Beautiful Testing: Leading Professionals Reveal How They Improve Software


Successful software depends as much on scrupulous testing as it does on solid architecture or elegant code. But testing is not a routine process, it's a constant exploration of methods and an evolution of good ideas.

Beautiful Testing offers 23 essays from 27 leading testers and developers that illustrate the qualities and techniques that make testing an art. Through personal anecdotes, you'll learn how each of these professionals developed beautiful ways of testing a wide range...

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Beautiful Testing: Leading Professionals Reveal How They Improve Software

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Successful software depends as much on scrupulous testing as it does on solid architecture or elegant code. But testing is not a routine process, it's a constant exploration of methods and an evolution of good ideas.

Beautiful Testing offers 23 essays from 27 leading testers and developers that illustrate the qualities and techniques that make testing an art. Through personal anecdotes, you'll learn how each of these professionals developed beautiful ways of testing a wide range of products — valuable knowledge that you can apply to your own projects.

Here's a sample of what you'll find inside:

  • Microsoft's Alan Page knows a lot about large-scale test automation, and shares some of his secrets on how to make it beautiful
  • Scott Barber explains why performance testing needs to be a collaborative process, rather than simply an exercise in measuring speed
  • Karen Johnson describes how her professional experience intersected her personal life while testing medical software
  • Rex Black reveals how satisfying stakeholders for 25 years is a beautiful thing
  • Mathematician John D. Cook applies a classic definition of beauty, based on complexity and unity, to testing random number generators

All author royalties will be donated to the Nothing But Nets campaign to save lives by preventing malaria, a disease that kills millions of children in Africa each year.

This book includes contributions from:

  • Adam Goucher
  • Linda Wilkinson
  • Rex Black
  • Martin Schröder
  • Clint Talbert
  • Scott Barber
  • Kamran Khan
  • Emily Chen
  • Brian Nitz
  • Remko Tronçon
  • Alan Page
  • Neal Norwitz
  • Michelle Levesque
  • Jeffrey Yasskin
  • John D. Cook
  • Murali Nandigama
  • Karen N. Johnson
  • Chris McMahon
  • Jennitta Andrea
  • Lisa Crispin
  • Matt Heusser
  • Andreas Zeller
  • David Schuler
  • Tomasz Kojm
  • Adam Christian
  • Tim Riley
  • Isaac Clerencia

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780596159818
  • Publisher: O'Reilly Media, Incorporated
  • Publication date: 11/6/2009
  • Series: Theory in Practice Series
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 329
  • Product dimensions: 6.90 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Meet the Author

Tim Riley is the Director of Quality Assurance at Mozilla. He has tested software for 18 years including everything from spacecraft simulators, ground control systems, high security operating systems, language platforms, application servers, hosted services and open source web applications. He has managed software testing teams in startups to large corporations consisting of 3 to 120 people in size and in up to 6 countries. He has a software patent for a testing execution framework which matches test suites to available test systems. He enjoys being a breeder caretaker for Canine Companions for Independence ( along with live and studio sound engineering.

Adam Goucher has been testing software professionally for over ten years. In that time he has worked with start-ups, large multi-nationals and ones in between in both traditional and agile testing environments. A believer in the communication of ideas big and small, he writes frequently at and teaches testing skills at a Toronto area technical college. In his off hours he can be found either playing or coaching box lacrosse - and then promptly applying lessons learned to testing. He is also an active member of the Association for Software Testing.

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Table of Contents


Beautiful Testers

Chapter 1: Was It Good for You?

Chapter 2: Beautiful Testing Satisfies Stakeholders

Chapter 3: Building Open Source QA Communities

Chapter 4: Collaboration Is the Cornerstone of Beautiful Performance Testing

Beautiful Process

Chapter 5: Just Peachy: Making Office Software More Reliable with Fuzz Testing

Chapter 6: Bug Management and Test Case Effectiveness

Chapter 7: Beautiful XMPP Testing

Chapter 8: Beautiful Large-Scale Test Automation

Chapter 9: Beautiful Is Better Than Ugly

Chapter 10: Testing a Random Number Generator

Chapter 11: Change-Centric Testing

Chapter 12: Software in Use

Chapter 13: Software Development Is a Creative Process

Chapter 14: Test-Driven Development: Driving New Standards of Beauty

Chapter 15: Beautiful Testing As the Cornerstone of Business Success

Chapter 16: Peeling the Glass Onion at Socialtext

Chapter 17: Beautiful Testing Is Efficient Testing

Beautiful Tools

Chapter 18: Seeding Bugs to Find Bugs: Beautiful Mutation Testing

Chapter 19: Reference Testing As Beautiful Testing

Chapter 20: Clam Anti-Virus: Testing Open Source with Open Tools

Chapter 21: Web Application Testing with Windmill

Chapter 22: Testing One Million Web Pages

Chapter 23: Testing Network Services in Multimachine Scenarios



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  • Posted July 27, 2010

    Beautiful case studies and essays

    As a software developer, I see the importance of good testing on a day to day basis. It is the essential piece of the puzzle that ensures that your efforts bare fruit in terms of business value. However, I also see it as the most neglected and poorly implemented aspect of producing software - at least with some of the projects and environments I worked on (and, sadly, I certainly haven't always been an exception).

    Having read this book my drive to improve the testing practices, procedures, and tools has been dramatically invigorated. Of particular interest to me, because they tie more directly with the work I do on a day to day basis, were the chapters on agile development, continuous integration, automated testing, and the associated tools. Chapter 14, "Test-Driven Development: Driving New Standards of Beauty" and "Beautiful Testing as the Cornerstone of Business Success" were truly awe-inspiring. They drew a picture in my mind of the perfect development environment, and even give somewhat of a road-map to get there.

    Some of the chapters were excellent for their high level breadth. Chapter 2, "Beautiful Testing Satisfies Stakeholders" and chapter 6, "Bug Management and Test Case Effectiveness" gives you a good sense of the value proposition of a good testing foundation.

    Others were a real joy to read (well...I guess if you're a geek). Chapter 1 was an entertaining, yet insightful, view into the mind of a tester. Chapter 12 was dramatic and really made you feel the weight of the pressure to make sure the testing was impeccable. One of my favorite chapters was "Software Development is a Creative Process", chapter 13. This chapter distilled how I feel about development.

    There were a few chapter that didn't give me much value. Many of the chapters were very narrowly focused on a specific technology or project, and didn't do enough, in my opinion, to relate the chapter to the larger scope. Chapter 21, "Web Application Testing With Windmill" read almost like marketing material for the product. I also didn't get much out of "Beautiful XMPP Testing" (chapter 6) and "Testing a Random Number Generator" (chapter 10). These chapter, however, really didn't detract from the overall superb quality of the writing or high value of the information contained in this book - not to mention that it is probably a matter of perspective.

    If you are involved in any aspect of software development, you should consider this required reading. The knowledge and insight taken out of this book will certainly make me more effective professionally.

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