Monday, December 19, 2016

One Way to Test

I came across this quote in Managing the Unmanageable, attributed to Doug Linder:
A good programmer is someone who looks both ways before crossing a one-way street.
It made me chuckle - churlishly, childishly - as I imagined a developer crossing testing off their list because each time they'd happened to cross the street they'd implemented they'd checked it was working. Well, perhaps that some aspect of it wasn't not working, at that time, for that person, etc etc.

Reflecting as I write this, I wonder if I'd been having a bad day...

Anyway, I offered the quote to the Test team at Linguamatics yesterday, along with mince pies, and posed a different question as part of our annual festive Testing Can be Fun session (see also The So in Absolute, Last Orders, Further Reading, Testing is Like Making Love):
What might a “good” tester say or do, when encountering a one-way street?
Ten minutes allowed, and as many mince pies as you can eat. Stick your answers in the comments if you like.


  1. Oh, the land of possibilities... (though, to be frank, most of the times I'll just move on without giving it a 2nd look)
    As a driver:
    - Put a truck in the middle of the street and check if one can pass
    - Is there enough place to park my car for the night while people are driving?
    - Is there a policeman around to enforce the one-way-ness of the street?
    - Do I have clear visibility of the street in order to avoid running over a child who's running after a ball?

    As a pedestrian:
    - Do I have a convenient and safe crossroad?
    - How wide is the pavement? can I walk past the slow-pacing elderly people without getting to the road?
    - How well does the draining system work? Will I have to waddle through a large puddle after a decent rain?
    - Speaking of rain - do I have shelter to walk beneath when going along the street.

    I think my time is up...

  2. A good tester would check with city planning that the street signs direct traffic in the direction intended, and would consult traffic tracking data to determine how the one-way flow influences traffic in the region.

    And *everyone* should look both ways before crossing a one-way street because you shouldn't trust your life to other people behaving as expected. Also, bicyclists don't always have to follow the traffic rules, so you shouldn't assume they won't be coming the "wrong" way.