Monday, July 01, 2002

Quality and Testing. Rarely do I stray far from these topics, and the reason I am back in this entry is to share an excellent book titled Software Quality and Software Testing in Internet Times.

This book is a collection of papers that address the full spectrum of testing issues and challenges in rapid development/rapid deployment environments. Although the title implies that this book is about quality and testing of web applications, many of the papers go well beyond that narrow scope.

The papers are divided into five categories:

  1. Managing for Optimal Time to Market. This categories contains an obligatory paper on high-speed web testing, which does address the key challenges. However, two of the papers are exceptional: Using QA for Risk Management in Web Projects drives home the relationship between QA and project risk, and Establishing Quality Procedures for Incremental Software Development is essential reading for anyone who needs to integrate testing into methodologies such as the Rational Unified Process or any other incremental/rapid development approach.
  2. Processes. This section of the book has papers covering topics ranging from how to use Extreme Programming to manage project risks to adapting test processes to web applications. In many respects the papers in this section capture the essence of the book's theme.
  3. Testing from the User's Perspective. This is my favorite section, especially the papers on business oriented testing for e-commerce and the paper titled "Strategic Testing: Focus on the Business". All of the material here reinforces my own experience and observations, and clearly shows the relationships among meeting business requirements, quality and project success.
  4. Technical Testing. Test professionals will get the most from this section because it provides techniques. My favorite is "Securing E-Business" because this important aspect of testing is usually given superficial treatment (if it's covered at all) in most testing books. Another paper I liked in this section is "The Back-End Side of Web Testing: Integration of Legacy Systems", which is applicable to enterprise application integration and e-business system testing. In addition to papers on testing techniques, other aspects of quality are covered in this section, such as performance monitoring (more aligned to capacity planning and performance management than testing, but certainly applicable to quality and service level management).
  5. Test Automation Techniques and Tools contains a single paper titled "Automated Testing of mySAP Business Processes". If you're involved in web-enabled ERP or portal quality this paper is a treasure.
Although this book is an anthology, the topics and editing make it coherent and focused. It is not a book that covers quality or testing as a unified methodology. If you're seeking such a book read Quality Web Systems: Performance, Security, and Usability by Elfriede Dustin, Jeff Rashka and Douglas McDiarmid does go into details and is one of the best books on end-to-end web systems quality.

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