I heard Ray Kurzweil on Talk of the Nation Science Friday today. As the NY Times put it last Tuesday in the Science section ( The Future Is Now ), he's a futurist with a track record. He observes that certain aspects of technology follow predictable trajectories. Computing power first doubled every three years, then every two, now every year. IT is revolutionizing biology, medicine, energy and other fields. Nanotechnology, gene sequencing and brain scan resolution all progress exponentially.
I'm no futurist, but I think we are seeing this in testing as a result of agile development. Since the last 90s, tools such as JUnit have led many teams to use practices such as TDD and CI that vastly improve software quality. Getting programmers interested in testing and test automation has led to an explosion of useful open-source testing-related tools.
We testers (and when I say that, I mean all you programmers and everyone else who tests) have been left out in terms of IDEs and other tools that would make writing and automating tests way faster and easier. That's changing now and I bet it will change really fast. Maybe in a year or so we will have fabulous tools for writing and refactoring tests, tools to help us focus better on exploratory testing, maybe tools for types of testing we haven't thought of yet. The Agile Alliance functional test tools group headed by Jennitta Andrea is pushing an effort to get to a new generation of functional test tools.
I think the future of software testing is just about here.
Speaking of the future being now, Janet Gregory and I turned in our draft manuscript for our Agile Testing book last Sunday night. Whoohoo! Four lovely people will be doing technical reviews of it, and then we get to revise it some more, and it's supposed to go into production in August. I hope that means it will be out in the fall. I wish I had a way to express our gratitude to the many people who have helped us, and in turn agile testers and teams everywhere, with this book.