September 15, 2010

Testing luminaries

This post has moved across two blogging platforms during its life. I preserve it here as a snapshot of my thinking about testing at the time I wrote it.

I’m passionate about software testing, so I’ve been truly inspired by finally getting to hear testing guru Michael Bolton speak and chat to him afterwards over pints in the pub. What a privilege - thanks Michael!

Michael’s in Ireland to conduct a couple of courses. Very generously, he agreed to devote an entire evening to presenting, at no charge - thank you Michael, Anne-Marie Charrett and SoftTest Ireland -  a talk on the topic of The Two Futures of Software Testing”. Michael’s a raconteur, highly sociable, very approachable and an authority on testing and many other topics. He’s my favourite kind of thinker, a synthesist. He’s an intellectual omnivore.

Michael dropped quite a few names during the talk. If you care about testing, all of these people are worth paying attention to — they’re helping to shape testing as a craft and put it on a solid intellectual foundation.There are plenty of writers on testing to be found on the web, and an enormous amount of what you’ll find is trite, shallow and inarticulate - so when you find out just how smart and iconoclastic the top testing thinkers are, it’s a real eye-opener.

I’ll namecheck Michael Bolton first: take a look at Michael’s blog and Twitter stream.

Michael works closely with James Bach, (@jamesmarcusbach) who’s a cantankerous, argumentative and highly intelligent commentator and testing innovator. His brother Jon Bach, (@jbtestpilot) with whom James works closely, is less abrasive and probably just as insightful. If you’re interested to know how to raise your profile in testing, James is the man to pay attention to - he’s probably the first testing writer and blogger to come up on the radar of testers curious to find other like-minded souls.

Cem Kaner (“Kem KANE ur” — glad to have got that one straight) is probably the most traditionally academic of this lot — he’s been a strong influence on Bolton and Bach. He’s not on Twitter but has been thinking deeply and writing about testing for decades.

Jerry Weinberg is the grand-daddy of testing and is enormously influential on each of the people I’ve mentioned.

Janet Gregory (@janetgregoryca) and Lisa Crispin (@lisacrispin) collaborated on the excellent book Agile Testing and are active bloggers and tweeters.

Ajay Balamurugadas (@ajay184f) is one of the co-founders of Weekend Testing, which has taken off in the last year. There are chapters in India, Europe and Australia. Find one in your timezone and join in!

There are plenty of other interesting and worthwhile testing people to be found on Twitter and across the blogosphere — start with the people I’ve mentioned and let them lead you to other interesting folks.

The secret of Twitter is to find a good client. If you use a Nokia phone running Symbian, I highly recommend Gravity — it’s actually better than any other client, desktop or mobile, that I’ve used so far. I miss it on Android - so if anyone can point me at a Twitter client that can equal Gravity, let me know!

For blogs, I use Google Reader. It aggregates all of the blogs you follow into one place and allows you to comfortably dip in when you can. There’s a mobile version of the Google Reader which works very well on simple phone browsers.

Lastly, you might have noticed that I haven’t said a single thing about the content on any of these testers’ blogs - that’s intentional! Check them out yourself. If you haven’t read anything by any of these folks yet, you’re in for a most delicious surprise at the quality of writing and depth of self-analysis going on in the field of testing.


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