SWTC: Oracles and Heuristics

This is my take on Oracles and Heuristics that was discussed on the 3rd SWTC session.

What is a heuristic? It can be a,

  • Pattern ( That you identified from your experience)
  • Different view
  • Example
  • Way of thinking
  • Trigger
  • Past lesson guidance
  • Lab experiment
  • Method of solving a problem – fallible
  • Mental mode


How to test data using heuristics?

  • CRUD (Create, Read, Update, Delete)
  • Migration
  • Goldilocks
    • Too big
    • Too small
    • Just right
  • 0, 1 or many
  • STRIDE (Spoofing, Tampering, Repudiation, Information disclosure, Denial of service, Elevation of privilege)
  • ETL ( Extract, Transform, Load)
  • Follow data

Mnemonics – read http://www.satisfice.com/articles/sfdpo.shtml

So what is Oracles?

Its all about “how do you know what you know”

People use the “Six honest men practice”, FEWHICCUPPS , Rule of thumb, Educational guess (mostly in estimates) and also fresh eyes to explain Oracles. 

F for functionality -> from experience / people

E for Explainable

W for world -> Environment, context of the project / products.

H for History -> history of the product or about the legacy application

I for Image -. Image of the company, image of the product and it represent

C for claims -> product specifications / artifacts, sales or marketing materials, help text, client claims such as bugs

C for comparable -> products can be compared with other similar products in the market, with the legacy application

U for Users -> the people who matter and their feedback

P for Product -> functionality, styling.

P for Purpose -> Answer to the question Why?

S for Standards -> guidelines, heuristics


Then it was the game time. We were supposed to determine/invent the game using oracles and heuristics. We came close to the original but it was fun.

  One thing I understood is I was using most of these techniques from my experience and lessons learned but never had a name.

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