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Expected Results

Klára Jánová is a dedicated tester who studies and practices and advocates Rapid Software Testing. Recently, on LinkedIn, she said: I might EXPECT something to happen. But that doesn’t necessarily mean that I WANT IT/DESIRE for IT to happen. I even may want it to happen, but it not happening doesn’t have to automatically mean that there’s a problem. The point of this post: no more “expected results” in the … Read more

It’s Not A Factory

One model for a software development project is the assembly line on the factory floor, where we’re making a buhzillion copies of the same thing. And it’s a lousy model. Software is developed in an architectural studio with people in it. There are drafting tables, drawing instruments, good lighting, pens and pencils and paper. And erasers, and garbage cans that get full of coffee cups and crumpled drawings. Good ideas … Read more

100% Coverage is Possible

In testing, what does “100% coverage” mean? 100% of what, specifically? Some people might say that “100% coverage” could refer to lines of code, or branches within the code, or the conditions associated with the branches. That’s fine, but saying “100% of the lines (or branches, or conditions) in the program were executed” doesn’t tell us anything about whether those lines were good or bad, useful or useless. “100% code … Read more

Oracles Are About Problems, Not Correctness

As James Bach and I have have been refining our ideas of testing, we’ve been refining our ideas about oracles. In a recent post, I referred to this passage: Program testing involves the execution of a program over sample test data followed by analysis of the output. Different kinds of test output can be generated. It may consist of final values of program output variables or of intermediate traces of … Read more

Very Short Blog Posts (21): You Had It Last!

Sometimes testers say to me “My development team (or the support people, or the managers) keeping saying that any bugs in the product are the testers’ fault. ‘It’s obvious that any bug in the product is the tester’s responsibility,’ they say, ‘since the tester had the product last.’ How do I answer them?” Well, you could say that the product’s problems are the responsibility of the tester because the tester … Read more

Testing is…

Every now and again, someone makes some statement about testing that I find highly questionable or indefensible, whereupon I might ask them what testing means to them. All too often, they’re at a loss to reply because they haven’t really thought deeply about the matter; or because they haven’t internalized what they’ve thought about; or because they’re unwilling to commit to any statement about testing. And then they say something … Read more

How Models Change

Like software products, models change as we test them, gain experience with them, find bugs in them, realize that features are missing. We see opportunities for improving them, and revise them. A product coverage outline, in Rapid Testing parlance, is an artifact (a map, or list, or table…) that identifies the dimensions or elements of a product. It’s a kind of inventory of aspects of the product that could be … Read more

Scenarios Ain’t Just Use Cases

How do people use a software product? Some development groups model use through use cases. Typically use cases are expressed in terms of the user performing a set of step-by-step behaviours: 1, then 2, then 3, then 4, then 5. In those groups, testers may create test cases that map directly onto the use cases. Sometimes, that gets called a scenario, and the testing of it is called a scenario … Read more

Harry Collins and The Motive for Distinctions

“Computers and their software are two things. As collections of interacting cogs they must be ‘checked’ to make sure there are no missing teeth and the wheels spin together nicely. Machines are also ‘social prostheses’, fitting into social life where a human once fitted. It is a characteristic of medical prostheses, like replacement hearts, that they do not do exactly the same job as the thing they replace; the surrounding … Read more

Why Would a User Do THAT?

If you’ve been in testing for long enough, you’ll eventually report or demonstrate a problem, and you’ll hear this: “No user would ever do that.” Translated into English, that means “No user that I’ve thought of, and that I like, would do that on purpose, or in a way that I’ve imagined.” So here are a few ideas that might help to spur imagination. The user made a simple mistake, … Read more