Beautiful Testing
Leading Professionals Reveal How They Improve Software
By Adam Goucher, Tim Riley
Publisher: O'Reilly Media
Final Release Date: October 2009
Pages: 350

Successful software depends as much on scrupulous testing as it does on solid architecture or elegant code. But testing is not a routine process, it's a constant exploration of methods and an evolution of good ideas.

Beautiful Testing offers 23 essays from 27 leading testers and developers that illustrate the qualities and techniques that make testing an art. Through personal anecdotes, you'll learn how each of these professionals developed beautiful ways of testing a wide range of products -- valuable knowledge that you can apply to your own projects.

Here's a sample of what you'll find inside:

  • Microsoft's Alan Page knows a lot about large-scale test automation, and shares some of his secrets on how to make it beautiful
  • Scott Barber explains why performance testing needs to be a collaborative process, rather than simply an exercise in measuring speed
  • Karen Johnson describes how her professional experience intersected her personal life while testing medical software
  • Rex Black reveals how satisfying stakeholders for 25 years is a beautiful thing
  • Mathematician John D. Cook applies a classic definition of beauty, based on complexity and unity, to testing random number generators

All author royalties will be donated to the Nothing But Nets campaign to save lives by preventing malaria, a disease that kills millions of children in Africa each year.

This book includes contributions from:

  • Adam Goucher
  • Linda Wilkinson
  • Rex Black
  • Martin Schröder
  • Clint Talbert
  • Scott Barber
  • Kamran Khan
  • Emily Chen
  • Brian Nitz
  • Remko Tronçon
  • Alan Page
  • Neal Norwitz
  • Michelle Levesque
  • Jeffrey Yasskin
  • John D. Cook
  • Murali Nandigama
  • Karen N. Johnson
  • Chris McMahon
  • Jennitta Andrea
  • Lisa Crispin
  • Matt Heusser
  • Andreas Zeller
  • David Schuler
  • Tomasz Kojm
  • Adam Christian
  • Tim Riley
  • Isaac Clerencia

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O'Reilly MediaBeautiful Testing
 
4.4

(based on 5 reviews)

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    (3)

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    (1)

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100%

of respondents would recommend this to a friend.

Pros

  • Well-written (4)
  • Easy to understand (3)

Cons

    Best Uses

    • Intermediate (5)
    • Novice (4)
      • Reviewer Profile:
      • Developer (5), Designer (3), Educator (3)

    Reviewed by 5 customers

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    (1 of 1 customers found this review helpful)

     
    5.0

    Thoughtful Testing

    By Alejandro Cabrera

    from Duluth, GA, USA

    About Me Designer, Developer, Educator

    Verified Reviewer

    Pros

    • Accurate
    • Easy to understand
    • Helpful examples
    • Well-written

    Cons

    • Not comprehensive enough

    Best Uses

    • Expert
    • Intermediate
    • Novice
    • Student

    Comments about O'Reilly Media Beautiful Testing:

    Disclaimer: I've read portions of the book, not all of it. I'll specify these sections as I review. I'm reviewing the eBook version. (The PDF is great!). I received this product as a gift from O'Reilly for participating in a Velocity survey.

    To begin with, I found that this book is very friendly to jump into any chapter at any time - there are no ordering dependencies. This is very nice, since at times I'll be more interested in the business aspect and at others I want to do a technical deep dive. The quality of the writing has also been mostly solid so far. The author's passions shine through in most cases, and there has only been one section where it felt like the writing was too dry.

    There are three parts to this book: Beautiful Testers, Beautiful Process, and Beautiful Tools. I found this division into tracks to be very effective, and further facilitates jumping in depending on one's mood and needs.

    In preparation to review this book, I read the following chapters:
    1. Was It Good For You?
    3. Building Open Source QA Communities
    4. Collaboration is the Cornerstone of Beautiful Performance Testing
    14. Test-Driven Development: Driving New Standards of Beauty
    15. Beautiful Testing as the Cornerstone of Business Success
    17. Beautiful Testing is Efficient Testing

    "Was It Good For You?" is an opinionated and energizing introduction to this book. In this chapter, Linda Wilkinson attempts to define what a tester is and what value a tester brings to the table. It felt like a keynote at a major conference, and left me feeling a little inspired after I read through it. Even though there are no ordering dependencies, I highly recommend starting at this chapter. It adds a lot to the book.

    "Building Open Source QA Communities" is an interesting tale of what it takes to get volunteers involved and engaged, and what it takes to lose them. It was a memorable read.

    "...Beautiful Performance Testing" is all about working with others. It tells a story about how difficult things can be when miscommunication arises, and how a little effort in collaboration goes a long way towards really understanding the requirements. The back-and-forth dynamics detailed in the chapter make for an entertaining read.

    The three chapters in the Beautiful Processes part of the book dove in. Chapter 17 was particularly pleasant to read. It was concise and humorous, and presented a neat mnemonic for determining testing priority (SLIME).

    I've not read any part of the Beautiful Tools section of the book, but the chapter on "Testing Network Services in Multimachine Scenarios" looks particularly interesting.

    Another note about the book overall: there are many great diagrams throughout, in full color. These make for convenient print-outs that summarize the knowledge in a chapter!

    What could be better? I feel like the balance between parts could have been a bit better. I would have appreciated a little more on the side of Beautiful Tools. The landscape of testing tools only continues to grow. In fact, if another edition of this book is ever released, that would be at the top of my wishlist for new content!

     
    4.0

    My First 'Beautiful' Compilation Book

    By Jon

    from Las Vegas, NV

    About Me Developer

    Verified Reviewer

    Pros

    • Well-written

    Cons

      Best Uses

      • Intermediate
      • Novice

      Comments about O'Reilly Media Beautiful Testing:

      I finally sat down to read my first essay compilation book from O'Reilly that deals with Software Development, "Beautiful Testing." The essays are grouped into one of three categories, "Testers", "Process", or "Tools. I found the group of essays around Testers to be the most interesting as the essays focused more on the testing and Software Quality Assurance community as a whole rather than actually the implementation of testing processes and tools.

      The first essay, "Was it good for you?" by Linda Wilkinson focuses on the need for a quality assurance program that balances the needs of software testing but not at the expense of the overall project. The author warns against making the quality assurance engineer as the gatekeeper of the project as in many cases it is not cost effective to fix every bug identified within an application. I have personally seen the use of testers as gatekeepers in many organizations. Often the development teams find routes that go around a difficult process to avoid testing when the process itself is too structured and rigorous.

      Overall, I would recommend reading "Beautiful Testing" to any Project Manager, Software Development Manager, or QA Engineer. Also anyone that is looking to get their feet wet with XMPP, there is a nice short essay introducing the protocols. I found this to be helpful since I had not really read anything about the protocol until picking up this book.

      I also plan to read more of the essay compilation series books like Beautiful Code and Data in the near future.

      (2 of 2 customers found this review helpful)

       
      5.0

      Beautiful case studies and essays

      By N. Martin

      from Columbus, OH

      About Me Developer

      Verified Reviewer

      Pros

      • Easy to understand
      • Something for everyone
      • Well-written

      Cons

      • Sometimes too focused

      Best Uses

      • Any software professional
      • Expert
      • Intermediate
      • Novice
      • Student

      Comments about O'Reilly Media Beautiful Testing:

      As a software developer, I see the importance of good testing on a day to day basis. It is the essential piece of the puzzle that ensures that your efforts bare fruit in terms of business value. However, I also see it as the most neglected and poorly implemented aspect of producing software - at least with some of the projects and environments I worked on (and, sadly, I certainly haven't always been an exception).

      Having read this book my drive to improve the testing practices, procedures, and tools has been dramatically invigorated. Of particular interest to me, because they tie more directly with the work I do on a day to day basis, were the chapters on agile development, continuous integration, automated testing, and the associated tools. Chapter 14, "Test-Driven Development: Driving New Standards of Beauty" and "Beautiful Testing as the Cornerstone of Business Success" were truly awe-inspiring. They drew a picture in my mind of the perfect development environment, and even give somewhat of a road-map to get there.

      Some of the chapters were excellent for their high level breadth. Chapter 2, "Beautiful Testing Satisfies Stakeholders" and chapter 6, "Bug Management and Test Case Effectiveness" gives you a good sense of the value proposition of a good testing foundation.

      Others were a real joy to read (well...I guess if you're a geek). Chapter 1 was an entertaining, yet insightful, view into the mind of a tester. Chapter 12 was dramatic and really made you feel the weight of the pressure to make sure the testing was impeccable. One of my favorite chapters was "Software Development is a Creative Process", chapter 13. This chapter distilled how I feel about development.

      There were a few chapter that didn't give me much value. Many of the chapters were very narrowly focused on a specific technology or project, and didn't do enough, in my opinion, to relate the chapter to the larger scope. Chapter 21, "Web Application Testing With Windmill" read almost like marketing material for the product. I also didn't get much out of "Beautiful XMPP Testing" (chapter 6) and "Testing a Random Number Generator" (chapter 10). These chapter, however, really didn't detract from the overall superb quality of the writing or high value of the information contained in this book - not to mention that it is probably a matter of perspective.

      If you are involved in any aspect of software development, you should consider this required reading. The knowledge and insight taken out of this book will certainly make me more effective professionally.

      (2 of 2 customers found this review helpful)

       
      3.0

      An extensive overview

      By Java Artisan

      from Hasselt, Belgium

      About Me Designer, Developer, Educator

      Verified Reviewer

      Pros

      • Concise
      • Helpful examples

      Cons

      • Sometimes too heavy
      • Too basic

      Best Uses

      • Intermediate

      Comments about O'Reilly Media Beautiful Testing:

      I would recommend this book to experienced people involved in software development; willing to take the leap towards developing quality software. Whether they're managers, developers, analysts, etc... It's the right book to read when you're looking for a one-volume overview of the various aspects and techniques available today. I wouldn't use this book as a reference however. It's too high-level for that.

      Each of the 23 sections is a story about the implementation of software testing in a particular project; in a way that is "beautiful" to the author(s) of the section. The level of the sections varies from academic (ie. testing pseudo-random number generation) to specific (ie. QA of the Python language) and from abstract (ie quality statistical metrics) to practical (ie implementing TDD). Hence, depending on the reader's level, some sections are easy- and others will be difficult to read.

      Testing is not only about tools and methods. It's also about people and organisations implementing it. Also about the fact the will to invest in quality and perseverance is required to achieve quality.

      The book does a really good job in showing the reader the many aspects of software testing. Personally I didn't suspect testing is that extensive. However, practical sections of the book should have been longer to allow the author(s) to elaborate. Ten pages on average may be enough for abstract subjects but they're not for technical matters.

      What I learned from this book:
      * Testing is an extensive domain.
      * Implementing quality will get you nowhere unless it is backed by the management and part of your state of mind.
      * People have to be trained to do it.
      * There are references I'll be investigating.

      (3 of 3 customers found this review helpful)

       
      5.0

      Great book on testing

      By Frank Stepanski

      from Philadelphia, PA

      About Me Designer, Developer, Educator

      Pros

      • Accurate
      • Concise
      • Easy to understand
      • Well-written

      Cons

        Best Uses

        • Intermediate
        • Novice

        Comments about O'Reilly Media Beautiful Testing:

        Beautiful TEsting is written by a number of talented testers, developers and engineers. It is unique book since it does not focus one area of testing but gives the readers lot of different points of view with case studies, experience reports, and war stories that give valuable insight a normal book could not have given.

        Personally, I have always thought as testng as something you have to do when you finish a software build but its just a necessary evil and does not really contribute to the real work which is building software for our client(s). But the theme of many of these chapters in this book is how you can make testing a part of your development life cycle and really incorporate the data that has been gathered in testing to you next release.

        There is so much information in this book, it is hard to grasp it all so I recommend focusing on a few sections where it relates to your job position at work. Some essays are general that be applied to almost any developer or tester, then other chpaters are more specific such as the chapter on large scale automation, or XMPP, etc. But even so, the book reads so well rom chapter to chapter you will find yourself continuing to read as it leads itself to learning more and more about the different aspects of testing like an unfolding story.

        I found that after reading a good part of the book, I really started to value testing a lot more and understood how valuable it really can be. The book is not written like a pure technical book, but the authors write in clear-easy to understand way that non-techinical people like testers (and not-software developers) can understand easily. I found myself stopping and starting as I was reading writing down lots of links to software and tools that I want to check out for my own testing needs. So I never thought this book was a hard-read, more like an interesting story.

        This type of writing style by multiple authors I wish was done more with other books as most read like a boring college textbookor reference book that puts you to sleep after 30 minutes. I never thought I'd enjoy reading a book on testing, but I did, and I highly recommend it for anybody who does testing now or as part of their job (software or web developer, engineer, etc.)

        Another extra bonus of buying this book is that all author royalties will be donated to the Nothing But Nets campaign to save lives by preventing malaria, a disease that kills millions of children in Africa each year. So its a win-win for everybody...

        Get it!

        Chapter break down:

        Chapter 1 : Was It Good for You?
        Chapter 2 : Beautiful Testing Satisfies Stakeholders
        Chapter 3 : Building Open Source QA Communities
        Chapter 4 : Collaboration Is the Cornerstone of Beautiful Performance Testing
        Chapter 5 : Just Peachy: Making Office Software More Reliable with Fuzz Testing
        Chapter 6 : Bug Management and Test Case Effectiveness
        Chapter 7 : Beautiful XMPP Testing
        Chapter 8 : Beautiful Large-Scale Test Automation
        Chapter 9 : Beautiful Is Better Than Ugly
        Chapter 10 : Testing a Random Number Generator
        Chapter 11 : Change-Centric Testing
        Chapter 12 : Software in Use
        Chapter 13 : Software Development Is a Creative Process
        Chapter 14 : Test-Driven Development: Driving New Standards of Beauty
        Chapter 15 : Beautiful Testing As the Cornerstone of Business Success
        Chapter 16 : Peeling the Glass Onion at Socialtext
        Chapter 17 : Beautiful Testing Is Efficient Testing
        Chapter 18 : Seeding Bugs to Find Bugs: Beautiful Mutation Testing
        Chapter 19 : Reference Testing As Beautiful Testing
        Chapter 20 : Clam Anti-Virus: Testing Open Source with Open Tools
        Chapter 21 : Web Application Testing with Windmill
        Chapter 22 : Testing One Million Web Pages
        Chapter 23 : Testing Network Services in Multimachine Scenarios

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