Computer Science and Engineering, Department of


Date of this Version

Spring 5-3-2016

Document Type



Mouna Hammoudi, "Why Do Record/Replay Tests of Web Applications Break?", Master's Thesis, University of Nebraska-Lincoln, May 2016.


A Thesis presented to the Faculty of The Graduate College at the University of Nebraska In Partial Fulfillment of Requirements for the Degree of Master of Science. Major: Computer Science. Under the Supervision of Gregg Rothermel. Lincoln, Nebraska: May, 2016

Copyright (c) 2016 Mouna Hammoudi


Software engineers often use record/replay tools to enable the automated testing of web applications. Tests created in this manner can then be used to regression test new versions of the web applications as they evolve. Web application tests recorded by record/replay tools, however, can be quite brittle; they can easily break as applications change. For this reason, researchers have begun to seek approaches for automatically repairing record/replay tests. To date, however, there have been no comprehensive attempts to characterize the causes of breakages in record/replay tests for web applications. In this work, we present a taxonomy classifying the ways in which record/replay tests for web applications break, based on an analysis of 453 versions of popular web applications for which 1065 individual test breakages were recognized. The resulting taxonomy can help direct researchers in their attempts to repair such tests. It can also help practitioners by suggesting best practices when creating tests or modifying programs, and can help researchers with other tasks such as test robustness analysis and IDE design.