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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Thu, 24 Apr 2003

Two book references. No, three.

Laurent quotes from Winograd and Flores's Understanding Computers and Cognition and also links to a discussion page. I read Winograd and Flores while sitting in on an odd course that Simon Kaplan taught at Illinois, and it quite excited me, to the point where I hunted down Flores's dissertation. Some influences linger - for example, their discussion of Heidegger's notion of "ready-to-hand" tools helped me think about what I call "just what I needed (almost) bugs".

(Kaplan's course was where I first read the wonderful Proofs and Refutations, Imre Lakatos's book on the philosophy of mathematics. It's written as a stage play about the history of Euler's conjecture that, for polyhedra, V-E+F=2).

I'm reminded of one last book. To write this blog entry, I had to create a new category for it, misc. That reminded me again of how much I dislike hierarchies as a way of representing/organizing my very non-hierarchical brain. I love Blosxom, my blogging tool, and I think it's a cute hack the way it uses the file system hierarchy to organize, but that cute hack is in fact an example of a "just what I needed (almost)" bug. (Well, maybe it's not a bug, given how much code it saves.)

Categories are in fact a tool of limited usefulness. Plato said we should "carve nature at its joints" (like a good butcher does), but lots of nature doesn't have any joints. This point is put nicely in George Lakoff's Women, Fire, and Dangerous Things: What Categories Reveal about the Mind. I found it pretty convincing.

I wish I had a blogging tool that let me tag entries with multiple keywords (or went beyond that), but was as easy to install, use, and control as Blosxom.

## Posted at 08:50 in category /misc [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.




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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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