[plt-scheme] [maybe off-topic] The theory of testing

From: Jos Koot (jos.koot at telefonica.net)
Date: Tue Aug 26 15:06:43 EDT 2008

You are right about by making the distinction between writing programs and managing large projects. I did not mean to underestimate HtDP. I do not, realy. But we should be aware of the fact that some of the students we learn how to program will end up managing large projects. And even for those that will not do large scale projects: even a small project done in the capacity of a professional producing software for another party, should attack their job along the same lines:
- First make sure what the costomer expects.
- Then provide material that can prove that the costomer will receive what he/she expects.
- Finally provide the product according to the specs of the first step and apply the prove that it is what the consumer expects.
- Also make sure that the previous three steps are followed during maintenance.
May be nowadays there are following up courses in managing large scale projects, but I have never seen them. What I did experience is that managers are put in charge without any substantial knowledge of the techniques required to produce the product. Too often I have seen managers that did courses in managing without having any idea about what they are managing. Programming is an art. Managing is a skill (may be even an art too), but managing without substantial knowledge of what is to be managed is evil.
Well, that's somewhat obtrusive, I am aware of that, but I hate managers that tell me what to do when it is obvious that they haven't the slightest idea what I am doing or what I should do. In short: a manager must have substantial knowledge of the product to be delivered and the techniques required to make the product. In my humble opinion, management must not be abstracted from what is being managed. Oh yes, there may be some general rules that apply to all kinds of management, but ultimately, management without substance is vain. Just my humble opinion.
  ----- Original Message ----- 
  From: Woodhouse Gregory 
  To: Jos Koot 
  Cc: Grant Rettke ; plt-scheme List 
  Sent: Tuesday, August 26, 2008 7:56 PM
  Subject: Re: [plt-scheme] [maybe off-topic] The theory of testing

  On Aug 24, 2008, at 2:31 PM, Jos Koot wrote:

    In my opinion, HtDP is one of the few books that do integrate specification, testing and coding. Yet I think that for a substantial software project even more has to be considered:

  In all fairness, HtDP is a book about writing programs, not managing (or developing) large projects. It seems to me that this entirely appropriate for a first course - though I fully agree that unit tests and contracts fall within the scope of a text such as this.

  That being said, the transition from school projects involving maybe hundreds of lines of code, to commercial applications with tens of thousands (or even millions) of lines of code can be a bit daunting. It's also an area where most programmers end up learning "on the job", or at least this has been my experience.

  This brings up another point. The OO community has generally been successful in selling the idea that OO is the appropriate paradigm for complex projects, and there is tool support out there, such as the Rational/IBM suite of tools, making languages like Java much more attractive to industry.

  "You can't win if you don't finish the race."
  --Richard Petty


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