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Static checking of dynamically generated queries in database applications

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3 Author(s)
Gould, C. ; Dept. of Comput. Sci., California Univ., Davis, CA, USA ; Zhendong Su ; Devanbu, P.

Many data-intensive applications dynamically construct queries in response to client requests and execute them. Java servlets, e.g., can create string representations of SQL queries and then send the queries, using JDBC, to a database server for execution. The servlet programmer enjoys static checking via Java's strong type system. However, the Java type system does little to check for possible errors in the dynamically generated SQL query strings. Thus, a type error in a generated selection query (e.g., comparing a string attribute with an integer) can result in an SQL runtime exception. Currently, such defects must be rooted out through careful testing, or (worse) might be found by customers at runtime. In this paper, we present a sound, static, program analysis technique to verify the correctness of dynamically generated query strings. We describe our analysis technique and provide soundness results for our static analysis algorithm. We also describe the details of a prototype tool based on the algorithm and present several illustrative defects found in senior software-engineering student-team projects, online tutorial examples, and a real-world purchase order system written by one of the authors.

Published in:

Software Engineering, 2004. ICSE 2004. Proceedings. 26th International Conference on

Date of Conference:

23-28 May 2004