Which of these don’t belong: functional testing, whitebox testing, regression testing, mobile testing, UI testing?
The answer is all of them. Although they’re all testing, each of them belongs to a different category of types of testing. And unfortunately, we often use these terms in this isolated way, making them lose a large part of their meaning.
In my talk we will explore the meaning of several of these ‘ testing’ terms. Manual and automated testing. Whitebox and blackbox testing. Unit, integration and UI testing. I will show there are better ways to define the meaning of these terms than through a definition. For instance by pointing out examples, or by contrasting them with the other terms in the category, or by looking at what’s missing from the category. Why is there no common term for the testing that’s not “regression testing”? All of this will illustrate that these terms have very little meaning if not connected to a specific context and to specific practices. And it allows us to ask some new questions, such as: what power dynamics can be at play in distinguishing blackbox testing from whitebox testing?
The main idea behind this talk is Ludwig Wittgenstein’s argument that the meaning of a word is its use in language. Or put differently, outside of the social conventions of its usage, a word has no meaning. His ideas about language will form the theoretical underpinnings of my talk.