36th International Conference on Software Engineering (ICSE 2014), May 31 – June 7, 2014, Hyderabad, India

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Code Contracts, Invariants, and Robustness
Technical Research
Hall 2, Chair: Andreas Zeller
Inductive Verification of Data Model Invariants for Web Applications
Publisher's Version
Abstract: Modern software applications store their data in remote cloud servers. Users interact with these applications using web browsers or thin clients running on mobile devices. A key issue in dependability of these applications is the correctness of the actions that update the data store, which are triggered by user requests. In this paper, we present techniques for au- tomatically checking if the actions of an application preserve the data model invariants. Our approach first automatically extracts a data model specification, which we call an abstract data store, from a given application using instrumented exe- cution. The abstract data store identifies the sets of objects and relations (associations) used by the application, and the actions that update the data store by deleting or creating objects or by changing the relations among the objects. We show that checking invariants of an abstract data store corre- sponds to inductive invariant verification, and can be done using a mapping to First Order Logic (FOL) and using a FOL theorem prover. We implemented this approach for the Rails framework and applied it to three open source applications. We found four previously unknown bugs and reported them to the developers, who confirmed and imme- diately fixed two of them.

Time stamp: 2020-07-13T05:45:55+02:00