Mapping Biases to Testing: the Anchoring Effect

Dear reader, welcome back to the Mapping Biases to Testing series. Today it is my pleasure to discuss the first bias in this series: the Anchoring Effect. Before we start mapping that to testing, I want to make sure that we have a clear understanding of what the anchoring effect is. 

Anchoring is a cognitive bias that describes the common human tendency to rely too heavily on the first piece of information offered (the "anchor") when making decisions. During decision making, anchoring occurs when individuals use an initial piece of information to make subsequent judgments. Once an anchor is set, other judgments are made by adjusting away from that anchor, and there is a bias toward interpreting other information around the anchor. For example, the initial price offered for a used car sets the standard for the rest of the negotiations, so that prices lower than the initial price seem more reasonable even if they are still higher than what the car is really worth.”

I highlighted the important parts. Decision making is something we constantly have to do during testing, and it is important to realise which anchors might affect you. Also, to make this clear, I think ‘testing’ is not just the act of doing a test session, but thinking about everything that involves quality. You can apply a testing mindset to all that is needed to make software: the process, the specifications, the way the team works, etc. Read more →

Automated UI Testing with React Native on iOS

React Native is a technology to develop mobile apps on iOS and Android that have a near-native feel, all from one codebase. It is a very promising technology, but the documentation on testing can use some more depth. There are some pointers in the docs but they leave you wanting more. In this blog post I will show you how to use XCUITest to record and run automated UI tests on iOS.
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Robot Framework and the keyword-driven approach to test automation - Part 2 of 3

In part 1 of our three-part post on the keyword-driven approach, we looked at the position of this approach within the history of test automation frameworks. We elaborated on the differences, similarities and interdependencies between the various types of test automation frameworks. This provided a first impression of the nature and advantages of the keyword-driven approach to test automation.

In this post, we will zoom in on the concept of a 'keyword'.

What are keywords? What is their purpose? And what are the advantages of utilizing keywords in your test automation projects? And are there any disadvantages or risks involved?Read more →

Mapping biases to testing, Part 1: Introduction

We humans are weird. We think we can produce bug free software. We think we can plan projects. We think we can say “I’ve tested everything”. But how is that possible when we are governed by biases in our thinking? We simply cannot think about everything in advance, although we like to convince ourselves that we can (confirmation bias). 

In his book “Thinking, Fast and Slow”, Daniel Kahneman explains the most common thinking biases and fallacies. I loved the book so much I’ve read it twice and I’ll tell anyone who wants to listen to read it too. For me it is the best book I ever read on testing. That’s right, a book that by itself has nothing to do with testing, taught me most about it. Before I read the book I wasn’t aware of all the biases and fallacies that are out there. Sure, I noticed that projects always finished late and wondered why people were so big on planning when it never happened that way, but I didn’t know why people kept believing in their excel sheets. In that sense, “Thinking, Fast and Slow” was a huge eye opener for me. There are lots of examples in the book that I answered incorrectly, proving that I’m just as gullible as the next person. Read more →

Calling For A New Breed Of Testing Conferences

The way in which testing is organized is changing heavily. And rightfully so. Testing should no longer be treated as a separate phase, but rather should be fully embedded within the software delivery life cycle. These developments significantly impact the role of automation in testing, the team collaboration, and how the testing discipline should be cherished and continuously improved.

C'mon, guys! GO GO GO!

Testing should be reinvented and, honestly, testers may need to reinvent themselves. The proper skill set of a tester is expanding towards the technical side in which hands-on knowledge is needed. This need may be covered by competence development through training programmes, but we all know that most knowledge and inspiration is obtained on the job. Yet, we are only at the beginning of making seminars and conferences address this need for practical experience. C'mon, guys! GO GO GO!

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Robot Framework and the keyword-driven approach to test automation - Part 1 of 3

Hans Buwalda is generally credited with the introduction of the keyword-driven paradigm of functional test automation, initially calling it the 'action word' approach.

This approach tackled certain fundamental problems pertaining to the efficiency of the process of creating test code (mainly the lack of reuse) and the maintainability, readability and robustness of that code. Problems surrounding these aspects frequently led to failed automation efforts. The keyword-driven framework therefore was (and is) a quantum leap forward, providing a solution to these problems by facilitating the application of modularity, abstraction and other design patterns to the automation code.

Robot Framework (RF) can be regarded as the epitome of this type of automation framework. Our first post on the RF concentrated on the high-level design of the platform. In this second of our three-part series of introductory-level posts, we will take a closer look at what the keyword-driven approach to test automation is all about.

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Learning about test automation with Lego

“Hold on, did you say that I can learn about test automation by playing with Lego? Shut up and take my money!” Yes, I am indeed saying that you can. It will cost you a couple hundred Euro’s, because Lego isn’t cheap, especially the Mindstorm EV3 Lego. It turns out that Lego robots eat at a lot of AA batteries, so buy a couple of packs of these as well. On the software side you need to have a computer with a Java development environment and an IDE of your choice (the free edition of IntelliJ IDEA will do). 

“Okay, hold on a second. Why do you need Java? I thought Lego had its own programming language?”. Yes, that’s true. Orginally, Lego provides you with their own visual programming language. I mean, the audience for the EV3 is actually kids, but it will be our little secret. Because Lego is awesome, even for adults. Some hero made a Java library that can communicate with the EV3 hardware, LeJos, so you can do more awesome stuff with it. Another hero dedicated a whole website to his Mindstorm projects, including instructions on how to build them.

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Preparing hands-on conferences: to USB or not to USB

On Friday, October 2nd, Xebia organized the inaugural edition of TestWorks Conf. The conference was born out of the apparent need for a hands-on test automation conference in the Netherlands. Early on, we decided that having a high level of engagement from the participants was key in achieving this. Thus, the idea of making everything hands-on was born. Not only did we have workshops throughout the day, people also should be enabled to code along with the speakers during talks.This however posed a challenge on the logistical side of things: How to make sure that everyone has the right tooling and code available on their laptops?

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Future of Testing and Automation: The role of the tester in 2020

Last week, the first TestWorks Conf was held in Amsterdam. This hands-on conference featured a plethora of test automation tools and allowed the participants to gain practical experience with them. Since we feel and expect that all participants will take next steps towards improving their test automation practices, we decided to take a glance into the future and discuss the future of testing and automation together with Alan Richardson.

In a series of blogposts, we would like to share parts of our vision on testing and automation in the near future. First stop will be: the role of the tester in 2020.

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Robot Framework - The unsung hero of test automation

The open source Robot Framework (RF) is a generic, keyword- and data-driven test automation framework for acceptance test driven development (ATDD). As such it stands alongside similar, but more well-known frameworks, like FitNesse, Cucumber, et alia. The (relative) unfamiliarity of the testing community with the RF is undeserved, since the RF facilitates powerful and yet simple test automation against a variety of interfaces and features some distinct advantages when compared to those other frameworks.

In a series of blogposts, we would like to make a case for the Robot Framework, by showing its greatness through a number of hands-on examples from my upcoming workshop. Next to demonstrating its advantages and strengths we will also expose some of its drawbacks and limitations, as well as touch upon certain risks that flow from harnessing some of its unique features.

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