There’s often talk about how developers should think more like testers. But there’s often not as much discussion about the corollary: testers learning to think more like developers. So let’s talk about this.
I’ve talked about the notion of test description languages quite a bit. A lot of these discussions get into debates about being declarative versus imperative, or focusing on intent rather than implementation. All good things to consider. But such “versus” terminology tends to suggest there is a “right” and a “wrong” when often what you have is “What makes sense in your context.” And you may have to flexibly shift between different description levels. Let’s talk about this.
Recently I engaged in a fun exercise with a test team wherein each of us had to answer the following question: How do I describe my role? It’s always interesting to me to see how people answer this, particularly in the fields of testing and quality assurance. So here I’ll provide the answer I gave, along with a bit of context for it.
In this post I want to follow on a bit from the interactive exploration idea developed up to this point but also focus on the distinction of checking and testing that often gets debated. I also want to use this post to reinforce a few things I talked about last year.
This post follows on immediately from the last one, so let’s get started with the exploration!
Let’s continue our interactive exploration example. Here I’m going to provide a bit more of a complex scenario for you to consider. My hope is that you will take the time to engage with this idea, exploring the ideas around the central idea, and figure out how you would ultimately craft tests.
Let’s use this post to take stock of what I’ve done so far in the interactive series but also talk a bit about exploration as a core technique of testing, particularly around the idea of requirements.
This is the second post in the interactive exploratory testing series. The first post provided a relatively large amount of context as well as ending with a challenge. So let’s continue to explore this idea of exploratory testing with interactive fiction.
I want to start off 2017 by playing around with the idea of exploration. I gave an example of how I applied exploration while testing a particular game as well as creating a game to test the exploratory abilities of testers and even a little bit about reframing interviews with gamification in this context. I want to start taking this to the next level.
I had two major series of thematic posts that I tried out this year: Modern Testing and Indefinito. The former was eminently focused on the tactical and the latter more on the strategic and perhaps even philosophical. In some ways these provided my focus as I find myself on the doorstep of 2017.
To quote Doctor Tolian Soran, the villain in Star Trek: Generations, “time is the fire in which we burn.” In a little less fictional of a context, the historian Robert Bloch has said of time that “it is the very plasma in which events are immersed, and the field within which they become intelligible.” Beyond those sentiments, time is also what provides us with a keen notion of polarity, by providing two aspects around the project singularity I talked about. So let’s talk about polarities and time and see if we can’t make this relevant to testing as a discipline.
I was going to title this post “Testing is Like Archaeology.” Then I was thinking of “Testing is Like Geology.” But then I realized, as my argument took shape, that I could have said testing was like paleontology, or geomorphology, or even biography. I realized then that what I really wanted to focus on was how testing was, oftentimes, about studying the past. But to drive that argument home, let’s consider why we study the past. And let’s also consider why such study informs the future.
Geometry is about getting from one place to another. It’s about looking at where we are and where we want to be. Or, perhaps, it can look at where we are now and help us backtrack to where we came from. However you use it, geometry takes place over a certain region of space and time. Space and time — whether looked at in the context of cosmology or just on our projects — is all about dimensions. So let’s talk about this a bit.
In mathematics, a singularity refers to a point that is basically undefined because it is infinite or what is known as degenerate. In physics, a singularity is a “region” that has infinite density with an infinitesimal volume. So what do this extreme concept have to do with testing? Well, let’s talk about that.