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Second USENIX Conference on Object-Oriented Technologies (COOTS), 1996

A Measure of Testing Effort

John D McGregor and Satyaprasad Srinivas
Dept. of Computer Science
Clemson University, Clemson, SC


Accurate estimates of the time and resources needed for a project are difficult to achieve. Numerous metrics have been proposed and a few have proved reliable in making these estimates. With the increased emphasis on quality and testing, estimates of the amount of effort required to test a product are a necessary part of any complete project estimate.

Estimates of the effort to test object-oriented components and systems are particularly important because these components are often added to repositories to be used many times. The amount of effort required to test the component is related to its complexity. We consider several measures of method and class complexity and relate them to testability.

The main focus of this research is to estimate the effort that is needed to test a class, as early as possible in the development process. We investigate the testability of a method in a class and indirectly estimate the effort that is needed to test a class. We define a concept termed the visibility component of a method. It is a measure of the accessibility of the information that must be inspected to evaluate the correctness of the execution of a method. We show that the testability of the method is a function of its visiblity component.

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