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Testing Axioms

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The More Bugs You Find, the More Bugs There Are

There are even more similarities between real bugs and software bugs. Both types tend to come in groups. If you see one, odds are there will be more nearby.

Frequently, a tester will go for long spells without finding a bug. He'll then find one bug, then quickly another and another. There are several reasons for this:

  • Programmers have bad days. Like all of us, programmers can have off days. Code written one day may be perfect; code written another may be sloppy. One bug can be a tell-tale sign that there are more nearby.

  • Programmers often make the same mistake. Everyone has habits. A programmer who is prone to a certain error will often repeat it.

  • Some bugs are really just the tip of the iceberg. Very often the software's design or architecture has a fundamental problem. A tester will find several bugs that at first may seem unrelated but eventually are discovered to have one primary serious cause.

It's important to note that the inverse of this "bugs follow bugs" idea is true, as well. If you fail to find bugs no matter how hard you try, it may very well be that the software was cleanly written and that there are indeed few if any bugs to be found.

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