Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Qualitative Analysis and Software Testing Instincts

I think there is value in subjective, qualitative software analysis.  I think that is a guiding principal of Exporatory Software Testing (ET): "Should I look here or over there?"  and our well trained instincts guide us.  So what trains us and what are those instincts?  Ideas worth looking into. 

I rely on the "One Roach Conjecture":  "If you see one roach . . ."

I frequently use this principal while performing ET.  For example, I look to see if there is a simple parsing problem, if there is, then I think, "Ah HA! These programmers don't know how to parse.  I wonder where else parsing is critical to the function?"  (Examples of simple parsing test cases: 0.0.0, --1, -0.  I found that Acrobat Reader had a lot of trouble with these. ergo .  . .)

The subjective led to the objective so I think exploring subjective analysis has some bearing on our software testing craft.

(A slightly different version of this post appeared Oct 27, 2010 in the "Software-Testing" Yahoo group.)

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