Software verification

Last updated

Software verification is a discipline of software engineering whose goal is to assure that software fully satisfies all the expected requirements.

Contents

Broad scope and classification

A broad definition of verification makes it equivalent to software testing. In that case, there are two fundamental approaches to verification:

Dynamic verification (Test, experimentation)

Dynamic verification is performed during the execution of software, and dynamically checks its behavior; it is commonly known as the Test phase. Verification is a Review Process. Depending on the scope of tests, we can categorize them in three families:

The aim of software dynamic verification is to find the errors introduced by an activity (for example, having a medical software to analyze bio-chemical data); or by the repetitive performance of one or more activities (such as a stress test for a web server, i.e. check if the current product of the activity is as correct as it was at the beginning of the activity).

Static verification (Analysis)

Static verification is the process of checking that software meets requirements by inspecting the code before it runs. For example:

Verification by Analysis - The analysis verification method applies to verification by investigation, mathematical calculations, logical evaluation, and calculations using classical textbook methods or accepted general use computer methods. Analysis includes sampling and correlating measured data and observed test results with calculated expected values to establish conformance with requirements.

Narrow scope

When it is defined more strictly, verification is equivalent only to static testing and it is intended to be applied to artifacts. And, validation (of the whole software product) would be equivalent to dynamic testing and intended to be applied to the running software product (not its artifacts, except requirements). Notice that requirements validation can be performed statically and dynamically (See artifact validation).

Comparison with validation

Software verification is often confused with software validation. The difference between verification and validation:

See also

Related Research Articles

Acceptance testing Test to determine if the requirements of a specification or contract are met

In engineering and its various subdisciplines, acceptance testing is a test conducted to determine if the requirements of a specification or contract are met. It may involve chemical tests, physical tests, or performance tests.

Static program analysis is the analysis of computer software that is performed without actually executing programs, in contrast with dynamic analysis, which is analysis performed on programs while they are executing. In most cases the analysis is performed on some version of the source code, and in the other cases, some form of the object code.

Software testing is an investigation conducted to provide stakeholders with information about the quality of the software product or service under test. Software testing can also provide an objective, independent view of the software to allow the business to appreciate and understand the risks of software implementation. Test techniques include the process of executing a program or application with the intent of finding failures, and verifying that the software product is fit for use.

Design by contract

Design by contract (DbC), also known as contract programming, programming by contract and design-by-contract programming, is an approach for designing software.

In computer science, specifically software engineering and hardware engineering, formal methods are a particular kind of mathematically rigorous techniques for the specification, development and verification of software and hardware systems. The use of formal methods for software and hardware design is motivated by the expectation that, as in other engineering disciplines, performing appropriate mathematical analysis can contribute to the reliability and robustness of a design.

In the context of hardware and software systems, formal verification is the act of proving or disproving the correctness of intended algorithms underlying a system with respect to a certain formal specification or property, using formal methods of mathematics.

In product development and process optimization, a requirement is a singular documented physical or functional need that a particular design, product or process aims to satisfy. It is commonly used in a formal sense in engineering design, including for example in systems engineering, software engineering, or enterprise engineering. It is a broad concept that could speak to any necessary function, attribute, capability, characteristic, or quality of a system for it to have value and utility to a customer, organization, internal user, or other stakeholder. Requirements can come with different levels of specificity; for example, a requirement specification or requirement "spec" refers to an explicit, highly objective/clear requirement to be satisfied by a material, design, product, or service.

In software project management, software testing, and software engineering, verification and validation (V&V) is the process of checking that a software system meets specifications and requirements so that it fulfills its intended purpose. It may also be referred to as software quality control. It is normally the responsibility of software testers as part of the software development lifecycle. In simple terms, software verification is: "Assuming we should build X, does our software achieve its goals without any bugs or gaps?" On the other hand, software validation is: "Was X what we should have built? Does X meet the high level requirements?"

V-Model

The V-model is a graphical representation of a systems development lifecycle. It is used to produce rigorous development lifecycle models and project management models. The V-model falls into three broad categories, the German V-Modell, a general testing model and the US government standard.

In the context of software engineering, software quality refers to two related but distinct notions:

A test plan is a document detailing the objectives, resources, and processes for a specific test for a software or hardware product. The plan typically contains a detailed understanding of the eventual workflow.

Functional testing is a quality assurance (QA) process and a type of black-box testing that bases its test cases on the specifications of the software component under test. Functions are tested by feeding them input and examining the output, and internal program structure is rarely considered. Functional testing is conducted to evaluate the compliance of a system or component with specified functional requirements. Functional testing usually describes what the system does.

Manual testing is the process of manually testing software for defects. It requires a tester to play the role of an end user whereby they use most of the application's features to ensure correct behavior. To guarantee completeness of testing, the tester often follows a written test plan that leads them through a set of important test cases.

V-Model (software development)

In software development, the V-model represents a development process that may be considered an extension of the waterfall model, and is an example of the more general V-model. Instead of moving down in a linear way, the process steps are bent upwards after the coding phase, to form the typical V shape. The V-Model demonstrates the relationships between each phase of the development life cycle and its associated phase of testing. The horizontal and vertical axes represents time or project completeness (left-to-right) and level of abstraction, respectively.

Verification and validation are independent procedures that are used together for checking that a product, service, or system meets requirements and specifications and that it fulfills its intended purpose. These are critical components of a quality management system such as ISO 9000. The words "verification" and "validation" are sometimes preceded with "independent", indicating that the verification and validation is to be performed by a disinterested third party. "Independent verification and validation" can be abbreviated as "IV&V".

In computing, aspect-oriented software development (AOSD) is a software development technology that seeks new modularizations of software systems in order to isolate secondary or supporting functions from the main program's business logic. AOSD allows multiple concerns to be expressed separately and automatically unified into working systems.

Software quality control is the set of procedures used by organizations to ensure that a software product will meet its quality goals at the best value to the customer, and to continually improve the organization’s ability to produce software products in the future.

The requirement for a system are the description of what the system should do, the service or services that it provides and the constraints on its operation. The IEEE Standard Glossary of Software Engineering Terminology defines a requirement as:

  1. A condition or capability needed by a user to solve a problem or achieve an objective.
  2. A condition or capability that must be met or possessed by a system or system component to satisfy a contract, standard, specification, or other formally imposed document.
  3. A documented representation of a condition or capability as in 1 or 2.

Polyspace is a static code analysis tool for large-scale analysis by abstract interpretation to detect, or prove the absence of, certain run-time errors in source code for the C, C++, and Ada programming languages. The tool also checks source code for adherence to appropriate code standards.

This article discusses a set of tactics useful in software testing. It is intended as a comprehensive list of tactical approaches to Software Quality Assurance (more widely colloquially known as Quality Assurance and general application of the test method.

References