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What is meant by Orthogonal Array Testing Strategy?

What is meant by Pair-wise Testing?

– It is an effective test case generation technique.
– It is based on the fact that faults are caused by interactions of at most two factors.

What is Orthogonal Array Testing Strategy (OATS)?

– It is a black box testing technique.
– It is a systematic, statistical way of software testing.
– It focuses on maximizing error detection.
– It uses pairwise testing for error detection.
– It enables to design test cases that provide maximum test coverage with reasonable number of test cases.
– The input domain is small.
– It focuses on errors that is related with region faults.
– An array of values are used that represent variable factors that are combined pair-wise.
– The steps in OATS involve identifying, determining, finding, mapping, choosing, and transcribing.
– These arrays are two dimensional arrays of numbers.
– Pairwise values can be got by choosing any two columns in the array.

OATS provides a means to select a test set that:
– Guarantees testing the pair-wise combinations of all the selected variables.
– Creates an efficient and concise test set with many fewer test cases than testing all combinations
of all variables.
– Creates a test set that has an even distribution of all pair-wise combinations.
– Exercises some of the complex combinations of all the variables.
– Is simpler to generate and less error prone than test sets created by hand.

Why Use Orthogonal Array Testing?

– It lowers the number of test cases.
– It is useful for integration testing.
– It is useful for testing configurable options of an application.
– It improves productivity due to reduced test cycles and testing times.
– It makes an intelligent choice about test cases and avoids endless effort in executing tests that do not contribute in identifying defects.

What are disadvantages of orthogonal array testing?

– Array construction can be difficult.
– Orthogonal array testing techniques are not useful in situations where processes involving influencing factors that vary in time and cannot be quantified exactly.
– It can only be applied in initial stage of system.

What are the mistakes that should be avoided while using this strategy?

– Do not apply OATS manually.
– The testing effort should not be focused on the wrong area of the application.
– Avoid using OATS for high-risk applications.
– Avoid picking the wrong parameters to combine.

1 comment to What is meant by Orthogonal Array Testing Strategy?

  • Nice post about an important software test design strategy.

    I agree with most of the points in your post but have a different perspective on a few points (each of which are listed below):

    “What are disadvantages of orthogonal array testing?

    – Orthogonal array testing techniques are not useful in situations where processes involving influencing factors that vary in time and cannot be quantified exactly.

    – It can only be applied in initial stage of system.”

    In my experience, neither of these statements is true.
    This short video, an introduction to pairwise testing (virtually identical to orthogonal array testing), shows it used in later stage of a system. This test design approach can be used in any phase of testing, including planning, initial, in the middle of things, or at the end: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kFH4QnymGGc
    Similarly, this follow-up video describes how this approach can be used where processes involve influencing factors that vary in time and cannot be quantified exactly: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Za5aQAMIq_g

    “What are the mistakes that should be avoided while using this strategy?

    – Avoid using OATS for high-risk applications.”

    It is worth mentioning that even though OATS, pairwise, all pairs may be insufficient for high-risk applications… (a) executing the “OATS tests” in addition to others would be an excellent idea because they will cover many important combinations that manually-identified tests will accidentally omit, and (b) very similar test design approaches are extremely effective for high-risk applications. OATS / pairwise / allpairs would generate a relatively small number of tests; when NASA tests high risk applications, they use more thorough approaches that will test not only for all possible pairs of values but all triples or all possible quadruple combos of values.

    Justin Hunter
    Founder of the Hexawise test design tool

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