Microsoft has just announced that it will be releasing the first preview of its new cloud-based tool called Project Springfield that has been designed to aid developers in spotting “million dollar bugs” in their Windows applications before their launch.
The reason the company is making Project Springfield available to Windows developers is to save them from the “costly effort” of having to release patches to fix broken software after it has already been made public.
The new service, which is Azure-based, enables developers to find bugs in their apps through the use of fuzz testing and artificial intelligence (AI). Fuzz testing is an automated way of testing code through the use of semi-random input and seeing how the code responds. Microsoft will also utilise AI to learn which parts of a piece of software are affected the most by harmful inputs.
The company's AI will be able to ask a series of 'what if' questions and make more intelligent decisions as it tries to crash software. This will allow it to find vulnerabilities that often go undiscovered by other fuzz testing tools.
Microsoft offered further details on how developers can begin to use Project Springfield to check their own software, saying: “Project Springfield works on binaries, with no source code or private symbols needed. You need to be able to install the software you deploy on a virtual machine that runs in Azure, provide a 'test driver' that exercises your software, and a set of sample inputs. Project Springfield uses these to create many test cases for exercising your program.”
Developers who sign up will be able to upload their binaries to Project Springfield so that their software can be tested in the cloud. The service will then notify users when it has found a bug and grant them access to test cases so they can see how to reproduce the problem and begin to understand what went wrong with their software.
Microsoft has not yet announced when it will publicly launch the service but interested developers can sign up now.
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