Test Patterns

This will be the next-to-last week of my design patterns class, and I’m working on my final project. We were told to pick some category of design pattern and to do write-ups of the patterns in our category. Some of the example categories were security patterns, anti-patterns and concurrency patterns. I chose test patterns so it would be reusable for work.

So far, what I’ve found is that “test pattern” can mean just about anything in testing. In fact, I question whether there is really a difference between “test heuristic” and “test pattern.” It’s all just ways of categorizing abstract testing concepts that can reapplied in difference scenarios, right?

I looked up test patterns in How We Test Software at Microsoft who have also defined some of their own test patterns. In HWTSM they pretty much refer the reader to a great, fat, brick of a book titled, Testing Object-Oriented Systems by Robert Binder. I know that this book is a brick because I’ve purchased it and have been losing weight by carrying it around when I’m not reading through it. (Maybe Oprah should try this.)

This book not only has test patterns, but categorizes the test patterns into several chapters. Included are Results-Oriented Test Strategy, Classes, Reusable Components, Subsystems, Integration, Application Systems and Regression Testing. As an example, the Integration chapter contains the patterns Big-Bang Integration, Bottom-Up Integration, Top-down Integration, Collaboration Integration, Client/Server Integration, and a few more.

As I’ve been schlepping through this huge book, I’ve noticed just how technical and detailed it is. This leads to my next question, how many people use test patterns knowingly as test patterns? It’s not like most of us in testing trained for this, and the only place I’ve found straight up definitions of test patterns aside from the microsoft post is in this particular book. When I use Quality Center, it’s not like I’m separating out my tests by pattern or heuristic. Should I be? I’ve also read of testers who felt that their success was due to the fact that they weren’t following a pattern, but acting as a user. But then, isn’t that a pattern too?

I’ll post some of the stuff I’ve done for this project in a week or so. Very interested in what people think about using test patterns for testing.

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