If you change one line of code in a large application, should you retest the entire application?
The initial reaction from most people is:
“You’re kidding! No way. It’s Friday afternoon, let’s go to the pub and watch Chelsea. Let the testing team take care of it Monday. Beside it is not my responsibility; I am a developer.”
You can see why people are not thrilled by the idea of retesting an application for small changes. It’s a lot of work. Computer programmers have tools built into their development environment that can test units of code, but it does not typically do functional testing.
Someone has to execute a lengthy series of actual business scenarios to make sure the system works. One cannot have the cash register spitting out the wrong change or the shipping system shipping the wrong product to the wrong customer.
Real storyConsider this disaster: In Spanish, French, and some other languages the comma character is used in place of the decimal point, as opposed to separating multiples of one thousand. One online retail company failed to test the order-entry system after making a change. So a retailer listed expensive Nikon cameras for $5,000 typing in “5,000” when they should have written “5.000”. Perhaps he was English, working in Spain.
You guessed it! The software did not recognize that this was a Spanish-speaking location. So the retailer ended up selling dozens of cameras for $5 each, until they realised their mistake. The consumer protection bureau made them stick to the price charged with each customer, so the company lost quite a bit of money!
There is a better wayDevelopment shops can make small or large changes and then go for that beer on Friday, leaving work concerns for next week. There are automated UI testing tools to run through the entire testing scenarios when changes are introduced into the system. These run tests on individual lines of code or individual subroutines. Plus they test functional scenarios. There are even semi-natural-language tools that let functional testers write statements into the system using plain English. When any test fails, a developer is automatically notified and assigned to fix the problem.
So there is no need to skip over testing or do testing manually when software changes introduced into production systems as long as proper tools are in place.
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