Plan Generation for GUI Testing

Atif M. Memon, Martha E. Pollack, and Mary Lou Soffa

Graphical user interfaces (GUIs) have become nearly ubiquitous as a means of interacting with software systems. GUIs are typically highly complex pieces of software, and testing their correctness poses a large challenge. In this paper, we present a new approach to automatic testing of GUIs that builds on AI planning techniques. The motivating idea is that GUI test designers will often find it easier to specify typical goals that users of their software might have than to specify sequences of GUI actions that users might perform to achieve those goals. Thus we cast GUI testcase generation as an instance of plan generation: given a specification of initial and goal states for a GUI, a planner is used to generate sequences of GUI actions that lead from the initial state to the goal state. We describe our GUI testing system, PATHS (Planning Assisted Tester for grapHical user interface Systems), and we report on experiments using PATHS to generate test cases for Microsoft’s WordPad.

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