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Beautiful Testing: Leading Professionals Reveal How They Improve Software (Theory in Practice) 1st Edition
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About the Author
Tim Riley is the Director of Quality Assurance at Mozilla. He has tested software for 18 years including everything from spacecraft simulators, ground control systems, high security operating systems, language platforms, application servers, hosted services and open source web applications. He has managed software testing teams in startups to large corporations consisting of 3 to 120 people in size and in up to 6 countries. He has a software patent for a testing execution framework which matches test suites to available test systems. He enjoys being a breeder caretaker for Canine Companions for Independence (cci.org) along with live and studio sound engineering.
Adam Goucher has been testing software professionally for over ten years. In that time he has worked with start-ups, large multi-nationals and ones in between in both traditional and agile testing environments. A believer in the communication of ideas big and small, he writes frequently at http://adam.goucher.ca and teaches testing skills at a Toronto area technical college. In his off hours he can be found either playing or coaching box lacrosse - and then promptly applying lessons learned to testing. He is also an active member of the Association for Software Testing.
Top customer reviews
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Written in an easy to read format -once you get past the foreword you just can't put it down.
I have and will continue to recommend this book to my colleagues
I am about 1/2 way through and it's pretty cool.
Beautiful Testing takes a great approach here, in that each chapter is written as a standalone case study. Each chapter likewise has a different author(s). Some of the details are very familiar to every tester, and some situations are unique challenges that many of us may not have faced yet . The first part of the book deals with testing as a people issue, and focuses on tester attributes and abilities. The second section of the book deals with test processes and procedures, and real world examples of those procedures. Part three deals with testing tools and how to make the most of them in real world environments and with real testing challenges.
What's more, each author agrees to donate their portion of royalties for the books to a charitable cause. In this case, the charitable cause is "Nothing but Nets" a program to distribute mosquito nets in Africa to help stem the tide of malaria infections.
Chapter 1 : Was It Good for You? (Linda Wilkinson)
This chapter leads off the book and gives a great introduction to the mindset of a tester, and the reason and rationale they use to help a company get the most out of their software development time. It makes a clear case that "not just anyone can test" (or at least not do so and do it well), and it helps identify the areas testers really care about.
Chapter 2 : Beautiful Testing Satisfies Stakeholders (Rex Black)
There are many stakeholders that have a say and a personal vested interest in our testing being done well and providing a lot of information to help make good decisions. Those stakeholders range from customers, vendors and users, but also include such entities as law enforcement, elected officials, company shareholders and all of the other key contributors to any project (PM's, developers, software developers, and yes, even our fellow testers).
Chapter 3 : Building Open Source QA Communities (Martin Schröder & Clint Talbert)
Using the example of Open Source projects, getting a community involved in the efforts will help get people excited about applications and give those who are part of that community a desire and drive to see it succeed. My own experience with this has been with the Selenium Users Group here in San Francisco. While I find using the tool itself to be interesting, getting involved with and getting to know others that are also actively involved gives me extra energy and motivation to learn and practice more so I can likewise share with the broader community.
Chapter 4 : Collaboration Is the Cornerstone of Beautiful Performance Testing (Scott Barber)
Scott shares some of his insights into the development of his approach to performance testing, and the idea that performance testing challenges can be tackled via collaboration with other groups.
Chapter 5 : Just Peachy: Making Office Software More Reliable with Fuzz Testing (Kamran Khan)
Fuzzing is described as a technique where deliberately corrupt data is entered into your application to see how the system reacts to the inputs (for good or ill). Kamran uses Excel as an example application and demonstrates using tools that fuzz input and data values.
Chapter 6 : Bug Management and Test Case Effectiveness (Emily Chen & Brian Nitz)
Emily and Brian share bug management techniques and methods defining defects as relates to their involvement with Bugzilla and the OpenSolaris Desktop development team.
Chapter 7 : Beautiful XMPP Testing (Remko Tronçon)
Remko walks through examples and issues faced with testing the Extensible Messaging and Presence Protocol (XMPP) and describes his approach to creating Unit Tests for testing protocol interactions.
Chapter 8 : Beautiful Large-Scale Test Automation (Alan Page)
Alan walks the user through an example of test automation on a grand scale, and shows that many of the approaches and methods that are used for small scale automation projects work the same way for large automation, but the scale is totally different. This chapter helps a lot in showing neophyte testers that the steps from one world to another need not be so scary.
Chapter 9 : Beautiful Is Better Than Ugly (Neal Norwitz, Michelle Levesque & Jeffrey Yasskin)
Python has made its way from an interesting yet obscure language back in the 90's to becoming one of the go-to languages of the web and testing today. Testing an entire development scripting language puts a whole new area and emphasis on testing and stability.
Chapter 10 : Testing a Random Number Generator (John D. Cook)
Here's a great example of taking an application that can be tested in a number of ways, and the correctness or incorrectness can be difficult to pin down.
Chapter 11 : Change-Centric Testing (Murali Nandigama)
Murali demonstrates a call system and makes the case that, instead of testing everything over and over again, make a series of tests that will focus on the change. By using a change-centric testing approach, the number of tests run nightly can be reduced dramatically.
Chapter 12 : Software in Use (Karen N. Johnson)
Karen describes the feeling and the responsibility of testing equipment that works in a Hospital's Intensive Care Unit, the very definition of Mission Critical. This one hit close to home, as it described a situation my Dad (a retired physician) faced a number of years ago with a program and a glitch that almost cost patient's lives in an infant ICU. Karen describes the process, ups and downs, and resolutions related to, in her words, working on a product that really matters.
Chapter 13 : Software Development Is a Creative Process (Chris McMahon)
Chris makes the case (and a really compelling one) that developing and testing software is artistic work. Evaluating software quality is evaluating art, and that, when we recognize the artistic aspect of creating software, Beautiful Testing becomes a reality.
Chapter 14 : Test-Driven Development: Driving New Standards of Beauty (Jennitta Andrea)
Jeanette introduces the idea of the Diderot Effect and relays it to test driven development and the unintended consequences of upgrading just one area of a process and thinking that it's all done. To embrace the beauty of TDD, all aspects of the role and purpose of testing and embracing TDD have to be applied. Requirements, system design, he very act of writing code, the pace of work and the level of engagement of the testers involved all face changes when TDD becomes part of the landscape.
Chapter 15 : Beautiful Testing As the Cornerstone of Business Success (Lisa Crispin)
Anyone familiar with Agile Testing will notice the Mind-map that leads off everything, and gives a clear picture of the ideas that Lisa wishes to impart. The take away is clear, testing is part of the overall process of development, and testing is a process at every stage of development. Testing drives development, and development is not complete until tested.
Chapter 16 : Peeling the Glass Onion at Socialtext (Matthew Heusser)
Matt makes the point that, in mathematics, often the simplest solution is the most beautiful solution, and the same holds true for testing. Through examples at Matt's company, Socialtext, he shows how they do not just test to show that they have done testing, but that the solution they have developed fits what their customers want to see.
Chapter 17 : Beautiful Testing Is Efficient Testing (Adam Goucher)
Efficiency and focusing on how to get the best bang for your buck requires setting some parameters, using some tools to help focus on the goal, and making a mindmap to capture test ideas and methods. Adam uses the mnemonic SLIME to help organize his approach ((Security, Languages, RequIrements, Measurement, Existing).
Chapter 18 : Seeding Bugs to Find Bugs: Beautiful Mutation Testing (Andreas Zeller & David Schuler)
Andreas and David discuss the idea of mutation tests, and the tool Javalanche to perform those tests.
Chapter 19 : Reference Testing As Beautiful Testing (Clint Talbert)
An inside look at how Mozilla tests the variety of products in the Mozilla portfolio, and how they create tests and their reference points. Their goal is to encourage people to get involved and test in the way that is the most simple, direct and easy to understand way possible.
Chapter 20 : Clam Anti-Virus: Testing Open Source with Open Tools (Tomasz Kojm)
A look under the hood at an open source product (Clam Anti-Virus, a tool I actively use and wholeheartedly endorse, by the way) , and all of the open source tools used to test it, along with the testing strategies used.
Chapter 21 : Web Application Testing with Windmill (Adam Christian)
Adam provides a quick tutorial in how to set up and use the Windmill web testing tool and a quick way to implement automated testing for web applications.
Chapter 22 : Testing One Million Web Pages (Tim Riley)
Tim describes the Spider and Sisyphus projects at Mozilla and how they use the framework to test huge numbers of pages and web sites.
Chapter 23 : Testing Network Services in Multimachine Scenarios (Isaac Clerencia)
Isaac describes the ANSTE test tool and how it is used at his company, eBox, to test environments with multiple and varying machines.
Not every section will be relevant to every tester, and I found a few of the sections not immediately applicable to my current situations, but each section gives the reader a greater appreciation of the testing process in their respective sections. The multi-writer style for each chapter makes the book very engaging, and allows the reader to skip to the sections that matter the most to them. There is something for everyone in the testing process here, from technical testers with deep programming knowledge to relatively new testers without specific development backgrounds. Agile and traditional development methodologies will find value in these chapters, and overall it's a fun read. If you are looking to put a little more elegance and art into your testing life, Beautiful Testing has a lot to offer.
The one theme that does run throughout the book is how testing is an art rather than a science (but then so is coding). For those who haven't had much exposure to testing it will demonstrate how there is much more to testing than just defining a few basic tests and running them.
This book isn't going to teach someone how to test but it may help expand your view of testing. While those who wrote the chapters do not all agree on exactly what testing is they all consider it to be of much wider scope than some people from outside of testing have considered it to be (a lot of people think testing and debugging are the same - which is completely false). That much is clear from some of the chapters that talk about where testers have become more involved earlier in the process than they had been previously and the impact that had on how they were able to handle the testing.
Kamran Khan's chapter on fuzz testing reinforced my ideas that choking your system with invalid parameters and input data is a tremendous way to shore up that system's stability. I also really enjoyed Lisa Crispin's and Alan Page's separate chapters, both of which emphasized value-driven, sensible approaches to test automation.
If you want an amazing story around how testing can directly impact the lives of those around you, read Karen Johnson's chapter "Software in Use." Johnson ties a visit to an Intensive Care Unit to work she'd done on equipment in that ICU - it's rare anyone sees that practical a link to work we do in this industry.
Other highly worthwhile chapters include the piece on Python's development process, the overview on TDD, Mozilla's regression testing philosophy, and others. The Python chapter, in particular, is a tremendous testament to how a rigorous testing philosophy can guarantee very solid releases even with a broad, distributed team of varying skills.
As my examples above point out, there's a great amount of broad-stroke value in the book; however, a wealth of smaller, critical points abound in various chapters as well. Some weren't phrased exactly like this, but I've taken away these other concept as well:
* Track the source of your bugs (test plans, exploratory, developer, etc.) and pay special attention to bugs found by customers. These "escapees" point to areas to shore up in your test plan.
* Mindmaps are a great way to brainstorm out your test plan or test areas.
* Use small tools like fuzzers to help create your baseline input data.
* 100% passing rates for your automated tests isn't reasonable. Investigating 100% of your failing tests to determine whether the specific failure matters is reasonable. (I already firmly believed this, but it was nice to see in print!)
* Using image comparison to check formatting.
This is one of the better books I've read this year, and it's absolutely worth adding to your shelf.