Posted by Harry Robinson, Software Engineer in Test
Several readers have commented that our current blog slogan, "Life is too short for manual testing," implies that we don't value manual and exploratory testing. In fact, we are big fans of exploratory testing, and we intended the message to be liberating, not insulting.
Manual testing can find bugs quickly and with little overhead in the short run. But it can be expensive and exhausting in a long project. And manual testing is gated by how fast and long humans can work. Running millions of test sequences and combinations by hand would take longer than most people's lifetimes - life is literally too short for manual testing to reach all the bugs worth reaching.
We originally featured the "Life is too short ..." slogan on T-shirts at the Google London Test Automation Conference. One theme of that conference was that it makes sense to get machines to do some of the heavy lifting in software testing, leaving human testers free to do the kinds of testing that people do well.
If you'd like to find out more about computer-assisted testing, check out the LTAC videos as well as Cem Kaner's excellent STAR 2004 presentation on High Volume Test Automation . And if you can wait a bit, I will be doing a talk on "The Bionic Exploratory Tester" at CAST 2007 in Bellevue, Washington, in July.
I asked Jon Bach 's opinion on the slogan, and he suggested that what we are really trying to say is:
Life's too short to only use an approach for testing that relies solely on a human's ability to execute a series of mouse clicks and keystrokes when the processing power that makes computers so useful can be leveraged to execute these tests, freeing testers from especially mundane or repetitive testing so that their brains can be used for higher order tests that computers can't do yet.
I agree, but it would've been a heck of a T-shirt. :-)
Testing is about being willing to try different approaches and entertain different perspectives, so a single slogan can't do it justice. We are planning to feature different slogans on a regular basis, and already have a few of our favorites lined up. If you've got a slogan to share, we'd love to hear it. Post it in the comments below or email us.