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Home » Proposals » OSGi Enterprise Tools » Verify/detect errors in interactions between GUI elements(Formal analysis to identify interaction defects between views, pages, listeners, etc.)
Verify/detect errors in interactions between GUI elements [message #1842782] Thu, 01 July 2021 10:43
Steve Vestal is currently offline Steve VestalFriend
Messages: 37
Registered: March 2013
Perhaps someone can point me to existing work done in this area?

Complex GUIs involve multiple views, pages, listeners, etc. They interact with each other using listeners, events, actions, etc. Each has their own lifecycle. Although technically much is done by a single GUI thread, the overall flavor is co-routine behavior that can be as defect-prone as full concurrency.

The vague vision is to annotate views, pages, listeners, etc., to specify behavior of each as one or more abstract interacting state machines. The system of interacting state machine models would be submitted to a tool like NuSMV to identify defects by analysis rather than exhaustive testing. Because this is done in the context of a specific GUI framework (Eclipse in this case), seems like much of the specification for many components could be off-the-shelf for GUI developers. A model of the framework behavior would be a big piece of this. The model of the user would be, they could click or type or drag anything at any time (did you forget to disable that in this state?). Because the specifications of state-machine behavior are abstract rather than code-level (perhaps a few dozen concurrent components with a couple dozen lifecycle states each), and much is done sequentially using a single thread, tools like NuSMV should be fairly performant. Because so much GUI is setup programmatically rather than in the plugin.xml, this would have to look at the set of run-time components and their connectivity, e.g., be able to determine who is listening to whom. I don't know about NuSMV, but some tools have been developed that allow modeling of dynamic creation and deletion of state machines of a given kind.

Does anyone know of a capability like this?
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