January 31, 2008
Software Testing and the Nature of Reality
It ain’t so much the things we don’t know that get us into
It’s the things we know that just ain’t so. ~~Artemus
Ward (also attributed to Will Rogers and Josh Billings)
Ideally, software development expands the consciousness of the developer,
and ultimately of the user. Good software enables you to encompass aspects of
reality that were hitherto unavailable. (Bad software forces you into the
perceptual space of a hideous insect).
So testing software comes down to exploring the new facets of reality which
the software exposes. This is a path that every serious developer must follow
diligently. It’s not not enough to simply ‘throw it over the wall’ to QA.
This becomes a process of abandoning preconceptions. You must actually use
the software and accept the results, particularly when they are unexpected. So
you are testing himself as much as the software.
Test Driven Development is good, but not sufficient, because your
assumptions are built into the tests.