Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Software testing compared with making music

Have you ever been in a situation when you see a music instrument you tending to touch it? And did you made some sounds though you are not able to play that instrument? Did you also hope nobody saw and heard you? Still you kept playing a bit around. Something like approaching the piano and touch some keys? Or handling the guitar and stroke some snares?

I have to say I did and sometimes I still do. It was fun doing so, only I want to learn and understand it myself. Therefore I recently started to play the Electric Bass.

Instead of starting learning notes I start learning to play the bass. The initial lesson was learning to handle the bass and get some basic sounds out of it. The teacher introduced me in the world of tabulature. Wikipedia mention the following about Tabulature: "Tablature (or Tabulature) is a form of musical notation, which tells players where to place their fingers on a particular instrument rather than which pitches to play."

This notation method helped me to make some sound also on my own. As it though me were to place my fingers and make some "music". It only did not help me with the speed of playing the sound. (Still most of the numbers go to fast for me. Or should I say: I practice to less to get up with the speed of music.)

After a few lessons the teacher thought me about other notation methods like mentioning the notes of the music scale. Came up with other terms like quint, octave etc. Initially it seems to me as higher mathematics. Only it is fun as a new world of listening to and understanding music opened it selves for me. Even the easier child tunes were fun to play as there is more behind it.

I think software testing is quite similar. If you have no experience in the world of testing and you are asked to test a piece of software you also sit behind the PC and touch some keys, hoping no one will see you.

If you choose to learn more about software testing you will see that there is much more behind this profession. You have different ways of defining your test cases. You can compare the testing techniques as the different notation methods for writing music. You also don't start with the difficult parts. And your speed of defining will increase after a lot of practice. Also in certain circumstances defining your cases is more like higher mathematics. The challenge also in testing and defining your cases is that others also understand what you are doing. Sometimes you have to use the formal notation of and sometimes you just write down the basic and explain what you have done.

Sometimes you play solo and sometimes you do it as part of a band. You can be in the lead or you are supporting the band with your instrument and skills.

Can you compare software testing with making music? I think so. I mentioned some similarities and of course there are much more. There or more ways to perform your testing as long as you understand what you are doing and are able to explain to others what you are doing. It has to sound right and make sure it gives you fun. Both do it for me.

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