Software Engineering-Loop Testing

Loops are the cornerstone for the vast majority of all algorithms implemented in software. And yet, we often pay them little heed while con...


Loops are the cornerstone for the vast majority of all algorithms implemented in software. And yet, we often pay them little heed while conducting software tests.

Loop testing is a white-box testing technique that focuses exclusively on the validity of loop constructs. Four different classes of loops can be defined: simple loops, concatenated loops, nested loops, and unstructured loops .

Simple loops. The following set of tests can be applied to simple loops, where n is the maximum number of allowable passes through the loop.
1. Skip the loop entirely.
2. Only one pass through the loop.
3. Two passes through the loop.
4. m passes through the loop where m < n.
5. n 1, n, n + 1 passes through the loop.

Nested loops. If we were to extend the test approach for simple loops to nested loops, the number of possible tests would grow geometrically as the level of nesting increases. This would result in an impractical number of tests. Beizer suggests an approach that will help to reduce the number of tests:
1. Start at the innermost loop. Set all other loops to minimum values.
2. Conduct simple loop tests for the innermost loop while holding the outer loops at their minimum iteration parameter (e.g., loop counter) values. Add other tests for out-of-range or excluded values.
3. Work outward, conducting tests for the next loop, but keeping all other outer loops at minimum values and other nested loops to "typical" values.
4. Continue until all loops have been tested. 
Concatenated loops. Concatenated loops can be tested using the approach defined for simple loops, if each of the loops is independent of the other. However, if two loops are concatenated and the loop counter for loop 1 is used as the initial value for loop 2, then the loops are not independent. When the loops are not independent, the approach applied to nested loops is recommended.

Unstructured loops. Whenever possible, this class of loops should be redesigned to reflect the use of the structured programming constructs
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