Thursday, November 5, 2015

Testing is Simple (and Complicated)

In his keynote at EuroSTAR 2015 Rikard Edgren said many things that resonated with me. This was the one that rang out loudest:
Testing is simple: you understand what is important and then you test it.
Followed almost immediately by
Testing is complicated. 
Testing as recursion. A simple statement hiding deep complexity. An elegant surface belying the turbulence underneath.

This is so beautiful.

It put me in mind of fractals such as the Mandelbrot set where a benign-looking equation, if exercised, generates never-ending, self-similar, ever-finer detail.

Searching for related insight, I see that Adam Knight has arrived in a similar place from a different direction. (And be sure to read the comments there for a salutary caution against shallow analogy.)
Image: https://flic.kr/p/7LF46G

Edit: In the comments in How Models Change, Michael Bolton describes a model of testing as fractal and Adam later revisited his ideas and spoke about them to the Cambridge Tester Meetup.

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