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A Posteriori Testing

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  • Bryan Dollery
    Hi, Did anyone else notice the news that Dijkstra died earlier this month? Shame, we could have used brains like his in the agile movement. I just found out
    Message 1 of 1 , Sep 1, 2002
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      Hi,

      Did anyone else notice the news that Dijkstra died earlier this month?
      Shame, we could have used brains like his in the agile movement. I just
      found out whilst searching for a quote of his for a testing paper I'm
      writing.

      I found the quote:

      "A programmer has to be able to demonstrate that his program has the
      required properties. If this comes as an afterthought, it is all but
      certain that he wonÂ’t be able to meet this obligation: only if he allows
      this obligation to influence his design, there is hope that he can meet it.
      Pure a posteriori verification denies you that wholesome influence and is
      therefore putting the cart before the horse..."

      Just in case you're not sure, the term 'a posteriori' means something like
      "after the gathering of knowledge through experience". It means that like
      us, Dijkstra believed in at least conceiving of the tests 'before' the code
      is written - before its details are experienced.

      The TFD philosophy extends this of course, and enriches it by doing so. But
      it's good to know that there's nothing new under the sun.

      Cheers,

      Bryan

      b r y a n d o l l e r y
      c h a o s e n g i n e e r s
      www.ChaosEngineers.co.nz
      +64 (0)21 330607
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