Thursday, 23 April 2009

Hit By A Poodlebug

The other day I got an email from my wife who got a big shock at home when she heard a big crashing noise outside, went out and found a block of ice on the patio with fragments scattered around the garden.

As we live close to the Heathrow flight path then the obvious explanation seemed to be that it had come from an aircraft and a quick Google found a story about a garden shed being demolished as well as details from the Civil Aviation Authority on how to report an icefall - aka a Poodlebug*

What does all this have to with testing ? well the CAA website says that icefalls are rare and an average of only 25 icefalls are reported a year. But what if my wife hadn't been home to hear the ice falling ? And what if we hadn't bothered to Google it and find out how to report it ? How many times is there an icefall that no-one notices - or cant be bothered to report ?

Which brings me to the recent blog post by CodingHorror about Exception-Driven Development and how users are able to easily report crashes.

Whilst I can see how useful this is, there is also the poodlebug scenario. Only crashes get reported this way - how many other defects wont be ? And how many users bother to send in the crash reports - I dont bother when I get the IE ones.

Do you sit there being smug and thinking that your software only crashes 25 times a year ? or do you look up at the sky every time a plane goes over ?

* Poodlebugs have nothing to do with poodles ( see doodlebugs )

1 comment:

Simon Godfrey said...

Useful post Phil, and I've made a mental note never to live on the flight-path of any major airport.

Fact is, raising issues requires effort and it's effort people, including testers, sometimes cannot be bothered to invest.

A good example is any website, or Windows, when they offer the "report a bug" features - have I ever used it? Nope - this probably makes me a bad tester person.