Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Defects and failures

Not all software defects are caused by coding errors. One common source of expensive defects is caused by requirements gaps, e.g., unrecognized requirements, that result in errors of omission by the program designer. A common source of requirements gaps is non-functional requirements such as testability, scalability, maintainability, usability, performance, and security.

Software faults occur through the following process. A programmer makes an error (mistake), which results in a defect (fault, bug) in the software source code. If this defect is executed, in certain situations the system will produce wrong results, causing a failure.Not all defects will necessarily result in failures.

For example, defects in dead code will never result in failures. A defect can turn into a failure when the environment is changed. Examples of these changes in environment include the software being run on a new hardware platform, alterations in source data or interacting with different software. A single defect may result in a wide range of failure symptoms.

This could be considered a "prevention oriented strategy" that fits well with the latest testing phase suggested by Dave Gelperin and William C. Hetzel, as cited below

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