Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Just read the check-in!

Today was one of the days when something again emerged. At first, there was a hunch of a sort order messing bug and all of a sudden there was a fix for it.

The fix came with very little explanation. So my tester detective hunch drove me to the routines that I do. I went to see the check-in from the version control and routinely opened up the three changed files without any intention of actually reading them.

The first thing I realized is that the files that were changing had names that matched my idea of what I would be thinking of testing. It's been more often that I care to remember that this was not the case.

The first nagging feeling came from realizing there were three files. A small fix and three files changing. So I looked at the diffs to see that the changes were more extensive than the "I fixed a bug" gave warrant for.

I walked up to the developer and asked about the changes "So you needed to rewrite the sorting?" to learn that it was long due.

With a little routine investigative work, I had two things I wouldn't have otherwise:
  1. An actual content discussion with the developer who thought that the change he was making was obvious
  2. A wider set of testing ideas I would spend time on to understand if the re-newly implemented feature would serve us as well as the bad old one had. 
There's so much more to having access to your version control as a tester than reviewing code or checking in your code/changes. Looking at check-ins improves communications and keeps absent-minded developers honest.