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CAST 2009: Almog presents controversial new test case definition approach

Dani Almog will be outlining a new approach to test case definition at the Conference for the Association for Software Testing (CAST 2009) this month. In his talk “Test Case Definition: A New Structural Approach,” Almog will explore and classify the various definitions of test cases, discuss the implications of the current situation, and will suggest an alternative structural definition for test cases. CAST 2009 takes place July 13-16 in Colorado Springs, CO.

“Based on thorough research of academic articles, journals and books and by consulting some of my distinguished colleagues around the globe, I will present my findings aiming at an alternative formal structural definition of the term ‘test case. Although it may be a controversial approach, formalizing the term fits my engineering perceptio’n of the testing process. Thus, during my talk I will present a newly developed structural definition to a test case.

During the last six years, I was very fortunate to be able to fulfill a dream and implement ideas pertaining to how and when software testing should be developed; in short, finding ways to bridge the gap between the software development approach, the technology, the training (mostly object oriented thinking) and the way we testing engineers see the same applications; in an intuitive, procedural –the way we use it — manner.

I got full support from top management in the company I worked for (Amdocs) to recruit a very talented and innovative group of young people who assisted me in developing and implementing a full infrastructure for test automation. Later, (this) was rolled out to all the corporate divisions and units. Now that I have retired from Amdocs, I have decided to dedicate the rest of my professional career to exposing and promoting the new approach I have developed, including methodologies and tools.”

Dani Almog is currently a member of the academic staff at Ben Gurion University, Israel. He teaching and researching. Dani teaches software quality engineering and testing, and research the interaction between development processes and quality/testing – trying to introduce to the academic world some of the achievements and work models developed in industry.

“Coming from a large corporation’s (Amdocs) R&D division, we have encountered many issues regarding test case automation- a necessity and a key factor for supporting eight different large software products, often with 3 different versions distributed among one hundred different very large customers. This situation made us consider all options and alternatives for test automation infrastructure, tools and methodologies. We were given the opportunity to be involved in shaping the future of our new products’ development processes and procedures. All my academic activities since my retirement, including this talk, are derived from this experience and I am now actually documenting and presenting the best practices of what have we done. “

Almog says that in his talk he’s targeting two different communities. The first is the professional community, who he says is struggling to “improve its skills and outcomes regardless of inferior reputation and image – knowing they never really get the deserved glory.” The second is the academic community, who has “neglected a very exciting field of research and progress.” He suspects both communities might have some criticisms for his talk.

“I welcome the challenge of debate and criticism and believe it will improve my work. I guess the criticism will come from two main channels. From those questioning the relevance of my approach to all different streams and to the new ways software development expands to. And from people who perceive testing as softer and more flexible (exploratory, context-dependent, and others) rather than structured and engineered. I believe that my approach paves the way to more systematic and precise testing, as well as to development of advanced automation tools. I welcome all constructive and relevant criticism. It will help me present a better model.”

For more on the upcoming show, check out the CAST conference website. For a chance to explore the topic in more detail, you can contact Dani Almog on the Software Testing Club or following his discussions.

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