Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:


Automatic test procedures for apps on smartphones and tablets

For many so-called apps, developers and companies have not adequately ensured that the mini-programs are actually working the way they should.
Therefore, computer scientists at Saarland University developed software which tests apps for the Android operating system automatically. From March 5th at the computer expo Cebit in Hannover, the researchers will present how they discover failures even in popular and widespread apps by using their method. A robot arm will click itself through arbitrary apps to find their failures (hall 9, booth F34).

Every day, Google’s smartphone operating system Android is installed on more than 1.3 million mobile terminals. After that, countless mini-programs are added from the Google Play Store onto the smartphones. However, not every app is working at 100 percent.
"It's kind of sad that Google Play needs to have a ‘15 minute refund period’ due to the lack of quality control in their app store", a New Zealand developer already wrote last year on Twitter. An analyst even described Android as the “wild West of the apps”. The computer scientists in Saarbrücken want to bring law and order into this wilderness. “Unfortunately, apps are that complex that it's costly in terms of time and also very tough to detect most of the programming errors”, explains Konrad Jamrozik, doctoral candidate at the chair of Software Engineering at Saarland University in Saarbrücken.

In collaboration with his research colleague Florian Gross and professor Andreas Zeller, he developed software named “Droidmate” which tests Android apps automatically. “From now on, developers shall produce working apps with a maximum of guarantee and a minimum of effort by using Droidmate”, says Jamrozik. To achieve this, Droidmate simulates the user for the apps which need to be tested. It carries out all possible operation steps, including pressing of virtual keys, and even swiping over the touch-sensitive display is planned in the near future.
In doing so, Droidmate takes advantage of novel methods. Besides graphical user interface construction, genetic algorithms are also counted among those methods. “They work quite similarly to biological evolution. Many test cases are produced arbitrarily. In the next step, those which appear useful get selected. Now, the system modifies them a little and combines them with each other to create a new generation of user input”, explains Florian Gross. This generation and the following one also undergo a process of selection and new combination. By using a special optimizing technique, the researchers guarantee that every program code is tested as far as possible. Revealed failures are passed on to the developer.

In addition to the testing, Jamrozik discovers another application of Droidmate: to put a stop to apps that are spying on user data. Plus, it could be extended to define failure patterns in faulty apps and to continue to use them immediately for the testing of similar apps. "The ability to thoroughly explore interactions with an app can also serve as a basis for automatic generation of documentation of the application", explains Jamrozik.
The prototype already works for established apps with simplified algorithms. Now, the researchers are going to present them at the Cebit. They will be supported by a robot arm, which will operate apps on a tablet PC. But this is only a show for the expo visitors. The software doesn’t need an arm, just the particular app for the input.

Computer Science at Saarland University
The Computer Science Department is just one of several institutes on Saarland University’s campus devoted to research in computer science. In its direct vicinity are located the Max Planck Institute for Informatics, the Max Planck Institute for Software Systems, the Center for Bioinformatics, the Center for IT-Security, Privacy and Accountability, the recently renewed Cluster of Excellence “Multimodal Computing and Interaction”, the German Research Center for Artificial Intelligence (DFKI), and the Intel Visual Computing Institute.

For further information please contact:

Konrad Jamrozik
Chair for Software Engineering at Saarland University
Phone: +49 681 302-70978
Florian Gross
Chair for Engineering at Saarland University
Phone: +49 681 302-70143

Gordon Bolduan
Science Communication
Cluster of Excellence “Multimodal Computing and Interaction”
Phone: +49 681 302-70741
Cebit booth: +49 511 8949-7024

Friederike Meyer zu Tittingdorf | Universität des Saarlandes
Further information:

More articles from Trade Fair News:

nachricht Creating living spaces for people: The »Fraunhofer CityLaboratory« at BAU 2017
14.10.2016 | Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft

nachricht Reducing Weight through Laser-assisted Material Processing in Automobile Construction
13.10.2016 | Fraunhofer-Institut für Lasertechnik ILT

All articles from Trade Fair News >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: New 3-D wiring technique brings scalable quantum computers closer to reality

Researchers from the Institute for Quantum Computing (IQC) at the University of Waterloo led the development of a new extensible wiring technique capable of controlling superconducting quantum bits, representing a significant step towards to the realization of a scalable quantum computer.

"The quantum socket is a wiring method that uses three-dimensional wires based on spring-loaded pins to address individual qubits," said Jeremy Béjanin, a PhD...

Im Focus: Scientists develop a semiconductor nanocomposite material that moves in response to light

In a paper in Scientific Reports, a research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute describes a novel light-activated phenomenon that could become the basis for applications as diverse as microscopic robotic grippers and more efficient solar cells.

A research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) has developed a revolutionary, light-activated semiconductor nanocomposite material that can be used...

Im Focus: Diamonds aren't forever: Sandia, Harvard team create first quantum computer bridge

By forcefully embedding two silicon atoms in a diamond matrix, Sandia researchers have demonstrated for the first time on a single chip all the components needed to create a quantum bridge to link quantum computers together.

"People have already built small quantum computers," says Sandia researcher Ryan Camacho. "Maybe the first useful one won't be a single giant quantum computer...

Im Focus: New Products - Highlights of COMPAMED 2016

COMPAMED has become the leading international marketplace for suppliers of medical manufacturing. The trade fair, which takes place every November and is co-located to MEDICA in Dusseldorf, has been steadily growing over the past years and shows that medical technology remains a rapidly growing market.

In 2016, the joint pavilion by the IVAM Microtechnology Network, the Product Market “High-tech for Medical Devices”, will be located in Hall 8a again and will...

Im Focus: Ultra-thin ferroelectric material for next-generation electronics

'Ferroelectric' materials can switch between different states of electrical polarization in response to an external electric field. This flexibility means they show promise for many applications, for example in electronic devices and computer memory. Current ferroelectric materials are highly valued for their thermal and chemical stability and rapid electro-mechanical responses, but creating a material that is scalable down to the tiny sizes needed for technologies like silicon-based semiconductors (Si-based CMOS) has proven challenging.

Now, Hiroshi Funakubo and co-workers at the Tokyo Institute of Technology, in collaboration with researchers across Japan, have conducted experiments to...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>



Event News

#IC2S2: When Social Science meets Computer Science - GESIS will host the IC2S2 conference 2017

14.10.2016 | Event News

Agricultural Trade Developments and Potentials in Central Asia and the South Caucasus

14.10.2016 | Event News

World Health Summit – Day Three: A Call to Action

12.10.2016 | Event News

Latest News

Innovative technique for shaping light could solve bandwidth crunch

20.10.2016 | Physics and Astronomy

Finding the lightest superdeformed triaxial atomic nucleus

20.10.2016 | Physics and Astronomy

NASA's MAVEN mission observes ups and downs of water escape from Mars

20.10.2016 | Physics and Astronomy

More VideoLinks >>>