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Manual Testing Does Exist and It Is Bad

by Ron Jeffries, 25 February 2013 | The Agile Blogosphere

This post is from by Ron Jeffries. Click here to see the original post in full.

My esteemed colleague and sometime nemesis Michael Bolton has written a screed against the terms “manual testing” and “automated testing”.┬áCheck it out, sapiently.

In his article, Michael, for reasons which have not become clear to me, attempts to show that these terms are not useful, by arguing that there are other human activities which do not parse nicely into the notions of manual and automated. Unfortunately, there is a useful distinction in software testing that is made by these terms. There might be better terms. Michael himself has offered others from time to time. He has offered the notion of “test” vs “check”. This is a useful notion but it turns out that both manual tests and automated tests in our parlance are checks in his. We would have to say “manual checks” and “automated checks” — in fact sometimes we do — but then we’d have to have this discussion all over again.

Michael has also offered or borrowed — I hope the latter — the term “sapient”. I don’t claim to grok this in fullness but I take it to mean, roughly, “thoughtful”. We humans can do things more or less thoughtfully, and to the extent that sapient means “wise”, not just “thoughtful”, we...

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