Test Smell Detection Tools: A Systematic Mapping Study

Abstract

Test smells are defined as sub-optimal design choices developers make when implementing test cases. Hence, similar to code smells, the research community has produced numerous test smell detection tools to investigate the impact of test smells on the quality and maintenance of test suites. However, little is known about the characteristics, type of smells, target language, and availability of these published tools. In this paper, we provide a detailed catalog of all known, peer-reviewed, test smell detection tools. We start with performing a comprehensive search of peer-reviewed scientific publications to construct a catalog of 22 tools. Then, we perform a comparative analysis to identify the smell types detected by each tool and other salient features that include programming language, testing framework support, detection strategy, and adoption, among others. From our findings, we discover tools that detect test smells in Java, Scala, Smalltalk, and C++ test suites, with Java support favored by most tools. These tools are available as command-line and IDE plugins, among others. Our analysis also shows that most tools overlap in detecting specific smell types, such as General Fixture. Further, we encounter four types of techniques these tools utilize to detect smells. We envision our study as a one-stop-source for researchers and practitioners in determining the tool appropriate for their needs. Our findings also empower the community with information to guide future tool development.

Publication
Proceedings of the Evaluation and Assessment in Software Engineering

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