Monday, October 14, 2019

Why We Need New Software Testing Technologies - a #PNSQC2019 Live Blog

Dr. Carol Oliver makes the case that we are now seeing a proliferation of environments where software can run. Once upon a time, programming was a bespoke profession. Computers were standalone and in many cases not interoperable. That has certainly not been the case in the past few decades. Mobile and IoT software have the added challenge of even more potential places and environments for software to run. The testing paradigms that we use, however, have not kept pace with the proliferation of platforms. This should probably not be a big surprise but it is a real issue.

Dr. Oliver has her paper to describe a Release-Readiness Levels Framework with vocabulary and structure so as to discuss what software testers would like to be able to test and what the existing tools and technologies enable them to test.

Mobile and IoT show how many potential devices exist and how very few of them we actually test with. We are especially not looking at all of the possible variations of hardware and software. We literally can't. Modeling software also uses such a large level of abstraction that it is very narrow the range we are actually testing vs. what is out there.

Areas that can be addressed and looked at for pros and cons are:

  • Physical Devices (the actual proliferation of machines)
  • Virtual Devices (abstractions to represent real machines)
  • Simulation Environments (even greater levels of abstraction, one size fits most, theoretically)
  • Visual GUI Tree (what prt of the GUI can you interact with? How much can you interact with it?
  • Image Comparison (How do we determine we have the appropriate technology to display the images correctly and appropriately.
  • Code Manipulation
  • System Monitoring

One of the things you will notice is that most of these areas are not immediate or easy to test. Additionally, many of these areas require a technical bent to the testers in question. We are not even close to having general-purpose tools but we do have some ideas as to what those general tools would entail. Needless to say, I am intrigued and will read the relative paper more closely :).

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