Chapter 3

Program Inspections, Walkthroughs, and Reviews

For many years, most of us in the programming community worked under the assumptions that programs are written solely for machine execution, and are not intended for people to read, and that the only way to test a program is to execute it on a machine. This attitude began to change in the early 1970s through the efforts of program developers who first saw the value in reading code as part of a comprehensive testing and debugging regimen.

Today, not all testers of software applications read code, but the concept of studying program code as part of a testing effort certainly is widely accepted. Several factors may affect the likelihood that a given testing and debugging effort will include people actually reading program code: the size or complexity of the application, the size of the development team, the timeline for application development (whether the schedule is relaxed or intense, for example), and, of course, the background and culture of the programming team.

For these reasons, we will discuss the process of noncomputer-based testing (“human testing”) before we delve into the more traditional computer-based testing techniques. Human testing techniques are quite effective in finding errors—so much so that every programming project should use one or more of these techniques. You should apply these methods between the time the program is coded and when computer-based testing begins. You also can develop and apply analogous ...

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