For many years, most programmers have been convinced that programs are written solely for the purpose of being run on the machine and are not meant for human readability, and the only way to test the program is to perform it on a computer. This view began to change in the early 70’s largely due to the book “Psychology of Computer Programming“. The author showed that software programs should be readable and that their execution should result in an effective detection of errors.
For this very reason, before proceeding to the discussion of traditional computer-based testing techniques, we consider the process of testing without the aid of a computer (this procedure is called “manual testing”), which is essentially the primary error detection technique.
Experiments have shown that manual testing methods are quite effective in finding errors, so one or more of them should be used in each software project. The methods described in our next articles are intended for the development period, when the program is encoded, but the computer testing has not yet begun. Similar methods can be obtained and applied at earlier stages of the production process (i.e., at the end of each design stage).
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It should be noted that, due to the informal nature of manual testing methods (informal from the point of view of others, more formal methods, such as the ones used to prove the program correctness mathematically), the first reaction from people is often skeptical, the feeling that simple and informal methods cannot be useful. However, they have proven to be effective and do not hold away at all. On the contrary, these methods contribute to a significant increase in productivity and improve the reliability of the program. First, they usually allow you to detect errors early, reduce the cost of exposure, and increase the likelihood that the amendment is successful. Secondly, the psychology of programmers, apparently, changes when the product is tested using a computer. They begin to experience internal tension and tend to “correct errors as quickly as possible”. As a result, programmers make more mistakes when correcting errors already found during computer testing than when correcting errors found at earlier stages.