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The Domain Testing Workbook Paperback – October 30, 2013
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About the Author
Cem Kaner, J.D., Ph.D., is Professor of Software Engineering at the Florida Institute of Technology. Dr. Kaner is senior author of Testing Computer Software, Lessons Learned in Software Testing and Bad Software. The ACM's Special Interest Group for Computers and Society presented him with the Making a Difference Award in 2009 and the Software Test Professionals presented him with the Software Test Luminary Award in 2012. Kaner was a founder of the Association for Software Testing. He is lead developer of the BBST™ (Black Box Software Testing) courses and courseware.
Sowmya Padmanabhan, M.Sc., currently works at Google as a Program Manager. Before that she worked in Program Management and Software Development/Test at Microsoft and at Texas Instruments. She has a Masters degree in Computer Sciences with a specialization in Software Testing. Sowmya's thesis involved extensive research in training new testers to do skilled Domain Testing.
Douglas Hoffman, M.S.E.E., M.B.A, is an independent management consultant with Software Quality Methods, LLC. He is a Fellow of the American Society for Quality. He has authored numerous papers and is a contributing author of Experiences of Test Automation. He has taught several courses on software testing and test automation for the University of California's Extension campuses. He has served as President of the Association for Software Testing and of the Silicon Valley Software Quality Association and as Section Chair of the Silicon Valley Section of ASQ.
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Many practical aspects and considerations for testing are covered that are usually skipped over in broad testing surveys or short articles. For example, many books talk about different approaches such as risk-based, scenario-based, or pair-wise testing. Books may also cover the issue of combining values for a test, but Testing Domain Workbook walks you through the details and implications of what each approach entails when applied to combining values for a domain test. Further, it provides extensive guidance of when (in which context) the advice is most applicable (or not). For example:
"If you’re doing system testing after the programmers have done extensive unit testing of their variables, it will be unnecessary and wasteful to do thorough testing of secondary dimensions."
The book incorporates many viewpoints, sometimes strong opinions, and pithy statements such as:
"Boundaries are funny things. When people say “No one would need a value that big,” what they really mean is “I can’t imagine why anyone would need a value that big.” The world is often less constrained than the limits of our imagination. "
The book is exacting and consistent in its terminology, but the reader needs to be careful to keep the concepts clear and distinct. For example:
"Well-designed domain tests are powerful and efficient but aren’t necessarily representative. Boundary values are suitable for domain testing even if those values would be rare in use.
The best representative of the class is the one that makes the most powerful test."
So the best representative, most powerful, is not necessarily the most representative of typical values. The book focuses on boundary values and bug hunting so that typical values are unlikely to be used even though they are part of the domain. You need to use more than the one well-developed technique of this book as the authors themselves state. For example:
"well-designed scenario tests are usually representative but they’re often not powerful. To test a program well, you’ll use several different techniques"
You will be a better tester if you read this book. You will be a much better tester if you actually work through the exercises of the book. It was a privilege being a pre-publication reviewer of this book and I was pleasantly challenged by what I read and by doing the exercises.
Fortunately or unfortunately (depending on how you look at it) this book contains highly valuable / highly useful catalogs of test ideas broken down by data types, risks and inputs. The first few times I read this book they overshadowed the other great material / instruction in the book (I mean who needs to learn the Schema if you've got all these ideas for attacking a program? I'm kidding of course.
The authors present the Domain Testing Schema and then walk you through each part, explaining in great detail the various computer science concepts in an easy to understand way and providing increasingly more complex and detailed examples. It's great. I just wish I had the time to go through them. The plus side is this book makes a great reference for the whole development team!
What is most important about this book is the exercises and practice problems it provides. I have read the workbook for the basic concepts and patterns. I am now (slowly), working over many of the exercises. It is not enough for a tester to read and understand a concept (this is surface knowledge). To be a good software tester, practice (hands on doing) is really needed before we refine a skill. This workbook provides well thought out skill building practice exercises.
I am now recommending this book to new and experienced (skilled) testers.
The schema is useful as it gives concrete steps to follow. The exercises/challenges offered are suitable for both the beginners and seasoned professionals wanting to sharpen their saws. These exercises and the discussions offered with the solutions are the real meat of the guide.
The material is presented in the spiral style, which includes reminders of the key concepts and the additional layers of counseling with tips and tricks that the guidance is getting enriched with along the way.
As I was going through the workbook, I felt like the authors were taking me on a learning journey to a guided mastery. I thoroughly enjoyed and highly recommend it.
Most recent customer reviews
What was most helpful was that it helped me realize is that there is a whole other level of depth...Read more