The Importance/Value of Software Testing

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1. The value of software testing is often taken for granted.

2. The E57.04 Data Interoperability Sub-Committee wants to assist vendors with the testing phase.

3. A high level of end user demand for this standard is going to be needed to motivate the vendors to adopt.

I used to sell one of the leading geographic coordinate software components. It was called the Geographic Calculator. One of the main reasons that companies purchased it was because it had been tested by major oil and gas exploration customers around the world.

Could these very wealthy companies have developed the software on their own? Absolutely, but the cost of testing it would have been more than the what they paid us to license the component, and in some cases that was a significant amount.

The issue of testing the software implementations came up today at the ASTM E57.04 Data Interoperability Sub-Committee meeting. We would like to provide guidelines to assist the vendors in determining whether their readers and writers are in fact producing the correct format, but when you begin to look at the scope of this effort you quickly realize that this is going to be a real challenge.

We discussed the possibility of providing test data suites, the need for vendors to test all of the possible combinations of readers and writers and the issues associated with custom implementations. There were not simple solutions.

In order for the new data standard to be a success, the vendors are going to have to make an investment in software testing. This may require more effort than the development of the code itself. This will only happen if the end users create the demand for the standard.


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