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Model-based testing using Spec Explorer 2007

With Microsoft TechEd happening this week, I thought it might make sense to look at some of the content being presented. For those who can’t attend the conference, Microsoft has provided TechEd Online, as series of “channels” where you can watch talks and interviews related to the conference. It’s on the Developer Tools, Technologies, and Practices channel that I found Grigori Melnik’s interview of Keith Stobie, a Test Architect at Microsoft, on Spec Explorer for Visual Studio.

If you’re not familiar with model-based testing, it’s a flavor of software testing where test cases are generated based on a model that describes various aspects of the application. By creating a model of the application and using that to generate various sequences of calls and their expected results, you can come up with a large amount of varied and complex test cases. These types of tests lend themselves to finding edge conditions, long-sequence errors, and issues related to application or system state.

Stobie, who will be giving two talks on this topic this week at TechEd, points out that model-based approaches can show design issues up front. In one of his talk he’ll describe how Microsoft used the Spec Explorer plug in for Visual Studio to verify over 50 of the Windows Protocols. His second talk builds on that to lay out how Spec Explorer can be used for both model exploration and for automatic test generation. Having spoken with Stobie on multiple occasions at peer workshops, I’m sure those talks will be worth the price of admission. I consider him one of the best minds in this space.

You can find Grigori’s interview of Keith on the Microsoft TechEd Online Developer Tools, Technologies, and Practices channel. For more on Spec Explorer for Visual Studio, check out Spec Explorer for Visual Studio by Su Llewellyn.

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