February 2014



Welcome to RBCS, Inc.


Dear Reader,


With 2014 in full swing, we have an exciting and thought-provoking newsletter in store for you.


This month, we feature a guest article from James Coplien.  He's a fellow software professional that I've known for about a decade, and I have tremendous respect for his thoughts on software development.  He has been spending time recently thinking about and working with clients on testing, especially unit testing.  He has come to some conclusions, based on solid computer science, that I promise will surprise you.  Agree or disagree with his thoughts, you'll get real value from wrestling with his challenge to some of the current orthodoxy on this topic.  You can read the first segment of his article below, and can find the rest of it on our articles page.  I thank Cope for contributing this article for our newsletter.  


What's coming up soon?  How about a pair of excellent conferences!  The ASTQB will hold its first conference--which we hope will be an annual event--in San Francisco in March.  Software Test Professionals, our partner in our successful webinar series and, new in 2014, virtual and live trainings, holds its spring biannual conference in New Orleans in April.  RBCS is proud to sponsor both conferences, and we'll be offering public training prior to each conference for those who want to maximize their training dollars.  I hope to see you there.


Speaking of our webinar series, we have completed planning for the webinars for the rest of 2014.  That schedule is now posted on our website, along with our public training schedule.  Join the tens of thousands of people worldwide who have taken advantage of these opportunities to learn new ideas on testing in the coming months.


These learning opportunities also extend to those who work as business analysts and requirements engineers.  Many testers fill these roles as well as being professional testers.  Whether you work as a tester only or fill both roles, our course on business analysis and requirements engineering is a solid foundation for what constitutes properly written requirements, in sequential, incremental, and agile lifecycles.  We support the IBAQB, IIBA, and IREB certifications. You can find more information below.


Finally, we continue to enjoy great feedback from our clients, webinar attendees, and other software professionals on our offerings.  We include a few testimonials below.


I hope you enjoy the February newsletter as much as we enjoyed putting it together. 







Rex Black, President





 Attend RBCS' ISTQB Advanced Level Training Week before the ASTQB Conference!

Attending the ASTQB Conference in San Francisco, March 24-26, 2014?  Register today!  Come a few days early and become ISTQB Advanced Level Test Manager (March 17-21) or Advanced Level Technical Test Analyst (March 19-21) certified while you are there. Learn more about RBCS' Advanced Level Test Manager and Advanced Level Technical Test Analyst certification courses and register today!  Enter the code ADVCERTWEEK13 in the promo code field in your cart and receive a 15% discount (expires April 30, 2014). 


Discount applies to RBCS course registration only and not for conference registration fee.  Discount cannot be combined with any other discount or offer.






unittestWhy Most Unit Testing is Waste


written by James O Coplien 



Unit testing was a staple of the FORTRAN days, when a function was a function and was sometimes worthy of functional testing. Computers computed, and functions and procedures represented units of computation. In those days the dominant design process composed complex external functionality from smaller chunks, which in turn orchestrated yet smaller chunks, and so on down to the level of well-understood primitives. Each layer supported the layers above it. You actually stood a good chance that you could trace the functionality of the things at the bottom, called functions and procedures, to the requirements that gave rise to them out at the human interface. There was some hope that a good designer could understand a given function's business purpose. And it was possible, at least in well-structured code, to reason about the calling tree. You could mentally simulate code execution in a code review.


Object orientation slowly took the world by storm, and it turned the design world upside-down. First, the design units changed from things-that-computed to small heterogeneous composites called objects that combine several programming artefacts, including functions and data, together inside one wrapper. The object paradigm used classes to wrap several functions together with the specifications of the data global to those functions. The class became a cookie cutter from which objects were created at run time. In a given computing context, the exact function to be called is determined at run-time and cannot be deduced from the source code as it could in FORTRAN. That made it impossible to reason about run-time behaviour of code by inspection alone. You had to run the program to get the faintest idea of what was going on.


So, testing became in again. And it was unit testing with a vengeance. The object community had discovered the value of early feedback, propelled by the increasing speed of machines and by the rise in the number of personal computers. Design became much more data-focused because objects were shaped more by their data structure than by any properties of their methods. The lack of any explicit calling structure made it difficult to place any single function execution in the context of its execution. What little chance there might have been to do so was taken away by polymorphism. So integration testing was out; unit testing was in. System testing was still somewhere there in the background but seemed either to become someone else's problem or, more dangerously, was run by the same people who wrote the code as kind of a grown-up version of unit testing.


Classes became the units of analysis and, to some degree, of design. CRC cards (popularly representing Classes, Responsibilities, and Collaborators) were a popular design technique where each class was represented by a person. Object orientation became synonymous with anthropomorphic design. Classes additionally became the units of administration, design focus and programming, and their anthropomorphic nature gave the master of each class a yearning to test it. And because few class methods came with the same contextualization that a FORTRAN function did, programmers had to provide context before exercising a method (remember that we don't test classes and we don't even test objects - the unit of functional test is a method). Unit tests provided the drivers to take methods through their paces. Mocks provided the context of the environmental state and of the other methods on which the method under test depending. And test environments came with facilities to poise each object in the right state in preparation for the test.



Visit our articles page to read this article in its entirety.










Do you receive the International Institute of Business Analysis Newsletter?  In December 2013, RBCS sponsored the "Play to Win" segment. Congratulations to the winner, Matthew Hunt!  For answering the quiz question correctly, Hunt won complimentary access the RBCS Requirements Engineering Foundation E-learning course (a $799 value)!


The Requirements Engineering Foundation course is based on both the IIBA® (International Institute of Business Analysts) and IREB (International Requirements Engineering Board) bodies of knowledge.  This course is an excellent preparation course for the IIBA®, IREB, and the IBAQB (International Business Analysis Qualifications Board) certification exams.  This course explores not just why the requirements matter, but how to gather the right requirements, document them effectively and ensure that they are properly implemented.  It explores the roles of the requirements engineer and business analyst both in ferreting out the requirements and interacting with the project team to ensure the customer gets the product they want and need.  In this course you will learn effective techniques to select the right people from whom you will elicit the requirements.


For more information on this course, email us or visit our store today!




webinars Complimentary Webinars


Did you miss the complimentary webinar, "Ten Bugs that Shook the World", on January 2, 2014?  Check out what you missed!



Ten Bugs that Shook the World 010214 1




Webinar attendees are automatically entered into a drawing to win their choice of one of our green e-learning courses.  Visit our training page to see the complete webinar schedule, or just look on this email, sign up for a webinar, show up at whichever webinar session is most convenient, and--who knows--you might be the lucky winner of some valuable free training.   Either way, you're sure to learn something. 


Congratulations Alex Martins an attendee of the January webinar, for being selected as the winner of an e-learning course.


Register now for our next complimentary webinar, "Testers in 2015 and Beyond," on March 13, 2014.






talking People are Talking about RBCS 




"I just finished reading of the 4 articles on your Articles section (I spent at least 8 hours overall, on and off, but very worthy!)


Once again, you generously shared your knowledge without any cost to testing community.  I have attempted to read this set for at least a year but finally managed to read them due to an urgent need to guide my QA lead on rating test project and product quality (Red Yellow Green). 


The articles summarized and explained on project, product and process metrics so well that I would urge everyone in my team to read it and shared with the QA Management team as well.  The articles are interesting to read with a hint of humor and it was also proof read professionally and yet it is "free".   Just cannot thank you enough for it.  Thank you and happy new year.  May 2014 be a wonderful year for RBCS!"



-Vicky Chen

QA Manager, Royal Bank of Canada

regarding the articles page on the RBCS website



"Thanks to Rex and RBCS team for the insightful webinars with real-world practical experience as opposed to those marketing-oriented ones. What Rex does is much more credible as it has the "been there, done that" element. And the PDUs are a real nice bonus.


Have a great 2014!"



-Alex Martins, PMP

TaaS Capability Lead

Hewlett-Packard Company

ES Global Testing Practice









STPCon 2014

April 14-17

New Orleans, LA


The Software Test Professionals Conference Spring 2014 is a conference you won't want to miss. Each conference builds upon its successes by taking into consideration the feedback from past attendees. This means that you receive the educational development you want most presented in the best learning environment possible.

Attending this conference will help you meet your professional career goals and give you the opportunity to improve your software testing technique; find the latest tools; discover emerging trends; develop new or improve existing processes; network and gather with other high-level professionals; and gain industry insight you won't find anywhere else.





Green Tip    

recycle globe 

When possible, find used products at your local thrift store, garage sales, used bookstores, or online at sites like Ebay.com or Craigslist.com. This helps cut down on the use of natural resources for production of products, and by recycling old items you are helping to reduce waste sent to the landfill. 


Tip provided by our partner Green Mountain Energy.

Newsletter Issue 38



In This Issue

15% Discount on Certification

Why Most Unit Testing is Waste


Complimentary Webinars

People are Talking about RBCS




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