What’s New in Testing (for me)

At the Unicom NextGen Testing show on 26th June, (http://www.next-generation-testing.com/) I’ll be pitching some ideas for where the testing world is going – in around 15 minutes. I thought I’d lay the groundwork for that short talk with a blog that sets out what I’ve been working on for the past few months. These things might not all be new in the industry, but I think they will become increasingly important to the testing community.

There are four areas I’ve been working on in between travelling, conferences and teaching.

Testers and Programming

I’ve been promoting the idea of testers learning to write code (or at least to become more technical) for some time. In February this year, I wrote an article for the testing Planet: ‘The Testers and Coding Debate: Can We Move on Now?‘ That suggested we ‘move on’ and those testers who want to should find learning code an advantage. It stirred up a lively debate so it seems that the debate is not yet over. No one is suggesting that learning how to write code should be compulsory, and no one is suggesting that testers become programmers.

My argument is this: for the investment of time and effort required, learning how to write some simple code in some language will give you a skill that you might be able to use to write your own tools, but more importantly, the confidence and vocabulary to have more insightful discussions with developers. Oh, and by the way, it will probably make you a better tester because you will have some insider knowledge on how programmers work (although some seem to disagree with that statement).

Anyway, I have taken the notion further and proposed a roadmap or framework for a programming training course for testers. Check this out: http://gerrardconsulting.com/?q=node/642

Lean Python

Now, my intention all along in the testers and programming debate was to see if I could create a Python programming course that would be of value for testers. I’ve been a Python programmer for about five years and believe that it really is the best language I’ve used for development and for testing. So, I discussed with my Tieturi friends in Finland, the possibility of running such a course in Helsinki and I eventually ran it in May.

In creating the materials, I initially thought I’d crank out a ton of powerpoint and some sample Python code and walk the class through examples. But I changed tack almost immediately. I decided to write a Python programming primer in the Pocketbook format and extract content from the book to create the course. I’d be left with a course and a book (that I could give away) to support it. But then almost immediately, I realised two things:

  • Firstly, it was obvious that to write such a short book, I’d have to ruthlessly de-scope much of the language and standard functions, libraries etc.
  • Second – it appeared that in all the Python programming I’ve done over the last five years, I only ever used a limited sub-set of the language anyway. Result!

And so, I only wrote about the features of the language that I had direct experience.

I have called this Lean Python and the link to the book website is here: http://www.apress.com/gb/book/9781484223840#otherversion=9781484223857

“Big Data” and Testing the Internet of Everything

Last year, I was very interested in the notion of Big Data and the impact it might have on testing and testers. I put together a webinar titled Big Data: What is it and why all the fuss? which you might find interesting. In the webinar, I mentioned something called Test Analytics. I got quite a few requests to explain more about this idea, so I wrote a longer article for Professional Tester Magazine to explain it. you can go to the PT website or you can download the article “Thinking Big: Introducing Test analytics” directly from here.

Now, it quickly occurred to me that I really did not know where all this Big Data was coming from. There were hints from here and there, but it subsequently became apparent that the real tidal wave that is coming is the Internet of Things (also modestly known as the Internet of Everything)

So I started looking into IoT and IoE and how we might possibly test it. I have just completed the second article in a series on Testing the Internet of Everything for the Tea Time with Testers magazine. In parallel with each article, I’m presenting a webinar to tell the story behind each article.

In the articles, I’m exploring what the IoT and IoE are and what we need to start thinking about. I approach this from the point of view of a society that embraces the technology. Then look more closely at the risks we face and finally how we as the IT community in general and the testing community in particular should respond. I’m hopeful that I’ll get some kinf of IoE Test Strategy framework out of the exercise.

The first article in the series appears in the March-April edition of the magazine (downloadable here) and is titled, “The Internet of Everything – What is it and how will it affect you”.

There is a video of an accompanying webinar here: The Internet of Everything – What is it and how will it affect you.

A New Model of Testing

Over the past four years, since the ‘testing is dead’ meme, I’ve been saying that we need to rethink and re-distribute testing. Talks such as “Will the Test Leaders Stand Up?” are a call to arms. How to Eliminate Manual Feature Checking describes how we can perhaps eliminate, through Redistributed testing, the repetitive, boring and less effective manual feature checking.

It seems like the software development business is changing. It is ‘Shifting Left’ but this change is not being led by testers. The DevOps, Continuous Delivery, Behaviour-Driven Development advocates are winning their battles and testers may be left out in the cold.

Because the shift-left movement is gathering momentum, Big Data and the Internet of Everything are on the way, I now believe that we need a New Model of Testing. I’m working on this right now. I have presented draftsof the model to audiences in the UK, Finland, Poland and Romainia and the feedback has been really positive.

You can see a rather lengthy introduction to the idea on the EuroSTAR website here. The article is titled: The Pleasure of Exploring, Developing and Testing. I hope you find it interesting and useful. I will publish a blog with the New Model for Testing soon. Watch this space.

That’s what’s new intesting for me. What’s new for you?