These four scenes show some of the approaches availablein software testing today.
is a typical hands-on tester, manually running alltests from the keyboard. Hands-on testing is commonthroughout the industry today—it provides immediate ben-efits, but in the long run it is tedious for the tester and ex-pensive for the company.
“One of the saddest sights to me has always been a hu- man at a keyboard doing something by hand that couldbe automated. It’s sad but hilarious.”
Black-Box Testing: Techniques for Functional Testing of Software and Systems
practices what I call “static test automation.” Staticautomation scripts exercise the same sequence of com-mands in the same order every time. These scripts are cost-ly to maintain when the application changes. The tests arerepeatable; but since they always perform the same com-mands, they rarely find new bugs.
“Highly repeatable testing can actually minimize thechance of discovering all the important problems, for the same reason that stepping in someone else’s foot- prints minimizes the chance of being blown up by aland mine.”
—James Bach,“Test Automation Snake Oil,”
Windows Tech Journal,
October 1996Tester 3
operates closer to the cutting edge of automatedtesting. These types of “random” test programs are called
because they essentially bang on the key-board aimlessly. They come up with unusual test action se-quences and find many crashing bugs, but it’s hard to
Quality EngineeringSeptember/October 2000
began with hands-on,exploratory testing to become familiar with the application—and used the knowledge gained during the hands-on testing to create a very simple behavioral modelof the application.Tester 4 then used a test program to test the application’s behavior against what themodel predicted.The behavioral model was muchsimpler than the application under test,so it waseasy to create.Since the test program knew whatthe application was supposed to do,it could detectwhen the application was doing the wrong thing.As the product cycle progressed,developerswrote new features for the application.Tester 4quickly updated the model,and the tests contin-ued running.The program ran day and night,con-stantly generating new test sequences.Tester 4was able to run the tests on a dozen machines atonce and get several days of testing done in a sin-gle night.After several rounds of testing and bug fixes,Tester 4’s test generator began to find fewer bugs.Tester 4 upgraded the model to test for additionalbehaviors and continued testing.Tester 4 also didsome hands-on testing and static automation forthose parts of the application which were not yetworth modeling.When Tester 4’s software was released,therewere very few bugs to be found.The customerswere happy.The stockholders were happy.And Tester 4 was happy.
This article is provided courtesy of
Software Testing &Quality Engineering (STQE)