Symstra: A framework for generating object-oriented unit tests using symbolic execution

Tao Xie, Darko Marinov, Wolfram Schulte, David Notkin

Research output: Contribution to journalConference article


Object-oriented unit tests consist of sequences of method invocations. Behavior of an invocation depends on the method's arguments and the state of the receiver at the beginning of the invocation. Correspondingly, generating unit tests involves two tasks: generating method sequences that build relevant receiverobject states and generating relevant method arguments. This paper proposes Symstra, a framework that achieves both test generation tasks using symbolic execution of method sequences with symbolic arguments. The paper defines symbolic states of object-oriented programs and novel comparisons of states. Given a set of methods from the class under test and a bound on the length of sequences, Symstra systematically explores the object-state space of the class and prunes this exploration based on the state comparisons. Experimental results show that Symstra generates unit tests that achieve higher branch coverage faster than the existing test-generation techniques based on concrete method arguments.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)365-381
Number of pages17
JournalLecture Notes in Computer Science
StatePublished - Sep 19 2005
Event11th International Conference on Tools and Algorithms for the Construction and Analysis of Systems, TACAS 2005, held as part of the Joint European Conferences on Theory and Practice of Software, ETAPS 2005 - Edinburgh, United Kingdom
Duration: Apr 4 2005Apr 8 2005

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Theoretical Computer Science
  • Computer Science(all)

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