Exploring the Presence of Technical Debt in Industrial GUI-based Testware: A Case Study
Paper in proceedings, 2016
Technical debt (TD) is a concept used to describe a sub-optimal solution of a software artifact that negatively affects its comprehensibility, extendability and maintainability. As such, TD adversely affects the costs or quality associated with the artifact, which is also called interest. TD has through research been identified in all types of software artifacts, from architectural design to automated tests (Testware). However, research into testware technical debt (TTD) is limited and primarily focused on testing on lower level of system abstraction, i.e. unit-and integration tests, leaving a need for more TTD research on GUI-based testing. In this study we explore this gap in knowledge through an industrial case study at a Swedish avionics software development company. Four repositories are studied for the presence of TTD using expert interviews, semi-automated document analysis and automatic metric analysis. Results of the study provide initial support that the concept of TTD is applicable to GUI-based testware and show the presence of both TD items unique to GUI-based testware and items common to software. The implications of these results are that engineering best practices must be established for GUI-based testware to minimize TD interest.
Industrial case study