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The Art of Software Testing, 3rd Edition by Tom Badgett, Corey Sandler, Glenford J. Myers

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Chapter 2

The Psychology and Economics of Software Testing

Software testing is a technical task, yes, but it also involves some important considerations of economics and human psychology.

In an ideal world, we would want to test every possible permutation of a program. In most cases, however, this simply is not possible. Even a seemingly simple program can have hundreds or thousands of possible input and output combinations. Creating test cases for all of these possibilities is impractical. Complete testing of a complex application would take too long and require too many human resources to be economically feasible.

In addition, the software tester needs the proper attitude (perhaps “vision” is a better word) to successfully test a software application. In some cases, the tester's attitude may be more important than the actual process itself. Therefore, we will start our discussion of software testing with these issues before we delve into the more technical nature of the topic.

The Psychology of Testing

One of the primary causes of poor application testing is the fact that most programmers begin with a false definition of the term. They might say:

“Testing is the process of demonstrating that errors are not present.”

“The purpose of testing is to show that a program performs its intended functions correctly.”

“Testing is the process of establishing confidence that a program does what it is supposed to do.”

These definitions are upside down.

When you test a program, you want ...

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