Monkey Testing Revisited: Using Automated Stress Testing

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Summary:
This paper describes what stress testing means, some of the benefits and weaknesses of automating stress testing, how the authors implemented automated stress testing, and the lessons learned from their experience using automated stress testing.

Have you ever thought about paying people off the street to come in and press buttons and turn knobs as a way of stress testing your user interfaces? We have joked about bringing our kids in and letting them do this. As impractical as this may be, we know that we need to test our code in a variety of ways to ensure that we have done our best to find defects before our customers do. Though this practice of manual stress testing is still being used, it has significant weaknesses. The primary weakness is once a problem is found; it is difficult or impossible to reproduce the defect because the tester was not following a pre-defined sequence of events.

This paper describes what stress testing means, what some of the benefits and weaknesses are of automating stress testing, how we implemented automated stress testing to augment other testing strategies, and what some of the lessons learned are with our experience of using automated stress testing. Our Graphical User Interface stress testing has been instrumental not only in finding problems within our software applications but also in the third party tool used to perform the stress testing.

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About the Authors

Perry Hunter  is a Software Quality Engineer with Tektronix Inc., living in Portland Oregon. He is a graduate (1987) of California’s Humboldt State University and has worked in software development and test in a variety of roles for approximately 15 years.

Praveen Hegde is a graduate of India’s Govt. BDT College; he holds a degree in Electronics & Communication Engineering. He has worked for the past 5 years within the areas of  Safety & Mission Critical Software Testing, GUI Testing, and Embedded Systems Testing.

Feng Liang graduated from ASU (Arizona State University, Tempe) in 1998 with his Master of Computer Science degree. He worked at Tektronix Inc. as Software Quality Engineer for the past 3 years. His responsibilities include automated testing and software process improvement.

Doug Reynolds is a Software Quality Engineer at Tektronix with the Instrument Business Unit. He has worked for Tektronix for the past 10 years. He is currently working on a Master of Computer Science and Engineering degree at Oregon Health & Science University (OHSU).

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