When we describe something as beautiful, we mean that it has qualities that give great pleasure or satisfaction. In this chapter, I write primarily about the latter, not the former. Yes, testing should provide pleasure. However, testing that pleases the tester may prove a superficial form of beauty, because it does not satisfy the stakeholders.
We are all familiar with superficial forms of beauty that fade. In the entertainment world, we find some actors and actresses beautiful for a time, but in the long run many of them fade. However, some actors and actresses remain beautiful to watch throughout their careers. This is not due solely to physical beauty, but rather because we find beauty in their ability to satisfy us as viewers of their performances. Their performances tell us something that is deeply true, that is moving, and that inspires us to change the way we see the world we live in.
Similarly, in testing, although some approaches to testing might strike us as beautiful at first, in the long run those approaches to testing that satisfy our needs are those that are truly beautiful. Beautiful testing tells us something that is true. Beautiful testing moves us. Beautiful testing inspires a change in our beliefs about and actions toward the projects we work on—and the organizations we work within.
In this chapter, I address the beauty of testing that does not fade. What is it about testing, done really well, that provides ...