The Software Engineering Process From the Software Testing Viewpoint
Larsen, Bradley M.
Segal, Michael Z.
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For our senior project, we worked as interns at a Kalamazoo software development company, I/Net, Inc. Owned in part by IBM, I/Net was developing a product which had been in the development stages for over a year. At the time of our hiring, coding for the product had just begun. When we were hired as interns at I/Net, we were brought on as testers for an OS/2 product under development for IBM. We first felt somewhat apprehensive about being testers since we envisioned rather monotonous work of endlessly entering two numbers into a program to see if the answer was always the sum of the two numbers. The descriptions of what we would be doing were extremely vague as the product, under contract with IBM, is IBM confidential. Only until after signing legal documents were we allowed any information about the system. This first briefing about the program did not do much to alleviate our apprehensions since we did not understand most of what we were told. It is only now that we realize that this is part of the process of software engineering, the series of steps in which software is designed, coded, and tested. This paper is designed in three stages: a brief introduction to software engineering; a discussion of software testing; and a review of our work at I/Net. However, due to the confidential nature of the product that was being developed, we cannot go into any detail in regard to the code and the functions involved with this product. Therefore, in many cases, some deliberately vague terms have been used in our explanation of our responsibilities at I/Net. A term that will be used frequently in this paper is API, or Application Program Interface, any routine immediately accessible by the end user. A SPI, or Support Program Interface, is only accessible from the APIs. As we worked primarily with APis, the terms routine and API will be used interchangeably from here forward. The intention of the paper is to explain some of the problems in software development as well as to discuss some ways to increase the power of programming.
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