[TIP] the best time to start doing a test?

Bob Clancy bob.clancy at verizon.net
Mon Sep 29 12:15:05 PDT 2008

Often out of necessity, when testing developer's code for the first 
time, I do exactly the same thing on a functional level.  Testers often 
call this "exploratory testing".  It is very similar to a spike, but for 
learning what a developer has implemented but often hasn't had time to 
communicate.  I try to do this sort of testing as early as possible and 
to give feedback to the developer and/or project owner withing a couple 
of hours of exploring the feature.

As a developer (and as Kumar indicates he does), developers can use the 
same technigue to learn about what legacy code does.  There are some 
articles (several years old) on the "articles" page of James Back's 
website (scroll to around the middle of the articles page and look for 
the heading "Exploratory Testing".  It's been years since I first read 
those articles, but if I recall correctly, they even go into how to 
manage the questions you are going to explore.


On Mon, Sep 29, 2008 at  2:52 PM, Kumar McMillan wrote:

> On Mon, Sep 29, 2008 at 1:34 PM, Tim Ottinger <tottinge at gmail.com 
> <mailto:tottinge at gmail.com>   <mailto:tottinge at gmail.com> > wrote:
>> ... then becomes TDD (test driven development)
>> for me.
> Once you decide that you're going to write the tests anyway, why _not_
> write them first?

What TDD means to me is more or less test-first but I avoided saying
TFD because the "first" tests I do are usually manual, not automated.
I.E. perhaps load the browser and *see* the interface fail to get an
idea of what I should see instead.  It's just easier on my brain.
Tests -- functional tests -- are often detached from the end-user
interface; they are simulations of that interface.  It's easier for me
to simulate a scenario that I've experienced rather than one I can
only imagine.  However, when writing a library where the interface is
actual code then it's easier on the brain to write a test for that
first.  Doctests are also great for this reason.  YMMV.

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