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Talking About Testing

Frequently, both online and in face-to-fact conversations, testers express reservations to me about making a clear distinction between testing and checking when talking to others. It’s true: “test” is an overloaded word. In some contexts, it refers to a heuristic process: evaluating a product by learning about it through experiencing, exploring and experimenting; that’s what testers refer to when they’re talking about testing, and that’s how we describe it in … Read more

“What Tests Should I Automate?”

Instead of asking “What tests should I automate?” consider asking some more pointed questions. If you really mean “how should I think about using tools in testing?”, consider reading A Context-Driven Approach to Automation in Testing, and Testing and Checking Refined. If you’re asking about the checking of output or other facts about the state of the product, keep reading. Really good fact checking benefits from taking account of your … Read more

Very Short Blog Posts (34): Checking Inside Exploration

Some might believe that checking and exploratory work are antithetical. Not so. In our definition, checking is “the algorithmic process of operating and observing a product, applying decision rules to those observations, and reporting the outcome of those decision rules”. We might want to use some routine checks, but not all checks have to be rote. We can harness algorithms and tools to induce variation that can help us find … Read more

Automation and Coverage Part II

Last week posted a blog entry on automation and coverage, in which I questioned the usefulness of trying to cover “everything” with automated tests, comparing them to the CCTV cameras that are in use all over the place, but especially in Britain. Despite the limitations of such schemes, there might also be some useful aspects. What might they be? For certain areas that we decide to cover with a camera, … Read more