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Pragmatic software testing

Posted in Software testing,Software testing book by testing in London on July 1, 2007

From Dr Dobbs

This is a review of Rex Black’s book on Pragmatic Software Testing.

There are a number of philosophies that drive testers these days. Do you test based upon a catalog of risks, automated everything in unit tests, employ a model? In the risk-based camp, few authors are more influential as Rex Black. In his new book, Pragmatic Software Testing: Becoming an Effective and Efficient Test Professional, Black explains his approach to risk-based testing and the techniques needed to accomplish it.

Pragmatic Software Testing can be broken into two parts; Strategy and Execution. The first part includes sections on “Goals, Strategies, and Tactics” and “Risk-Based Testing”. Included in the Risk-Based Testing section is an introduction a possible catalog of risks to your product and briefly describes then. Included in this list are such things as Data Quality, Localisation, Security and Documentation in addition to Functionality. Each topic has both an explanation of the risk and a couple examples. Given the introductory nature of the book, the breadth of coverage makes up for lack of depth as some topic are worthy of their own book. These risks are followed up with a method to weight these risks appropriately in their project’s context. For new testers who do not yet have the trained intuition to do this assessment automatically, this will be of great use.

The remainder of the book contains discusses “Static Testing”, “Behavioural Testing” and “Structural Testing”. By far, the largest of these three sections is Behavioural Testing and covers equivalence classing, use cases, decision tables, state transition diagrams, domain testing and orthogonal arrays. Given the current politics of the testing community, it was refreshing to see the chapter on reactive testing (a.k.a. “exploratory testing”).

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