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Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Java Testing and Design - 2.1 Just What Are Criteria?

Web-enabled applications need to be constantly tested, monitored and watched, primarily due to the fact that the user's expectations of the application will change over time.  At first, they might care that the application worked.  Later, they might care about how fast it works?  Even later, they might care if it does exactly what they need.  You can use test agents to test your application daily.  If you build your agents based on archetypes you can gather meaningful data that can help you gauge whether or not your application is meeting your user's needs.

The more time spent on defining archetypes, the easier it will be for your team to understand exactly what the system needs to do.

  1. Archetypes make an emotional connection between the goals of a prototypical user of the application and the software team.  Team members will have an easy-to-understand example of a person that prototypically will use your application.  Rather than discussing individual features in the application, the team will be able to refer to functions that the archetype will want to regularly use to accomplish their personal goals.
  2. Archetypes bring discussions of feature, form, and function in the application from a vague general topic to a focused user goal-oriented discussion.
  3. Archetypes give the team an understanding of where new functions, bugs, and problems need to be prioritized in the overall schedule.  
Archetypes make it easier to know what to test and why because the test agents, modeled after the archetypes, will be testing in a way that is similar to your actual users.  Archetypes can also be helpful in identifying when performance becomes a problem.

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