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Thread: Agile programming (was Re: [P|C] Banksel)
face picon face BY : email (remove spam text)(Olin Lathrop)

Vitaliy wrote:
> Perhaps we're talking about different things? The tests I have in mind,
> normally test the high and low limits, plus some random value. For
> example, the following functions could be tested using this method:
> - CRC/checksum
> - Currency conversion
> - ASCII to Unicode
> - String to Hex

Those are all very simple function.  You'd probably stuff in a few manually
created test cases and manually check the result.  They are so trivial that
testing is hardly a issue and isn't where much of overall testing time goes
in a large software project.  For that reason I wasn't even considering
these in the discussion.

Here's a example from one of my current projects:  On this project I'm
currently only doing host software.  The problem is to find the location of
a active RF tag given the signal strength it was received with by a number
of receivers at known but arbitrary locations.  In large installations there
could be 100s to small 1000s of receivers and 1000s of tags.  The tags all
have to be tracked in near real time.  I don't want to get into the details
of the system beyond what is publicly said about it, but trying to figure
out how well the system is working, comparing location resolution
algorithms, regression testing, and time performance testing is not trivial.
One problem is that there are many sources of noise, both on direct
measurement and the understanding of when they occurred.  Some of this noise
is random, some is systematic, some depends on particular use patterns.
Then there are various tweak factors and algorithms to deal with certain
special cases.  There are currently more people and more overall time spent
on testing, verification, and creating automated test suites and
interpreting their result than on creating of the software that is being

Even though there is a crunch right now and I'm actually working on new and
clever algorithms, I spent most of Tuesday writing code to visualize some
intermediate results by writing images with annotation.  The data is too
complicated and too large to understand by looking at lists of numbers or
even simple plots.  Despite the crunch, this was time well spent and the
resulting images have already been quite useful.

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Subject (change) Agile programming (was Re: [P|C] Banksel)

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