11/15/2010

Grammar-based Testing Revisited

I am about to leave for Southampton (this is from where the Titanic started) for a few days to visit Dr. Bernd Fischer, who also calls himself Fish. (Another fish that is!) The idea is to give a talk and have interaction on the topic of grammar-based testing. In fact, I don't tell you any secret, if I say that Bernd is the expert on code generation, and so I am keen to intensify collaboration on that topic as well.

The talk announcement follows.

Speaker: Ralf Lämmel, Software Languages Team, Universität Koblenz-Landau

Title: Grammar-based Testing Revisited

Slides: [.pdf]

Abstract: Testing grammar-based artifacts has been researched for decades. A classical and enduring motivation for such testing is that grammar-based functionality (such as an interpreter or a compiler) may be formally specified (e.g., by means of an attribute grammar) so that the specification lends itself to test-data generation. The test data, in turn, can be used to test a proper implementation for compliance with the specification. Yet other motivations arise, for example, in the context of DSL design, and, more generally, software language engineering.

Despite all such longstanding and recently renewed interests in grammar-based testing, there is no best practice; there are no standard tools. In this talk, I analyze the current, fragmented, insufficiently automated, predominantly ad-hoc approach. To this end, I survey testing approaches and use cases. Finally, I start infering requirements of a more general approach to grammar-based testing.

This is a good time for revisiting grammar-based testing because some categories of industrial users (e.g., compiler writers, who finally start to use parser generators in products) and several major research communities (such as those working on model-driven engineering and software language engineering) face the need for this sort of testing urgently. Also, there are less obviously related communities who touch upon grammar-based testing needs: think of the grammar-like structures in theorem proving, hardware design, and software-product lines.

Bio: Ralf Lämmel is Professor of Computer Science at University of Koblenz-Landau. In his career, he also served at Microsoft Corp., Free University of Amsterdam, Dutch Center for Mathematics and Computer Science (CWI), and University of Rostock. Ralf Lämmel's speciality is "software language engineering" but he is generally interested in themes that combine software engineering and programming languages. Ralf Lämmel is one of the founding fathers of the international summer school series GTTSE-Generative and Transformational Techniques on Software Engineering and the SLE conference (Software Language
Engineering).

1 comment:

  1. This is totally new to me the "grammar-based testing"..anyways please keep sharing ..this was quite interesting!


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