Last night I was watching James Whittaker’s last year keynote he gave during GTAC 2008. James is highly respected in the software test community (he has just moved from Microsoft to Google)and I was interested to understand how he was seeing testing in the future. One important direction was around software visualization and how it could help testing teams do a better job and focus on the most important pieces of functionality or code. He made the parallel with Quality Assurance in the car industry where QA can actually visualize the products, understand the change it was made during each iteration of the design. It’s much more difficult with Software where all testers can see is pretty much a black box.
Yes, they can look into the code but it’s very difficult for them to get the full pictures. James showed a tool the Vista test team had built during Vista development which allowed them to visualize as a heat map of some sort. Basically showing every piece of features, classes, methods, nicely organized per complexity. Here is a snapshot taken from the keynote: