WorldWide Drilling Resource®

Code, then Test by Britt Storkson Owner, P2FlowLLC There is currently considerable interest by mostly educational establishments in something called “Coding”… meaning knowing how to write computer code used to operate various computer systems. What about testing the code to make sure it does what it is supposed to do? Computer code testing should be paramount in terms of importance, but is often treated as an afterthought or essentially ignored. Like many disciplines, computer product testing takes many forms, and different types of testing are required for different applications. There are also different levels of “mission critical” applications. For example, if the screen on your smartphone is blue when it is supposed to be green, it’s a mistake that should be corrected, but most of the time, screen colors are not a critical parameter. However, if a code error causes the airplane it is controlling to suddenly dive into the ground, it is a critical error and the product should be subjected to a much higher level of thorough and repeated testing to make sure it doesn’t do anything that would jeopardize human lives. I spend far more time testing than I do writing code for the computer controls products I make. I also spend considerable time writing code that will be used only for testing purposes and will not be incorporated into the final product. This allows me to test each individual function to make sure everything is working right and makes troubleshooting easier. The fact numerous program- mers do nothing but “code” and are not involved in, or perhaps not competent to test individual components or the final prod- uct, would suggest a flawed process. I had a relative who worked security for the 1980 Olympics held in Los Angeles, California. He was assigned to check the various busses transporting participating athletes for bombs - often by using mirrors to check the undersides of the busses for explosive materials. More importantly, secu- rity personnel were required to ride with these athletes in the busses they inspected for the duration of the trip. The same stan- dard should apply for computer coding. If a “coder” is involved only in the develop- ment of the product and not its final exe- cution, it’s a flawed process. One place I worked had a computer- controlled fan cooling system that worked, but it didn’t work very well and was far more expensive than it needed to be. I was tasked with trying to maintain and repair these machines. Since I could not find much in the way of supporting documents, I attempted to find someone who was involved in build- ing this machine as the “information source” I needed. After spending considerable time searching for a “system guru” who could provide information about these machines, I could not find anyone to claim responsi- bility for building the things. This suggested two possibilities: A) The product developer was so embarrassed for making such a poor product he/she would not claim responsibility for the product, or B) The product developer had resigned, been fired, or reassigned so there was no one in the company to consult. Competent product testing is not glam- orous. You won’t get calls from total strangers wanting to hear your product testing story. It can be boring and tedious, but it must be done because sometimes lives depend on it. Britt michele@ TWWA’s Annual Meeting & Trade Show March 13 - 14, 2020 The Park Vista Hotel Gatlinburg, TN For more information: (865) 761-4363 Friday Continental Breakfast, Registration, Vendors Set-Up, Technical Sessions, Trade Show, Lunch with Vendors, Technical Sessions, Auction Sign-Up, Dinner, Auction, and 2019 Honor Award Saturday Continental Breakfast, Registration, Technical Sessions, Ladies Auxiliary, TWWA Business Meeting, Lunch, TWWA Board Meeting (subject to change) 45 WorldWide Drilling Resource ® FEBRUARY 2020