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Testing Tools, A Report on what is Commercially Available
Once an application has been developed, the developers must demonstrate that it performs the tasks for which it was designed accurately, reliably and with adequate performance. For this to be fulfilled extensive testing must be carried out and tools have been built to assist with this process. Developers have built different types of tool for addressing different aspects of the same general problem. The importance of proper testing to detect as many errors as feasibly possible has been driven by the increase of malicious or criminal intent on the part of developers that produce applications with functions that facilitate fraud or other criminal activity (an especial risk to the financial industry). This problem has been addressed by European Community Legislation, increasing the onus on software developers to show that they took all reasonable steps to ensure an application was free of defects and suitable for the purpose for which it was developed. Failure to do so could leave the developer liable to be sued by anyone have has incurred a loss in any business as a result of software collapse. The main types of tool that have resulted as a partial result of this are described below.
Testing Tool Categories
There are a large number of testing tools that are available, but they all work in very different ways. The main types of testing categories are described below.
Tools that analyse source code without executing test cases, but in deriving test cases for the software to be tested. There are three different types used in industry that are described below:
Code based testing tools accept source code as input and perform a number of analyses that result in the generation of test cases. This type of automated tool can broken down in to four further categories. The first are Code analysers that evaluate test modules automatically for proper syntax; statements are then highlighted where the syntax is wrong, if construction is error prone or if an item is undefined. The second category is Structure checkers where modules are submitted as input and a graph generated, depicting the hierarchy of modules and tools check for structural flaws, for example, determining the location of loops and branches and how they are used within the system. The third type are Data analysers which review data structures, data declarations and module interfaces, and notes improper linkage between modules, conflicting data definitions and illegal data usage. The final type are Sequence checkers where sequences of events are checked and marked if coded in wrong sequence.
Specialised testing languages enable a software engineer to write detailed test specifications that describe each test case and the logistics for its execution. An example of one of these languages is Prolog, that is specifically used for test case generation.
Requirements based testing tools isolate specific user requirements and suggest test cases (or classes of tests) that will exercise the requirements.
Tools that analyse source code during execution of test cases by interacting with a program as it is executing and checking the path coverage, test assertions about the value of specific variables and otherwise instrumenting the execution flow of the program. They can be either intrusive or non-intrusive. An intrusive tool changes the software to be tested by inserting extra instructions or ‘probes’ that perform the activities mentioned above. A non-intrusive tool uses a separate hardware processor that runs in parallel with the processor containing the program that is being tested.
Systems can be difficult to test because several parallel operations are being carried out concurrently, which is especially true for real-time systems. Therefore it is difficult to anticipate the conditions and generate representative test conditions. However, dynamic test tools can capture a state of events during the execution of a program and so are often called program monitors, because they watch and report the behaviour of the program. The functions of the monitor are to list the number of times a submodule is called or a line of code is executed. These statistics tell testers if the test cases have statement coverage. Another function is to report on whether a decision point has branched ... more
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While the isle of Cuba was initially discovered on October 27, 1492 during one
of Columbus first voyages, it wasnt actually claimed by Spain until the
sixteenth century. However, its tumultuous beginnings as a Spanish sugar
colony provides an insightful backdrop into the very essence of the countrys
political and economic unrest. From its early revolutionary days to the
insurrectional challenge of the Marxist-Leninist theories emerged the
totalitarian regime under Fidel Castro in present day Cuba. Cuban colonial
society was distinguished by the characteristics of colonial societies in
general, namely a stratified, inegalitarian class system; a poorly
differentiated agricultural economy; a dominant political class made up of
colonial officers, the clergy, and the military; an exclusionary and elitist
education system controlled by the clergy; and a pervasive religious system.1
Cubas agrarian monocultural character, economically dependant upon sugar
cultivation, production and export severely restricted its potential for growth
as a nation, thereby firmly implanting its newly sprouted roots firmly in the
trenches of poverty from the very beginning of the countrys existence. In
1868, Cuba entered in to The Ten Years War against Spain in a struggle for
independence, but to no avail. Ten years of bitter and destructive conflict
ensued, but the goal of independence was not achieved. Political divisions among
patriot forces, personal quarrels among rebel military leaders, and the failure
of the rebels to gain the backing of the United States, coupled with stiff
resistance from Spain and the Cubans inability to carry the war in earnest to
the western provinces, produced a military stalemate in the final stages.2 The
war had a devastating effect on an already weak economic and political
infrastructure. The defeat, however, did not hinder the resolution of the Cuban
proletariat for an independent nation. In the words of one author, The Cubans
ability to wage a costly, protracted struggle against Spain demonstrated that
proindependence sentiment was strong and could be manifested militarily. On the
other hand, before any effort to terminate Spanish control could succeed,
differences over slavery, political organization, leadership, and military
strategy had to be resolved. In short, the very inconclusiveness of the war left
a feeling that the Cubans could and would resume their struggle until their
legitimate political objectives of independence and sovereignty were attained.3
The years following the Ten Years War were harsh and austere. The
countryside, ravaged and desolate, bankrupted Spanish sugar interests in Cuba,
virtually destroying the industry. The Spanish owners sold out to North American
interests, a process accelerated by the final abolition of slavery in Cuba in
1886.4 The end of slavery, naturally, meant the end of free labor. The sugar
growers, therefore, began to import machinery from the United States.
Essentially, Cuba deferred its economic dependence from Spain directly to the
U.S. What became known as the American Sugar Refining Company supplied from
seventy to ninety percent of all sugar consumed by the United States, thus
mandating the direction of the Cuban agricultural industry and thereby
controlling its economy. Moreover, the United States interventionism in the
Cuban-Spanish war in 1898, motivated primarily by interests in the Cuban market,
led the surrender of the Spanish army directly to the United States, not Cuba.
This war later became known as the Spanish-American War. The leader and
organizer of the Cuban Revolutionary Party, Jose Martis, goal of true
independence was buried without honor in 1898.5 In the years from 1902 to 1959,
following the institution of the Platt Amendment, which was an amendment to the
Cuban constitution, that stated that the United States had the right to
intervene in Cuba at any time, a period which came to be termed the Pseudo
Republic ensued. In the words of General Wood: Of course, Cuba has been left
with little or no independence by the Platt Amendment...The Cuban Government
cannot enter into certain treaties without our consent, nor secure loans above
certain limits, and it must maintain the sanitary conditions that have been
indicated. With the control that we have over Cuba, a control which, without
doubt, will soon turn her into our possession, soon we will practically control
the sugar market in the world. I believe that it is a very desirable acquisition
for the United States. The island will gradually be Americanized, and in
the due course we will have one of the most rich and desirable possessions
existing in the entire world...6 The Great Depression however, had a immense
impact on United States holdings of the Cuban sugar industry. In the summer
and fall of 1920 when the price of sugar fell from twenty-two cents a pound to
three ... more
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