Preparing to Build Functional Test Sets in .NET

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7.1 Preparing to Build Functional Test Sets
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Testing from a Model
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One of the biggest challenges in testing is the constructions of tests themselves. The purpose of testing is to provide con dence that the software produced meets the requirements of the customer. For some customers, this can be met by an extensive period of evaluation in the customer s organization with the software being used in its intended operational environment by its intended users. This is rarely possible to any great extent and, anyway, it is not a good idea to leave things that late. Agile development should embrace the ability to be able to deliver the software with a high certainty that it will work as intended. Delivering working increments for the customer and users to evaluate is a big part of the approach. However, the relationship with customers and users can be damaged if these increments keep failing to meet the requirements. Furthermore, some customers just do not get round to trying out the increments when they are delivered, and thus the development team is getting no direct feedback from the customer about the quality of the system as it is being developed. Having the customer design the system tests is often proposed. Our experience is that this rarely works well unless the customers really know what testing is about. Customers know or should know the fundamental business processes involved and can therefore describe these in such a way as to provide a useful basis for constructing test sets. Testing is a very dif cult activity some (e.g., Myers, 1978) claim that it is harder than any other aspect of the development process anyone can write a set of tests, but designing ef cient and effective tests that can give you a very high level of con dence about the behavior of the software is a major challenge. Why would customers know how to do this Very few programmers do unless they have a lot of experience, often honed by big mistakes they have made in their past! Where do we begin Many test tools and methods assume the existence of some code to form the basis of the tests. This is something we do not have. So what do we have The machine-based model we started to develop in the past chapter will be very useful when it comes to nding good system test sets. If we can build a machine diagram like Fig. 7.1 and relate all the main requirements to it, we can then create some very powerful test cases. We developed our model for two main reasons. First, it was to try to understand, from the point of view of the behavior of the system, how it all t together and mapped onto the requirements. Second, we will use it to generate test sets that will be fundamental to how we will establish that the system works. Our model was based on identifying a set of states and the operations (functions) that operated between the states. Recall the diagram from 6 (see Fig. 7.1). We will consider how to create test sets that will systematically exercise the system. An obvious starting point is to try to check out the paths through this system (machine); this means looking for the conditions and activities that will force the system through paths made up of sequences or arrows. This we will do, and then we will consider how such path sets could be turned into test sets. Suppose that we start with the system in the start state. Recall that our system also contains an internal memory component that needs to be considered. Let s assume
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