rarely collaborate, taking a test-all-by-yourself approach. As a result, redundant effort is spent testing common components, and important information that could be used to improve testing quality is lost. The goal of this research is to demonstrate that, if done properly, testers of shared software components can save effort by avoiding redundant work, and can improve the test effectiveness for each component as well as for each component-based software system by using information obtained when testing across multiple components. To achieve this goal I have developed collaborative testing techniques and tools for developers and testers of component-based systems with shared components, applied the techniques to subject systems, and evaluated the cost and effectiveness of applying the techniques. The dissertation research is organized in three parts. First, I investigated current testing practices for component-based software systems to find the testing overlap and synergy we conjectured exists. Second, I designed and implemented infrastructure and related tools to facilitate communication and data sharing between testers. Third, I designed two testing processes to implement different collaborative testing algorithms and applied them to large actively developed software systems. This dissertation has shown the benefits of collaborative testing across component developers who share their components. With collaborative testing, researchers can design algorithms and tools to support collaboration processes, achieve better efficiency in testing configurations, and discover inter-component compatibility faults within a minimal time window after they are introduced.