Software Testing, Second Edition provides practical insight into the world of software testing and quality assurance. Learn how to find problems in any computer program, how to plan an effective test approach and how to tell when software is ready for release. Updated from the previous edition in 2000 to include a chapter that specifically deals with testing software for security bugs, the processes and techniques used throughout the book are timeless. This book is an excellent investment if you want to better understand what your Software Test team does or you want to write better software.
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Ron Patton is a software consultant living in Washington State. His software test experience is wide and varied from mission critical systems to painting programs for kids. In 1992 he joined Microsoft as a Software Test Lead in the Systems Group for Multimedia Viewer, the authoring tool and multimedia display engine used by Encarta, Cinemania, and Bookshelf. He moved on to become the Software Test Manager of the Kids Product Unit. Most recently, he was the Software Test Manager of the Microsoft Hardware Group responsible for the software shipped with the mouse, keyboard, gaming, telephony, and ActiMates product lines.Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.:
It seems as though each day there's yet another news story about a computer software problem or security breach: a bank reporting incorrect account balances, a Mars lander lost in space, a grocery store scanner charging too much for bananas, or a hacker gaining access to millions of credit card numbers.
Why does this happen? Can't computer programmers figure out ways to make software just plain work? Unfortunately, no. As software gets more complex, gains more features, and is more interconnected, it becomes more and more difficult—actually, mathematically impossible—to create a glitch-free program. Despite how competent the programmers are and how much care is taken, there will always be software problems.
This is where software testing comes in. We've all found those little Inspector 12 tags in the pockets of our new clothes. Well, software has Inspector 12s, too. Most large software companies are so committed to quality they have one or more testers for each programmer. These jobs span the software spectrum from computer games to factory automation to business applications.
This book, Software Testing, will introduce you to the basics of software testing, teaching you not just the fundamental technical skills but also the supporting skills necessary to become a successful software tester. You will learn how to immediately find problems in any computer program, how to plan an effective test approach, how to clearly report your findings, and how to tell when your software is ready for release.
About the Second Edition
When I wrote the first edition of Software Testing, software security issues were just beginning to make the headlines. Hackers and security problems had always been a problem, but with the interconnectivity explosion that was about to occur, few in the industry could predict the impact that security bugs would have on developers and users of computer software.
In this second edition I've revisited every chapter to emphasize software security issues and point out how the basic testing techniques covered throughout the book can be used to prevent, find, and fix them. I've also added a chapter that specifically addresses how to test for software security bugs.
If you're a reader of the first edition, you know that no matter what you do, your software will still be released with bugs. As you'll learn in the second edition, this axiom still holds true—even for security problems. However, by applying the lessons taught in this book you'll go a long way towards assuring that the most important bugs don't slip through and that your team will create the highest quality and most secure software possible.
Who Should Use This Book?
This book is written for three different groups of people:
What This Book Will Do for You
In this book you will learn something about nearly every aspect of software testing:
Software Necessary to Use This Book
The methods presented in this book are generic and can be applied to testing any type of computer software. But, to make the examples familiar and usable by most people, they are based on simple programs such as Calculator, Notepad, and WordPad included with Windows XP and Windows NT/2000.
Even if you're using a Mac or a PC running Linux or another operating system, you will likely have similar programs available on your computer that you can easily adapt to the text. Be creative! Creativity is one trait of a good software tester.
Note - The examples used throughout this book of various applications, software bugs, and software test tools are in no way intended as an endorsement or a disparagement of the software. They're simply used to demonstrate the concepts of software testing.
How This Book Is Organized
This book is designed to lead you through the essential knowledge and skills necessary to become a good software tester. Software testing is not about banging on the keyboard hoping you'll eventually crash the computer. A great deal of science and engineering is behind it, lots of discipline and planning, and there can be lots of fun, too—as you'll soon see.
Part I: The Big Picture
The chapters in Part I lay the foundation for this book by showing you how software products are developed and how software testing fits into the overall development process. You'll see the importance of software testing and gain an appreciation for the magnitude of the job.
Part II: Testing Fundamentals
The chapters in Part II teach you the fundamental approaches to software testing. The work of testing software is divided into four basic areas, and you will see the techniques used for each one:
Part III: Applying Your Testing Skills
The chapters in Part III take the techniques that you learned in Part II and apply them to some real-world scenarios that you'll encounter as a software tester:
Part IV: Supplementing Your Testing
The chapters in Part IV show you how to improve your test coverage and capability by leveraging both technology and people to perform your testing more efficiently and effectively:
Part V: Working with Test Documentation
The chapters in Part V cover how software testing is documented so that its plans, bugs, and results can be seen and understood by everyone on the project team:
Part VI: The Future
The chapters in Part VI explain where the future lies in software testing and set the stage for your career:
Each chapter in this book ends with a short quiz where you can try out the testing concepts that you learn. The answers appear in Appendix A, "Answers to Quiz Questions."
Conventions Used in This Book
This book uses several common conventions to help teach software testing topics. Here's a summary of those typographical conventions:
In addition to typographical conventions, the following special elements are included to set off different types of information to make them easily recognizable.
Note - Special notes augment the material you read in each chapter. These notes clarify concepts and procedures.
Tip - You'll find various tips that offer shortcuts and solutions to common problems.
Reminder - Reminders refer to concepts discussed in previous chapters to help refresh your memory and reinforce important concepts.
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