Technical Report Number
Software, Theory of Computation
Writing unit test code is labor-intensive, hence it is often not done as an integral part of programming. However, unit testing is a practical approach to increasing the correctness and quality of software; for example, Extreme Programming relies on frequent unit testing. In this paper we present a new approach that makes writing unit tests easier. It uses a formal specification language's runtime assertion checker to decide whether methods are working correctly; thus code to decide whether tests pass or fail is automatically produced from specifications. Our tool combines this testing code with hand-written test data to execute tests. Therefore, instead of writing testing code, the programmer writes formal specifications (e.g., pre- and postconditions). This makes the programmer's task easier, because specifications are more concise and abstract than the equivalent test code, and hence more readable and maintainable. Furthermore, by using specifications in testing, specification errors are quickly discovered, so the specifications are more likely to provide useful documentation and inputs to other tools. In this paper we describe an implementation using the Java Modeling Language (JML) and the JUnit testing framework, but the approach could be easily implemented with other combinations of formal specification languages and unit testing tools.