A Testing Framework for Executable Domain-Specific Languages

by Faezeh Khorram
DiverSE Coffee
Rennes, France


The continuous growth of software complexity raises the need for effective complexity management in the software development life cycle.

Model-Driven Engineering (MDE) is a development paradigm that meets this requirement by separating concerns through the application of models. A model is a specific abstraction of a system that can be defined by a Domain-Specific Language (DSL). A DSL with execution facilities, referred to as Executable DSL (xDSL), enriches the modeling quality by enabling the employment of dynamic Verification & Validation (V&V) techniques. Testing is the primary and the most prevalent dynamic V&V technique in the field of software engineering. While many testing frameworks exist for general-purpose programming languages, providing testing facilities for any given xDSL remains a costly and challenging task.

In this talk, I will present part of my contributions during my Ph.D. In particular, a generic testing framework for executable DSLs. Given an xDSL, the framework provides a testing language that supports the use of xDSL-specific concepts in the definition of test cases. This enables the xDSL’s users, namely the domain experts, to write test cases for their models. The written test cases can be executed on the models and the test results will be produced.

To further support the domain expert in efficiently testing models, the framework offers three supplementary services: (i) test quality measurement to ensure that the written test cases are good enough; (ii) test debugging to localize the fault of the model under test in case of test failure; and (iii) automatic test improvement to strengthen the ability of written test cases in detecting regression faults.

We provide tool support for the framework atop the Eclipse GEMOC Studio and evaluate its genericity through its application on several xDSLs of different application domains.