Visualization of test information to assist fault localization


One of the most expensive and time-consuming components of the debugging process is locating the errors or faults. To locate faults, developers must identify statements involved in failures and select suspicious statements that might contain faults. This paper presents a new technique that uses visualization to assist with these tasks. The technique uses color to visually map the participation of each program statement in the outcome of the execution of the program with a test suite, consisting of both passed and failed test cases. Based on this visual mapping, a user can inspect the statements in the program, identify statements involved in failures, and locate potentially faulty statements. The paper also describes a prototype tool that implements our technique along with a set of empirical studies that use the tool for evaluation of the technique. The empirical studies show that, for the subject we studied, the technique can be effective in helping a user locate faults in a program.

Proceedings of the 24th International Conference on Software Engineering