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Lessons Learned in Software Testing: A Context-Driven Approach by Bret Pettichord, James Bach, Cem Kaner

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Chapter 3. Testing Techniques

What does a tester do? In the first two chapters, our answer has been sage and learned, we hope, but also rather abstract. It's time to get more specific. Where do tests come from? What do tests look like? This chapter is about testing techniques, but we won't define every technique in detail. For that, you'll have to go to the main textbooks on testing. We suggest Kaner, Falk, and Nguyen (1993), Jorgensen (1995), Beizer (1990), Marick (1995), Collard (forthcoming), and Hendrickson (forthcoming). Whittaker and Jorgensen's articles (1999 and 2000) and Whittaker (2002) also provide useful ideas.

This chapter reads differently from the other chapters in the book for two reasons.

  • First, the essential insight in this chapter is a structural one, a classification system that organizes the rest of the material. We placed this in the first lesson. The next five lessons list several techniques, but the primary purpose of those lists is to support the classification system. We provide this detail to make it easier for you to imagine how to apply the classification system to your work.

    This classification system synthesizes approaches that we have individually used and taught. Use this structure to decide which techniques are available and appropriate for a given problem and for generating ideas about combining techniques to attack a given problem efficiently.

    The lists of techniques sometimes contain detail beyond a quick description, but we saw that as optional. ...

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