Blog: Very Short Blog Posts (4): Leaves and Trees

Having trouble understanding why James Bach and I think it’s important to distinguish between checking and testing? Consider this: a pile of leaves is not a tree. Leaves are important parts of trees, but there’s a lot more to a tree than just its leaves. The leaves owe their existence to being part of a larger system of the tree. Nature makes sure that leaves drop off and are replaced periodically, especially in environments that undergo significant changes from time to time. And if you asked someone to describe his tree, you’d probably—and properly—think him strange if he pointed to a pile of leaves and said, “this is my tree”.

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4 responses to “Very Short Blog Posts (4): Leaves and Trees”

  1. Muzaffar says:

    That’s very much a description testing and checking, just to validate it, you referring tree as Testing right and leaves are checking?

    Michael replies: Yes, that’s how I thought of it. It might be an interesting thought experiment to consider how well the opposite interpretation would fit, and to make a case for it.

  2. Good point, and really good analogy, Michael. Checking is “part” of Testing.

    Unfortunately, I see far too much sentence parsing going on. Some folks seem eager to be the first to read a sentence and jump up with the rote response “That’s not testing, that’s checking!”, as if there were a prize given to the first respondent.

    Sometimes, a clear distinction is important, but not always. Sometimes, it’s more important to just let the conversation flow, rather than interrupt with an unnecessary “correction”.

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