Practical Fault Localization for Dynamic Web Applications

We leverage two existing techniques—combined concrete and symbolic execution, and the Tarantula algorithm for fault localization—to create a uniquely powerful method for finding and localizing faults. The method automatically discovers inputs required to exercise paths through a program, thus overcoming the limitation of many existing fault localization techniques that a test suite be available upfront. We show how the effectiveness of Tarantula can be improved significantly by utilizing a correlation between executed statements and the output that they produce, in combination with an oracle that detects where errors occur in the output. We implemented these ideas in Apollo, a tool for testing PHP applications, using an HTML validator as our oracle. When applied to a number of open-source PHP applications, Apollo found, and precisely localized a significant number of faults.

By: Shay Artzi; Julian Dolby; Frank Tip

Published in: RC24675 in 2008


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