[Pdx-pm] Newbie question about testing and Perl

Randall Hansen randall at sonofhans.net
Thu Jul 13 09:59:53 PDT 2006

On Jul 13, 2006, at 7:38 AM, Keith Lofstrom wrote:

> ... it is how we manage to reduce defects below 0.01% on items made  
> of impure real-world semi-deterministic analog goop.  Surely  
> software could do better.

IMHO a large part of the reason is economic.  the tester-to-tested  
unit cost ratio for near-perfect software is less than the seven  
orders of magnitude in your example, but it's higher than most  
external or internal clients are willing to pay.  furthermore, since  
most software is unique, it's a cost that must be paid again and  
again on every project.

the most robust software engineering (and i use the term advisedly)  
process i've heard of is NASA's, for the space shuttle[1].  i do my  
best to practice what i can call "software engineering," but i'm  
under no illusions that i've ever developed anything non-trivial with  
the robustness that NASA take for granted.

clients want instant gratification with software, and have been  
conditioned to regard the cost of failure (e.g. BSOD) as (a)  
unavoidable, and (b) trivial.  in fact it's neither of those things,  
but nearly any client will pick "cheap and now, with a couple bugs"  
over "three months from now and better, but still not perfect."


1. http://www.fastcompany.com/online/06/writestuff.html

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