On October 15th Michelle Davidson, site editor for SearchSoftwareQuality.com, in her newsletter “This Week” made reference to a post that called software testing “a hated necessity.” I certainly have seen evidence of that over my years in software development and as an IT software specialist, and I really don’t understand why it persists. As an independent developer of applications for small companies, I do not normally have the luxury of having my work reviewed by another — absolutely the preferred methodology in my book.
For most of the development work that I do, initial testing is performed by myself, and then by my customer. Fortunately, most of the time, we are expecting the same results, and most often they are met. A development project is more often than not a fluid motion involving constant communication between developer and customer. However, being the lone developer on a project can have its pitfalls, especially when doing maintenance work on a project which was created years ago, before I “really” knew what I was doing. Maintenance work is what I tend to dread the most — not the testing. I know few developers who religiously comment their source code — and I’m as guilty as most.
“Maintainability” is generally accepted as one of the measures of software quality. I made reference to the project I’m doing for a long term customer of mine in my last blog post, and how I’ve had the opportunity to review “old” code and design in the process. (By the way — the customer reads this blog regularly). This code has definitely been a challenge to maintain — certainly giving me a new appreciation of the role maintainability plays in “software quality”.