Tuesday, August 02, 2005

Purpose of Testing

The purpose of testing can be to show that the software works or it can be to show that the software does not work or there can be another level where the purpose is not to prove anything but to produce higher quality software. When we say quality, a lot more gets added to the whole process. The testing simply does not become a procedure to find bugs but something where one set of tests try to fail it and another set tries to improve it( increase in usability/"easy to use" is one such improvement).
Black box testing, white box testing, bottom up approach, top down approach etc. has always been there. To my understanding the goal is still the same , making sure (1) what we built is what was expected by the user and (2)Another level, where the software exceeded user's expectations and software is really solving his problem and not creating a new problems of its own kind.
Today morning while driving I heard this analysis on radio about automakers. Their big challenge is that they design their cars based on user requirements or who would be driving the car etc. But the issue is , as they were saying, most of the time a user doesn’t know what he/she wants till they actually see it. This is what happens to us also when our system goes to production. We can always argue use agile/RUP/CMM etc. to avoid this but still we always find this issue.
There is another issue and that is our test cases. Most of the test cases are written either to satisfy the requirement or to satisfy the design. This is not a bad thing (although I have read some articles which say the word “requirement” is bad. Another topic of discussion!).

I would divide testing in to two levels (1) Business Process Testing. (2) Code level testing.

Arvider has already posted his views on "Business Process Testing". But there is another level " Code level testing" where you go down to the code level, making sure you test each method in the code(Method coverage), Making sure each statement gets executed at least once (statement coverage), Branch coverage etc…. This is where GACC, RACC comes in to picture.
Now you can always say that , that would be a lot. Well you do not need to achieve 100% of Test Coverage and also in order to do this you do not need to change what ever you are doing but you need to look at your Test Cases and produce smart test cases. How you produce smart Test Cases? I will try to write something about it soon.

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