Towards Automatic Functional Test Execution

As applications are developed, functional tests ensure they continue to function as expected. Nowadays, functional testing is mostly done manually, with human testers verifying a system’s functionality themselves, following hand-written instructions. While there exist tools supporting functional test automation, in practice they are hard to use, require programming skills, and do not provide good support for test maintenance. In this paper, we take an alternative approach: we semi-automatically convert hand-written instructions into automated tests. Our approach consists of two stages: first, employing machine learning and natural language processing to compute an intermediate representation from test steps; and second, interactively disambiguating that representation to create a fully automated test. These two stages comprise a complete system for converting hand-written functional tests into automated tests. We also present a quantitative study analyzing the effectiveness of our approach. Our results show that 70% of manual test steps can be automatically converted to automated test steps with no user intervention.

By: Pablo Pedemonte; Jalal Mahmud; Tessa Lau

Published in: RJ10497 in 2012


This Research Report is available. This report has been submitted for publication outside of IBM and will probably be copyrighted if accepted for publication. It has been issued as a Research Report for early dissemination of its contents. In view of the transfer of copyright to the outside publisher, its distribution outside of IBM prior to publication should be limited to peer communications and specific requests. After outside publication, requests should be filled only by reprints or legally obtained copies of the article (e.g., payment of royalties). I have read and understand this notice and am a member of the scientific community outside or inside of IBM seeking a single copy only.


Questions about this service can be mailed to .