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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Sun, 06 Nov 2005

Errors as essential

[Austin's procedure] consists in recognizing that [...] failure is an essential risk of the operations under consideration; then, in a move that is almost immediately simultaneous [...] it excludes that risk as accidental, exterior, one which teaches us nothing about the [...] phenomenon being considered.

Jacques Derrida, Limited Inc, p. 15.

This puts me in mind of a commonplace of UI design: that a popup error dialog should prod you to reexamine the system. Can it be changed to make the error impossible? or a modal dialog unneeded? For the latter, see Ward Cunningham's Checks pattern language, which - if I recall correctly - treats entering bad input as an inherent part of entering input, something to be fixed at the human's convenience, not something to interrupt the flow.

It also reminds me of my insistence that Agile projects are learning projects, and that you're probably not learning how to do something right unless unless you try variations and extensions that turn out to be wrong. But there has to be a way of talking about it that doesn't use the words "mistake" or "wrong" because - hard as it may be to believe - a lot of people think those are bad things.

## Posted at 22:01 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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Design-Driven Test-Driven Design
Creating a test
Making it (barely) run
Views and presenters appear
Hooking up the real GUI


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