Exploration Through Example

Example-driven development, Agile testing, context-driven testing, Agile programming, Ruby, and other things of interest to Brian Marick
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Tue, 04 Feb 2003

Learning from Mistakes

Pragmatic Dave Thomas has a nice little bit on how pilots learn from mistakes. They read accident reports. In our field, we should build on the bug report.

I once worked with someone who took great glee in dissecting bugs in his code. Not only would he buy lunch for anyone who found a bug, he'd write long, loving notes analyzing the bug, why he made it, etc. We need more people like him.

I note in passing that I edit the "Bug Report" column for STQE Magazine. I'm always looking for authors.

Here's an example of a kind of bug I learned about. I call it the "just what I needed (almost)" bug (PDF).

## Posted at 09:31 in category /bugs [permalink] [top]

Cooper and Beck Debate

Bret points us to an interesting debate between Alan Cooper and Kent Beck. It's clear they're coming from fundamentally different positions:

Cooper: Yeah. The instant you start coding, you set a trajectory that is substantially unchangeable. If you try, you run into all sorts of problems...


Cooper: Building software isn't like slapping a shack together; it's more like building a 50-story office building or a giant dam.

Beck: I think it's nothing like those. If you build a skyscraper 50 stories high, you can't decide at that point, oh, we need another 50 stories and go jack it all up and put in a bigger foundation.

Cooper: That's precisely my point.

Beck: But in the software world, that's daily business.

Cooper: That's pissing money away and leaving scar tissue.

Beck: No. I'm going to be the programming fairy for you, Alan. I'm going to give you a process where programming doesn't hurt like that [...]

Cooper and Beck have different worldviews. They disagree, at a fundamental level, about what kind of thing software is. That put me in mind of a position paper I wrote recently, called "Agile Methods, the Emersonian Worldview, and the Dance of Agency", that tries to characterize the agile worldview.

At the workshop, one of the attendees said that he'd described my paper to his wife, a physician, and she said something like "if he really believes that, my diagnosis would be clinical schizophrenia." I still haven't decided if I'm taking that as a compliment or an insult...

## Posted at 08:45 in category /agile [permalink] [top]

About Brian Marick
I consult mainly on Agile software development, with a special focus on how testing fits in.

Contact me here: marick@exampler.com.




Agile Testing Directions
Tests and examples
Technology-facing programmer support
Business-facing team support
Business-facing product critiques
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Testers on agile projects

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Working your way out of the automated GUI testing tarpit
  1. Three ways of writing the same test
  2. A test should deduce its setup path
  3. Convert the suite one failure at a time
  4. You should be able to get to any page in one step
  5. Extract fast tests about single pages
  6. Link checking without clicking on links
  7. Workflow tests remain GUI tests
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Design-Driven Test-Driven Design
Creating a test
Making it (barely) run
Views and presenters appear
Hooking up the real GUI


Popular Articles
A roadmap for testing on an agile project: When consulting on testing in Agile projects, I like to call this plan "what I'm biased toward."

Tacit knowledge: Experts often have no theory of their work. They simply perform skillfully.

Process and personality: Every article on methodology implicitly begins "Let's talk about me."


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