Virtual mutation analysis of relational database schemas

McMinn, Phil and Kapfhammer, Gregory M. and Wright, Chris J.

Proceedings of the 11th International Workshop on Automation of Software Test, 2016


Relational databases are a vital component of many modern software applications. Key to the definition of the database schema — which specifies what types of data will be stored in the database and the structure in which the data is to be organized — are integrity constraints. Integrity constraints are conditions that protect and preserve the consistency and validity of data in the database, preventing data values that violate their rules from being admitted into database tables. They encode logic about the application concerned, and like any other component of a software application, need to be properly tested. Mutation analysis is a technique that has been successfully applied to integrity constraint testing, seeding database schema faults of both omission and commission. Yet, as for traditional mutation analysis for program testing, it is costly to perform, since the test suite under analysis needs to be run against each individual mutant to establish whether or not it exposes the fault. One overhead incurred by database schema mutation is the cost of communicating with the database management system (DBMS). In this paper, we seek to eliminate this cost by performing mutation analysis virtually on a local model of the DBMS, rather than on an actual, running instance hosting a real database. We present an empirical evaluation of our virtual technique revealing that, across all of the studied DBMSs and schemas, the virtual method yields an average time saving of 51% over the baseline.








  author = {McMinn, Phil and Kapfhammer, Gregory M. and Wright, Chris J.},
  title = {Virtual mutation analysis of relational database schemas},
  booktitle = {Proceedings of the 11th International Workshop on Automation of Software Test},
  year = {2016},
  paper = {},
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  presented = {true}