13 August, 2014

Why developers should not be testing

Short answer: because you should.

When somebody asks about their missing pet feature in KDE or ownCloud software, I always trow in a request for help in the answer. Software development is hard work and these features don't appear out of nowhere. There are only so many hours in a day to work on the a million things we all agree are important. There are many ways to help out and speed things up a little. In this blog I'd like to highlight testing because I see developers spend a lot of time testing their own software - and that is not as good as it sounds.

Developers also do testing!

You see, developers really want their software to be good. So when a Alpha or Release Candidate does not receive much testing from users, the developers take it on themselves to test it.

Developers testing software has two downsides:
  • Developers tend to test the things they wrote the software to do. It might sound obvious, but usually the things that break are things the developer didn't think off: "you have 51,000 songs? Oh, I never tested the music app with more than 4,000" is what I heard just yesterday.
  • And of course, it should be obvious: early and lots of testing speeds up development so you get those features you want!
Take two lessons from this:
  • If you want things to work for you, YOU have to test it.
  • If you want those other features, too, helping out is the name of the game.

It isn't hard

In the past I wrote an extensive article on how to test for KDE and ownCloud, too, has real nice testing documentation.

If you want to get on it now, Klaas Freitag just released ownCloud client 1.7 alpha 1 and openSUSE has moved factory to a rolling release process to make it easy to help test. KDE Applications 4.14 is at the third beta and the Release Candidate is around the corner.

Your testing doesn't just save time: it is inspiring and fun. For everybody involved. For added kicks, consider joining us at the ownCloud Contributor Conference in in two weeks in Berlin and KDE has Akademy coming just two weeks later!

Help make sure we can get our features done in time - help test and contribute your creativity and thoughts!


note: I'm not argueing here against testing by developers, rather that users should help out more! Of course, developers should make sure their code works and unit tests and automated testing are great tools for that. But I believe nothing can replace proper end-user testing in real-life environments and that can only really be properly done by end users.