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Skimming the Surface

by Neil Hudson

Neil Hudson

We have just hit something that occurs time and time again; that is testing the interface without looking at what is going on below the surface. It is often in the depths that the really important stuff occurs and yet this is where we often find no one is looking.

The source of this frustation was a set of user account maintenance tests. The first one was a test that deleted a users account. It had steps to do so and implicit check that the system said it was doing what you asked. Quite how good a test it was of the request functionality I am not really sure and not really concerned about. What is concerning is the rather fundamental fact that there was no follow-up activity to check that the account was actually deleted. Fine the system (hopefully) said is was doing what was asked of it but not checking that it had actually gone is a fundamental flaw in the test approach.

The issue highlights the need for a systematic test design practice and this in turn demands professional test designers and an appropriate design method. Adhoc - just write down the steps and annotate with the expected results - test writing is one of the reasons tests come out like this.