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 articlepeer-review


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.

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Theoretical Computer Science
  • General Computer Science


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