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On Red

What actually happens when a check returns a “red” result? Some people might reflexively say “Easy: we get a red; we fix the bug.” Yet that statement is too simplistic, concealing a good deal of what really goes on. The other day, James Bach and I transpected on the process. Although it’s not the same in every case, we think that for responsible testers, the process actually goes something more … Read more

Exploratory Testing 3.0

This blog post was co-authored by James Bach and me. In the unlikely event that you don’t already read James’ blog, I recommend you go there now. The summary is that we are beginning the process of deprecating the term “exploratory testing”, and replacing it with, simply, “testing”. We’re happy to receive replies either here or on James’ site.

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

Give Us Back Our Testing

“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 selected variables. It may also consist of timing information, as in real time systems. “The use of testing requires the existence of an external mechanism which can be used … Read more

The Rapid Software Testing Namespace

Just as no one has the right to tell you what language to speak at home, nobody outside of your project has the authority to tell you how to speak inside your project. Every project develops its own namespace, so to speak, and its own formal or informal criteria for naming things inside it. Rapid Software Testing is, among other things, a project in that sense. For years, James Bach … Read more

Very Short Blog Posts (18): Ask for Testability

Whether you’re working in an Agile environment or not, one of the tester’s most important tasks is to ask and advocate for things that make a product more testable. Where to start? Think about visibility—in its simplest form, log files—and controllability in the form of scriptable application programming interfaces (APIs). Logs aren’t just for troubleshooting. Comprehensive log files can help to identify the data that was processed and the functions … Read more

Very Short Blog Posts (17): Regression Obsession

Regression testing is focused on the risk that something that used to work in some way no longer works that way. A lot of organizations (Agile ones in particular) seem fascinated by regression testing (or checking) above all other testing activities. It’s a good idea to check for the risk of regression, but it’s also a good idea to test for it. Moreover, it’s a good idea to make sure … 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

Very Short Blog Posts (11): Passing Test Cases

Testing is not about making sure that test cases pass. It’s about using any means to find problems that harm or annoy people. Testing involves far more than checking to see that the program returns a functionally correct result from a calculation. Testing means putting something to the test, investigating and learning about it through experimentation, interaction, and challenge. Yes, tools may help in important ways, but the point is … Read more

Counting the Wagons

A member of Linked In asks if “a test case can have multiple scenarios”. The question and the comments (now unreachable via the original link) reinforce, for me, just how unhelpful the notion of the “test case” is. Since I was a tiny kid, I’ve watched trains go by—waiting at level crossings, dashing to the window of my Grade Three classroom, or being dragged by my mother’s grandchildren to the … Read more