Book Review : Software System Testing and Quality Assurance


Software System Testing and Quality Assurance

  • Author: Boris Beizer
  • Publisher:
  • Published: 1984
  • Edition: 1
  • Pages:
  • Target Audience :audience
  • Contents:

    1 Introduction
    2 Bugs in Perspective
    3 Overview of Test Techniques
    4 Unit Testing, Element Testing, and Quality Assurance
    6 System Testing
    7 Configuration, Recovery, and Security Testing
    8 Background, Stress, and Performance Testing
    9 Quantitative Methods
    10 Achieving Quality Software
    Annotated References

Review Date:  17/10/2001 16:36:23
Short Summary:
Deadly serious, hugely informative, this is the funniest testing book ever written
Short Description:
Deadly serious 

Beizer has a sense of humour that cuts like acid and he unleashes it fully in this text. Both "Software Testing Techniques" and "Black-Box Testing" have moments of humour, but nothing compared to the comedy in store for the reader of this volume.

Some of the text seems a little dated now, 17 years later, but focusing on the principles rather than the references to Fortran and punched cards will do wonders. Sadly many of the anecdotal stories are still being enacted afresh on new projects with new staff unaware of the historic nature of their play.

I always find it difficult to summarise a Beizer book because of the vast amount of information contained. I could dismiss chapters 1 and 2 as introductions that wrestle with the need for definitions and taxonomies and unless this is the readers first testing book they will no doubt have encountered the material in different form elsewhere. But elsewhere they would have been done in a different style and possibly less honesty.

Chapter 3 is a summary of "Software Testing Techniques", but who could ever read enough about path, flow, syntax, logic and state transition testing. These are good short summaries of the techniques with discussions of their pros and cons and extra commentary not present in the companion volume.

A wealth of techniques, methods, pitfalls, advice and commentary is presented in the chapters on unit, integration, system, configuration, and stress testing which make up over half the book. Every chapter has notes to the QA organisation of how they could approach the implementation of the provided material. Integration testing is covered in the most down to earth style I have read in a testing tome. The security material seems to gather more relevance in the internet development age when development teams are relearning the hard way, the need for the techniques associated with making systems secure.

Metrics are covered in Quantitative Methods, again looking at the pros and cons.

Finally the last chapter pulls it all together and is worth the price of admission alone. I obviously can't recommend a book solely on its last chapter but I don't need to, the rest of the book has more than enough to recommend it.

Many of the trials and tribulations that a tester can expect to face are discussed in chapter 10 and the organisational aspects of testing teams is dealt with pragmatically. Hopefully the beginning test manager can be saved from learning this stuff the hard way.

Beizer's books have been described to me in the past as overly technical and not usable in the real world. This is undoubtedly a reflection of those people I have been speaking to as I have found all of Beizer's books to be incredibly useful, although they are often complex and require study. Pragmatism, however, is the theme that runs through this book, the pages have been honed in the school of hard knocks and experience of bad projects is clearly writ here, ready to learn from.

Still relevant, still readable and probably getting funnier. Read this book.