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Testing By Poking Around

Namespace: SoftwareEng

Ad-hoc testing without script or particular real-life purpose is often called Testing By Poking Around. This is possibly the worst sort of testing since, almost by definition, little attention is paid to inputs, outputs, and overall process correctness. At best it verifies that the system doesn't crash while just exploring around.

A sloppy form of Manual Testing

However, there are new approaches of ad hoc testing discussed in the contect based testing community. They are called heuristics based testing and exploratory testing. Both have a good mission.

Heuristics based testing means using experience about where defects typically lurk, in order to design tests. People who are experienced testers may use heuristics in addition to the usual systematic test design methods. Heuristics are also a good technique if there are no specifications, i.e. if a product must be tested "as is".

Exploratory testing means designing tests, running tests and learning about the application by looking at the results, simultaneously. For example when running a test, one may observe a graphical output. The learning component then means one checks if such a graphical output will occur in other similar situations. Exploratory testing is a valuable addition to systematic techniques if the people doing it have experience with testing.
Contributors: Steven Black, Hans Schaefer
Category Testing Category Anti Pattern
( Topic last updated: 2005.09.07 09:36:48 AM )