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State Models - Database Weekly (Feb 16, 2009)

By Steve Jones,

How We Test Software at Microsoft book coverWhen I started my post-graduate studies in engineering many, many moons ago, one of the first things that we did with circuits was build state models. We could talk about the various "states" in which a particular system could be in, determine the transitions, and then use this to work on different types of circuits we would eventually burn into electronics. I thoroughly enjoyed figuring out the state stuff and thought it was a fun "puzzle-like" problem that was way better than solving Fourier transforms.

This week I saw an announcement that How We Test Software at Microsoft, a new book by Alan Page and BJ Rollison, was released. There's even a website to go along with the book. Sadly there was no Kindle version, or sample on Amazon, so I couldn't get much more than some excerpts on various blogs about the book.

However it caught my eye. Thisblog post from Microsoft Press first caught my eye since the excerpt in there mentions state models and how they can be useful for testing. It's kind of an interesting story that is used as opposed to the more boring, this is how you test, this is a border case, this what you consider, etc. The style of storytelling in order to teach is not only more engaging, it's more interesting to read.

There are lots of testing books out there, and most of those will give you specific techniques for deciding what to test, how to configure software, and more, and they're great books, but they don't necessarily help you understand why you're doing testing.

Plenty of people might argue that Microsoft doesn't do a great job testing, after all, look at all the bugs that are constantly reported. However I think testing is incredibly hard, and Microsoft has arguable one of the toughest jobs in the world testing their software. I think this is a great way to open up Microsoft to the outside world and show how, and why, they test their software.

Now if I can just get a Kindle version

Steve Jones

Steve's Pick of the Week

Things You Wish You Knew When You Started - There has been a question making it's way around the SQL blogosphere as people tag each other with the sentence above. It was started by Mike Walsh and I've linked his summary here. I'd urge you to check them out, especially if you are early in your career. Some interesting advice.


The Voice of the DBA Podcasts

Incompetech

The podcast feeds are now available at sqlservercentral.podshow.com to get better bandwidth and maybe a little more exposure :). Comments are definitely appreciated and wanted, and you can get feeds from there.

Overall RSS Feed: or now on iTunes!

Today's podcast features music by Incompetech. Kevin Macleod has some great compositions in all genres of music. Check him out at www.incompetech.com.

I really appreciate and value feedback on the podcasts. Let us know what you like, don't like, or even send in ideas for the show. If you'd like to comment, post something here. The boss will be sure to read it.

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