Time-based Repair for Asynchronous Wait Flaky Tests in Web Testing

Yu Pei, Jeongju Sohn, Sarra Habchi, Mike Papadakis

Asynchronous waits are one of the most prevalent root causes of flaky tests and a major time-influential factor of web application testing. To investigate the characteristics of asynchronous wait flaky tests and their fixes in web testing, we build a dataset of 49 reproducible flaky tests, from 26 open-source projects, caused by asynchronous waits, along with their corresponding developer-written fixes. Our study of these flaky tests reveals that in approximately 63% of them (31 out of 49), developers addressed Asynchronous Wait flaky tests by adapting the wait time, even for cases where the root causes lie elsewhere. Based on this finding, we propose TRaf, an automated time-based repair method for asynchronous wait flaky tests in web applications. TRaf tackles the flakiness issues by suggesting a proper waiting time for each asynchronous call in a web application, using code similarity and past change history. The core insight is that as developers often make similar mistakes more than once, hints for the efficient wait time exist in the current or past codebase. Our analysis shows that TRaf can suggest a shorter wait time to resolve the test flakiness compared to developer-written fixes, reducing the test execution time by 11.1%. With additional dynamic tuning of the new wait time, TRaf further reduces the execution time by 20.2%.

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