Generating Software Tests

Breaking Software for Fun and Profit

by Andreas Zeller, Rahul Gopinath, Marcel Böhme, Gordon Fraser, and Christian Holler

About this Book

Welcome to "Generating Software Tests"! Software has bugs, and catching bugs can involve lots of effort. This book addresses this problem by automating software testing, specifically by generating tests automatically. Recent years have seen the development of novel techniques that lead to dramatic improvements in test generation and software testing. They now are mature enough to be assembled in a book – even with executable code.

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A Textbook for Paper, Screen, and Keyboard

You can use this book in three ways:

Who this Book is for

This work is designed as a textbook for a course in software testing; as supplementary material in a software testing or software engineering course; and as a resource for software developers. We cover random fuzzing, mutation-based fuzzing, grammar-based test generation, symbolic testing, and much more, illustrating all techniques with code examples that you can try out yourself.

News

This book is work in progress, with new chapters coming out every week. To get notified when a new chapter comes out, follow us on Twitter.

About the Authors

This book is written by Andreas Zeller, Rahul Gopinath, Marcel Böhme, Gordon Fraser, and Christian Holler. All of us are long-standing experts in software testing and test generation; and we have written or contributed to some of the most important test generators and fuzzers on the planet. As an example, if you are reading this in a Firefox, Chrome, or Edge Web browser, you can do so safely partly because of us, as the very techniques listed in this book have found more than 2,600 bugs in their JavaScript interpreters so far. We are happy to share our expertise and making it accessible to the public.

Frequently Asked Questions

Troubleshooting

Why does it take so long to start an interactive notebook?

The interactive notebook uses the mybinder.org service, which runs notebooks on their own servers. Starting Jupyter through mybinder.org normally takes about 30 seconds, depending on your Internet connection. If, however, you are the first to invoke binder after a book update, binder recreates its environment, which will take a few minutes. Reload the page occasionally.

The interactive notebook does not work!

mybinder.org imposes a limit of 100 concurrent users for a repository. Also, as listed on the mybinder.org status and reliability page,

As mybinder.org is a research pilot project, the main goal for the project is to understand usage patterns and workloads for future project evolution. While we strive for site reliability and availability, we want our users to understand the intent of this service is research and we offer no guarantees of its performance in mission critical uses.

There are alternatives to mybinder.org; see below.

Do I have alternatives to the interactive notebook?

If mybinder.org does not work or match your needs, you have a number of alternatives:

  1. Download the Python code (using the menu at the top) and edit and run it in your favorite environment. This is easy to do and does not require lots of resources.

  2. Download the Jupyter Notebooks (using the menu at the top) and open them in Jupyter. Here's how to install jupyter notebook on your machine.

  3. If you want to use the book in a classroom, and depend on your users having access to the interactive notebooks, consider using or deploying a JupyterHub or BinderHub instance.

Can I run the code on my Windows machine?

We try to keep the code as general as possible, but occasionally, when we interact with the operating system, we assume a Unix-like environment (because that is what Binder provides). To run these examples on your own Windows machine, you can install a Linux VM or a Docker environment. Instructions on how to do this are welcome.

Can't you run your own dedicated cloud service?

Technically, yes; but this would cost money and effort, which we'd rather spend on the book at this point. If you'd like to host a JupyterHub or BinderHub instance for the public, please do so and let us know.

Content

Which content will be coming up?

The contents of this book will include topics such as:

  1. Introduction to Testing
  2. Basic Fuzzing
  3. Coverage
  4. Mutation-Based Fuzzing
  5. Fuzzing with Grammars
  6. Efficient Grammar Fuzzing
  7. Grammar Coverage
  8. Configuration Fuzzing
  9. Parsing and Mutating Inputs
  10. Probabilistic Testing
  11. Reducing Failure-Inducing Inputs
  12. Fuzzing Function Calls
  13. Fuzzing User Interfaces
  14. Search-Based Testing
  15. Symbolic Testing
  16. Mining Grammars
  17. Fuzzing and Invariants
  18. Protection and Repair

See the table of contents in the menu above for those chapters that are already done.

How do I cite your work?

Thanks for referring to our work! Once the book is complete, you will be able to cite it in the traditional way. In the meantime, just click on the "cite" button at the bottom of the Web page for each chapter to get a citation entry.

Can you cite my paper? And possibly write a chapter about it?

We're always happy to get suggestions! If we missed an important reference, we will of course add it. If you'd like specific material to be covered, the best way is to write a notebook yourself; see our Guide for Authors for instructions on coding and writing. We can then refer to it or even host it.

Teaching and Coursework

Can I use your material in my course?

Of course! Just respect the license (including attribution and share alike). If you want to use the material for commercial purposes, contact us.

Can I extend or adapt your material?

Yes! Again, please see the license for details.

How can I run a course based on the book?

We have successfully used the material in various courses.

  • Initially, we used the slides and code and did live coding in lectures to illustrate how a technique works.

  • Now, the goal of the book is to be completely self-contained; that is, it should work without additional support. Hence, we now give out completed chapters to students in a flipped classroom setting, with the students working on the notebooks at their leisure. We would meet in the classroom to discuss experiences with past notebooks and discuss future notebooks.

When running a course, do not rely on mybinder.org – it will not provide sufficient resources for a larger group of students. Instead, install and run your own hub.

How can I extend or adapt your slides?

Download the Jupyter Notebooks (using the menu at the top) and adapt the notebooks at your leisure (see above), including "Slide Type" settings. Then,

  1. Download slides from Jupyter Notebook; or
  2. Use the RISE extension (instructions) to present your slides right out of Jupyter notebook.

Do you provide PDFs of your material?

At this point, we do not provide support for PDF versions. We will be producing PDF and print versions once the book is complete.

Other Issues

I have a question, comment, or a suggestion. What do I do?

You can tweet to @fuzzingbook on Twitter, allowing the community of readers to chime in. For bugs you'd like to get fixed, report an issue on the development page.

I have reported an issue two weeks ago. When will it be addressed?

We prioritize issues as follows:

  1. Bugs in code published on fuzzingbook.org
  2. Bugs in text published on fuzzingbook.org
  3. Writing missing chapters
  4. Issues in yet unpublished code or text
  5. Issues related to development or construction
  6. Things marked as "beta"
  7. Everything else

How can I solve problems myself?

We're glad you ask that. The development page has all sources and some supplementary material. Pull requests that fix issues are very welcome.

How can I contribute?

Again, we're glad you're here! We are happy to accept

  • Code fixes and improvements. Please place any code under the MIT license such that we can easily include it.
  • Additional text, chapters, and notebooks on specialized topics. We plan to set up a special folder for third-party contributions.

See our Guide for Authors for instructions on coding and writing.

Creative Commons License The content of this project is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License. The source code that is part of the content, as well as the source code used to format and display that content is licensed under the MIT License. Last change: 2018-10-29 14:49:10+01:00CiteImprint