Future of Testing from James Whittaker

Found this exceptionally inspiring, interesting and informative talk (I saw an internal version of the same talk) by James Whittaker (please subscribe to his blog if you remotely care about software quality), who is a pioneer in the software testing world. He also has a series of blog posts on this topic in which he covers more details.

In fact it was so inspiring, that when I tried to save this post in Windows Live Writer, I got the following dialog + a crash:


instead of a simple message followed by a SaveAs dialog which would have been so much better if there was simply no space to save this on disk.

In defense of the Live Writer test team though there were quite a few "different" things that I was doing and it just makes the same point of how diverse the usage scenarios end up being from our labs.

  1. I have my "My Documents" setup to automatically redirect to a share for backup purposes.
  2. I also had the blog I was targeting set to a different one instead of my MSDN blog. This is my personal site blog and since I blogĀ  on it from home, I cannot use the externally visible form of www.sitename.com (since I am behind my router on which my server is also located), I was forced to use the http://server format for that blog setup.
  3. I was creating the draft from work, where the http://server format does not work for my personal blog anyway.
  4. I tried to save and switch the blogs (from personal to MSDN) at the same time.

Ah, but I shouldn't be surprised. First I used to think that I was an innate tester who just naturally found bugs. But over the years, I have sadly realized that almost all our users are just as gifted as me. Thanks to the quality of our software.

Just today morning as well I got all excited reading about Microsoft Research AutoCollage software and took it out for a spin. But at the end when I tried saving and exiting the app it crashed on me. The weird part was that all along, I was expecting it to crash so it didn't bother me. Why? I think subconsciously for a couple of reasons - it was MSR so I was not expecting released product quality from it, even though we are selling the software on our brand spanking new www.MicrosoftStore.com and secondly because it was doing a lot of fancy, CPU intensive image processing which made me just hold my breath and wait for the inevitable crash (though to their credit it didn't quite occur during the processing). Oh! We have such a long way to go.

Anyway, this talk is all about the future and not the present. The present sucks, we all know that. But fear not, for we brave, intrepid testers will fix all of that (or at least find all of that - we'll need some devs to fix it for us - we can't touch the product code you know!) :)