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AIX > Tips & Techniques > Application Development

Are You Up to the Test?

Exploring best practices of testing

Exploring best practices of testing

Assess Results

The object of the test procedure is to gather result data from testing. This result data must be compared to something to validate our test results. We need to compare the actual testing results to the expected testing results. This includes the normal case where we test to ensure our change is working as designed. It will also include any anomalies—inaccurate results, other issues observed and of course the dreaded program crash.

Once we’ve gathered the results and compared the actual to the expected, we need to provide feedback to the appropriate party. This could be the developer or the person in charge of testing. Remember to phrase the feedback in constructive terms: “Your code is abysmal and fails the simplest test” may be accurate, but doesn’t lead to good feelings at the next departmental birthday party. You may be the developer who receives the feedback. Look at the feedback from the standpoint of the tester. You may also be both the developer and the tester. I like to document the test results as a way of monitoring or gauging my progress.

Another task can be resetting the test data. This is usually an automated process where you can reset to the beginning test case data. This is important for testing and for test repeatability.

There Will be a Test

Testing should be an integral part of your development effort. While we’re all good at what do, we need to test to ensure our changes are effective and accurate. Testing is part of the overall system-development effort, and an important consideration.

It’s Your Turn. What is your testing strategy? Do you have testers who test developer’s changes? Do you have developers test their own changes?

Do you use any automated testing tools? I haven’t used them, but I can see where they could be very valuable. I’d appreciate information about tools such as these.

Do you have that “special” tester who can break anything? I can recall working with people who were great at finding problems. There’s probably a personality quirk in there somewhere, but the ability to find the bugs in someone else’s code is valuable.

Let’s Share

Like the last article about standards, let’s continue this discussion in a specially created Buzz blog you’ll find on the website. Let’s continue our grassroots effort to share our knowledge and increase the professionalism of our community.

Michael Ryan is a technical editor with IBM Systems Magazine. Michael can be reached at



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