Marlon Brando said in a role he played: “People win with loaded dice“…
This is the exercise we’re building today, loaded dices – for the win!
…I get by with a little help from my friends. One of the friends at work who pushes me into all sort of good experiences is Issi Hazan. At this example, he invited me to join him in a testing class for the Tech-Career project (a social wellbeing program in Israel that works with immigrants from Ethiopia to form them and prepare them for a job in the High-Tech industry. They were mentioned at this old post about building a portfolio, and at work we volunteer by giving them coding and testing classes).
Issi’s aim is to teach the group strategies for Exploratory Testing.
But how to do that in a single short out-of-the blue session? How do you convey the strategy, heuristics, coverage models, quality criteria in a practical easy-to-get form? How to make it dynamic and not-boring?
Last month I visited the STAR East conference. It was over two weeks ago, which on the internet age makes it old news.
I follow my own clock, however, and will start posting about STAR East only now. Scott Rosenberg would call this type of blogging ‘history’ instead of ‘journalism’ (link), and it sounds just as fine.
In next blog posts, I’ll write about what happened at STAR. What happens in Orlando doesn’t stay there.
But on this one, it’s a bit about what happened in the way there.
For some time before travelling, I’ve been thinking about physical problems that resemble computer bugs. “Spirits in the material world”. For example:
In this picture you can (barely) see a water bottle that was forgotten by a worker on my neighbors’ roof. Just like a programmer would forget a temporary variable she invented to get some refreshment from the code inherent limitations, a worker will forget his own refreshment once it isn’t needed anymore.
There’s a very active Brazilian software testing discussion mailing list in Portuguese, called DFTestes.
When I say “very active”, I mean an average of 215 messages/month in 2009, and January 2010 has got more than 404 messages. Compared with other mailing list I participate, this is the most active one, and a tip of hat goes to the testers and list-admins that make the discussions interesting and vibrant.
Recently a big argument was held (link in Portuguese, requires registration) on whether “testers need to know programming” or not. I made some contributions to the discussion, and I’ll try to translate my point of view to English here.
Please note that there were a lot of people participating, and the post below does not present the entire debate or even an entire opinion, just the messages I wrote as answers. I hope you enjoy them.
The proposed question was:
Do testers need programming skills? Until a few years ago, most people would definitely answer NO… But I’ve known both people that seek testing jobs as an alternative to coding, and testers that write code routinely. So, do testers need or not to know programming?
This was an interesting exercise.
What took my interest in this one? – First of all, I liked Pradeep’s post about learning to code.
Learning to code is an important skill for a tester. I can relate to it because I am trying to learn PowerShell. I program in some languages (C#, C++, PHP, VbScript…) and have a programming background (after my Computer Systems Engineer degree, the ‘natural’ path was to code, and I worked as a programmer for many years before finding Software Testing), but PowerShell has different approach and paradigms and learning it will definitely be fun. – Second, I had an impromptu vacation day, and I thought it would be educational to use it for a peer testing puzzle. I thought I could win this one quickly (I was mistaken, it took me long).
So I downloaded Pradeep’s application, and got to work!
Rather than just trying to solve the puzzle, I looked at it as if the mission was:
“This is commercial 'roulette' style game. Stakeholders want to know it the game logic can be broken/learnt, which could mean a substantial loss of money when people start winning every time.”
Testing Hint: Cem Kaner says “Testing is an empirical, technical investigation of a product, done on behalf of stakeholders, with the intention of revealing quality-related information of the kind that they seek“. So it is important to set straight what is the information to seek. Which kind of bugs to look for?
Question: What are the most important software testing developments of the decade?
My Answer: The question asks about the most important developments… Not the best or the worst, the beneficial or the harmful.
I’ll try to answer here with considerations by me and others I found on the net. Not everybody will agree that all these are good — even I don’t agree with all — but my approach here is more of a reporter than a judge. Continue reading Yay, another Happy New Testing Year! A decade in review…→
One best friend of mine introduced me to Mitch Hedberg and Demetri Martin, great one-liner comedians. They are/were two funny men!! Three, actually, if you count my friend which is also funny.
After hearing the disks for over a year, not only the jokes aren’t any less funny, but I’ve started to find subliminal testing messages in them .
I’m writing down these “insights” because I find value in them. And even if they fail to teach you something… Hey! At least the jokes are pretty funny!
So here go some favorite quotes, and their parallel in testing:
(Disclosure: I am not a lawyer!) (Request: Are you a lawyer? Please send me corrections )
Matters related to law, and all the discussions around it, interest me much — especially when related to Software.
This made me read about the subject and keep contact with the legal representatives within the company I work for. This also motivated me to learn and lecture about the legal guidelines in software development adopted by our company, and to lecture about legal matters on software in general at the last Israeli SIGiST conference.
Most important than all, this made people share with me a lot of comments, questions and stories pertaining to the law.
For example, one colleague brought to my attention a case in which he and some friends had bought a PlayStation 3 in the local Office Depot website for 220NIS — when the normal price is almost tenfold! They believed it was some special sale promotion, but at the end Office Depot announced it as a typing mistake and cancelled the sale after it had been acknowledged (sale confirmation by email).
(There is an article about the episode in Hebrew here if you want to see it).
What is my opinion on the legal aspects of the story? I was asked.
I don’t have one, as I am not a legal professional, I answered. I am, though, a Testing professional, and here is the tester rambling I sent by mail commenting the occurrence: