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A Practitioner's Guide to Software Test Design

4.1 out of 5 stars 16 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-1580537919
ISBN-10: 158053791X
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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Lee Copeland is a consultant in the areas of testing methodologies, test management and web site testing at Software Quality Engineering. He has more than twenty-five years experience as an information systems professional specializing in software development and process improvement.

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Product Details

  • Series: Artech House Computing Library
  • Hardcover: 300 pages
  • Publisher: Artech House (January 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 158053791X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1580537919
  • Product Dimensions: 7.4 x 0.7 x 9.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #459,731 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
The top two software testing books that I recommend are Systematic Software Testing (ISBN 1580535089), and this gem. Whereas the first book gives a complete process and accompanying practices, this one focuses on a collection of highly effective techniques that every test professional should have in his or her toolbox.
Copeland starts off with an overview of testing as a process, followed by case studies. These lay the foundation for the techniques for which a chapter is devoted to each technique. The chapters on the techniques are divided into collections of techniques that are most effective for blackbox (seven) and whitebox (two) testing. The next chapters are devoted to scripted testing with an emphasis on IEEE 829, exploratory testing, and test planning. The book wraps up with an outstanding chapter on software defect taxonomies, advice on when to stop testing, and case studies.
So why did I state this book is a page turner? Copeland has masterfully used humor, statements that catch you off guard, and a warm conversational style to hold your attention. Among the priceless gems of humor are the off-the-wall quotes that he uses in front of each chapter. One of many examples of how he holds your attention by catching you off guard is in Chapter 6 on pairwise testing: 'Why does pairwise testing work so well? I don't know', which he then follows up with one of the most cogent explanations of the technique I've had the pleasure of reading. As an aside, his treatment of pairwise testing - and the power of that technique - is reason enough to read this book.
Another aspect of this book I like is the thoroughness with which he presents techniques.
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Format: Hardcover
Lee Copeland's book, "A Practitioner's Guide to Software Test Design" provides an easily read introduction into a critical but often ignored subject. As those familiar with the IEEE Standard for Software Test Documentation (IEEE-Std-829) know, Test Design is the first step in turning the "What" of the Test Plan into the "How" of test execution. The IEEE Test Documentation lifecycle is Test Plan - Test Design - Test Case Development - Test Procedure Development - (Test Execution) - Test Summary Report creation. Many test engineers proceed directly from Test Planning into Test Procedure creation, and do Test Design implicitly as opposed to explicitly. This can have a negative impact on an effective test program. This book clearly shows how to implement the test design process described in Drabick's book "Best Practices for the Formal Software Testing Process".

Lee's book provides a concise description based on excellent Case Studies of Black-Box (Requirements Focused) test techniques, moving from the simple (Equivalence Class and Boundary Value testing) to the more complex (Domain Analysis and Use Case testing). He provides the best description I've seen of test case development using orthogonal arrays. Lee then addresses White-Box (Structural Focused) testing, showing how to approach Control Flow and Data Flow testing. Again, he has the best description with illustrative examples of Data Flow testing that I've ever seen.

Lee then describes two Test Paradigms: Scripted Testing and Exploratory Testing that appear to be significantly different, and shows how the two can be used together for even more effective testing. That's the way I've always done testing, by the way.
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Format: Hardcover
I agree with everything that Johanna wrote in her review, but I'd like to add one more point.
Orthogonal arrays and domain testing are two very challenging topics. They are also essential test design techniques.
As important as these topics are, few books or articles present the concepts in an understandable way. Up until now, the tester had to struggle through some arcane, mystifying ideas before coming to the essence: How to use them for testing.
Lee's presentation skips the arcane and the mystical. He takes you straight to the core of the idea. After a few short pages, you will understand both of these concepts, even if you've read other authors' presentations and come away confused. More importantly, you'll understand how to use these techniques to design effective and efficient tests.
Bravo, Lee, and thank you for demystifying these concepts for the rest of us.
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Format: Hardcover
This is a great read on an important topic. Lee Copeland has done a super job in bringing together a diverse set of test techniques in a way that will make sense to testers of all experience levels. This book also brings many of the techniques we have used over the years, such as boundary value testing and equivalence classes, up to date with newer techniques such as pairwise testing and use cases for testing.
It was interesting to read some of the quotes from Boris Beizer and other early testing authors. Some of those nuggets, such as the example of "Kiddie Pool vs. Real Pool" had a big impact on me years ago as I developed my understanding of what testing is about. Copeland achieves a nice level of coverage in this book, as he addresses black box and white box testing, as well as testing paradigms that shape the way someone may look at testing. The trade-offs between exploratory and scripted approaches are examined in particular.
I really like the readability of this book, due in large part to the humor that Copeland sprinkles through the book just when you need a smile.
Copeland also does an excellent job of thoroughly explaining by example how the various testing techniques are applied. He takes each technique step-by-step and breaks it down so that even a beginner can understand.
I found the chapter devoted to bug taxonomies very helpful by providing the lists by Beizer, Caner, Binder, Whittaker and others in a single location. I often tell my students to "start a bug collection" to understand the defects most common in the software they test. This is a natural and effective starting point for process improvement. The bug taxonomy can give you a head start on your own bug collection.
I can highly recommend this book to any tester. If you are looking for a self-study book in test planning, this is a great place to start!
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