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Showing posts from May, 2010

Writing About Testing wrapup

On May 20 and 21 some of the brightest people in the field of software testing met in Durango Colorado for the first ever Writing About Testing conference. We participated in a diverse set of activities: formal presentations, ad-hoc demonstrations, collaborative exercises, lightning talks, and informal discussions of topics of interest that ranged from the role of media, to finding the time to write.

I started my software testing career in the bad old days of the mid-1990s. Both Open Source software tools and agile methods were highly controversial at the time. And while many of us were doing amazing and innovative work, the entrenched culture of software development was highly skeptical that what we were accomplishing was valid, or even sane. I think there is a real danger of a return to those days, and I wanted to create a community where people working out on the edges of software creation could hone their ideas in a supportive community, and from what I saw at w-a-t, that commu…

watch your language

For a number of years I've been writing about treating great software development as a very specialized subspecies of the performing arts.

Some time ago I reviewed a piece of writing from a software person inspired by the concept of artistic software, but who had no background in the arts at all. It showed: the most egregious error was that instead of using the term "performing arts", this person used the term "performance art". The rest of the piece was earnest but the author's lack of expertise (in art, not in software) was painfully obvious.

The performing arts are music, theater, and dance. Performance art, on the other hand, can be dangerous stuff.

But artistic software development is only a minor representative of a number of new concepts in the field bubbling madly just behind the zeitgeist. For example, methods of harnessing immense amount of data in order to make them comprehensible to human beings are about to change all of our lives, both in so…