Paolo Tonella and Filippo Ricca,
Dynamic Model Extraction and Statistical Analysis of Web Applications
The World Wide Web, initially intended as a way to publish static
hypertexts on the Internet, is moving toward complex applications.
Static Web sites are being gradually replaced by dynamic sites, where
information is stored in databases and non trivial computation is
Reverse engineering of a model from an existing Web application is useful
for its understanding and evolution. However, a static analysis of its
source code may be extremely difficult (and, in general, infeasible)
because of the presence of dynamic generation of the HTML code that is part
of the application under analysis. Moreover, static analysis requires the
ability to process multiple languages.
In this paper, a dynamic analysis technique is proposed for the extraction
of a Web application model through its execution. The HTML code produced during
execution on proper input values is subject to a static analysis.
Availability of statistical data about the accesses to the pages produced
by the Web application is exploited for statistical testing and for the
analysis of the navigation habits of the users. Anomalous
behaviors can be detected and indicated for an improvement intervention.