Tuesday, August 09, 2005

Definitions of software testing - tracing the history

As I read more and more on Testing and explore it, one thing that always fascinates me is - way in which “testing” defined. Starting with this one from Glenford Myers “The process of executing a program or system with the intent of finding errors” to this one from James Bach “Testing is questioning a product in order to evaluate it".

It seems a quite a big journey. From a predominantly a “Bug finding Approach” to an “Evaluation based, information gathering approach” – indicates a clear shift in the thinking and approach. In my view, these definitions are not mere “theoretical” definitions meant to be memorized and used in job interviews. They paint a picture about thoughts, directions and perceptions about the “Testing” at respective times. They are indicative of levels of knowledge, trends prevalent at specified period.

I am currently working on these definitions (source and time period) and present a chronological study and account of how software testing evolved since the days of “Myers (Book – “The Art of Software Testing” – 1979) and Bill Hetzel (Book “Program Test Methods”, 1973) through the days of “Boris Beizer”, “Cem Kaner”, “James Bach”, “Bret Pettichord”, “Brian Merick” and other visionaries in testing. Help me by sending interesting definitions about testing along with the source and time period – I will consolidate and post it on this blog.

Critique this one – “A software engineering discipline positioned strategically in SDLC to help developer, in all possible ways, to ship better quality software”.

I know, the words like "help”, "SDLC" "strategic" in this definition are open for debate. The theme here is to "Help the developer" - the poor guy who is nicely sandwich-ed between the “Tester” and the “Project manager" (with conflicting interests - most of the times) and we expect him to deliver “defect free" software in time within budget - all the time !!!!

Monday, August 08, 2005

Jerry Weinberg ....

I was led to “Jerry Weinberg’s site by James Bach. I heard about - Jerry Weinberg in most of software testing related discussion with people often quoting him. I was lazy to google and find his site. James’ Blog post (titled "How to investigate intermittent problems") came handy to me locate Jerry’s site. I just finished reading some stuff from his site. No wonder why he so big hit in the software community. I especially enjoyed this humor article related to wisdom of dogs …..

“A German Shepherd Dog went to a telegraph office, took out a blank form and wrote: 'Woof, woof woof woof, Woof woof woof woof woof.'

The clerk looked at the paper and politely told the dog, '"There are only nine words here. You could send another 'woof' for the same price.'

'But that wouldn't make any sense at all,' replied the dog.“