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The Yin and Yang of Testing – Part 2

In Part 1 of this post, I defined positive and negative testing and gave simple, real life examples of what happens if both are not utilized.  Side effects may be found, possible alternate uses may be discovered, perhaps a whole rethink of the product is required, or less frequently that the product works exactly as intended and it is ready for market.

In this part of the blog, I’ll provide some simple, generic examples of how we can use positive and negative testing with our solutions here at ToolBox.  We know that a few issues will always be found but we also know that by using both positive and negative testing we can reduce the number found.

Positive Testing at ToolBox Solutions 

  1. Add 5 specific products to only Client A and make sure that Client A can see all 5 products
  2. Add a new user (User1) associated to Client C and make sure that User1 can log in successfully to Client C’s site

Negative Testing at ToolBox Solutions

  1. Test to make sure that Client B cannot see the 5 products added specifically to Client A
  2. Test to make sure that User1 cannot log in to Client A or Client B’s site

Sometimes testing has a ripple effect.  For example, the text field we are testing might accept numbers and letters but then fail horribly when a period is added to the end.  Did it fail because we entered one more character than was expected? Or because it was not a number or a letter? Or because of some completely unexpected reason?  What is that reason?  How can we prevent it from happening again?

Once we find one issue, we go digging for more…leading to more positive and more negative testing.  Testing involves asking a lot of questions, seeking answers, making guesses, finding proof.  And there you have the yin and yang of testing…two very different concepts that work together to make sure that the ToolBox Solutions applications we release are complete.

April 7, 2014 | Tammie | Software Development


  1. JC Says: April 23, 2014 1:26 am Reply

    Great article Tammie! Testing cannot always follow the happy path, or just stick to the work flow scenarios. Edge cases must be flushed out. Black Box tests are a must in any test suite.

  2. marenos Says: April 30, 2014 2:35 pm Reply

    As JC stated using ‘work flow’ scenarios creates ‘real-life’ experiences driven by the end user. Case studies or working through a typical day in the life of our clients is a brilliant way to understand the business and check for quality control!

  3. MC Says: April 30, 2014 3:28 pm Reply

    Agreed, this is a great article. You never know what paths the QA process will take you down – sometimes to a happy place, sometimes not. But in the end when it results in a better, more stable product for the client – the time is worth it!

  4. GV Says: April 30, 2014 3:36 pm Reply

    Measure twice and cut once. Testing software solutions is very similar….just much more complex

  5. Monica Says: April 30, 2014 5:39 pm Reply

    Great article, for sre testing is an integral part of any development process and positive as well as negative testing simultaneously help remove ambiguities, if any.

  6. Joe Catella Says: May 1, 2014 5:55 pm Reply

    It’s very interesting to read these things when you’re not directly exposed to it on a daily basis. It’s great to know what kind of opening minds we have at ToolBox Solutions!

  7. TK Says: May 2, 2014 3:19 am Reply

    Giving a client what they asked for isn’t enough, when it comes to software, you also have to ensure that they aren’t getting behaviour that is completely unacceptable even when you can’t control what a user will do to the system.

  8. Graeme Says: May 2, 2014 1:46 pm Reply

    Great point on the ripple effect of testing. It can’t be overlooked because it can effect development time and in some cases design. Something you don’t want to toy with late in a project.

  9. Stephen Yoon Says: May 2, 2014 7:15 pm Reply

    I agree with importance of both positive and negative testing. This creates a stable application with expected behaviours, very important for building category management solutions.

  10. Brenda Says: May 2, 2014 9:06 pm Reply

    I concur this is a great article. It’s cycles of QA testing that provides positive results and designs.

  11. Shaun Says: May 4, 2014 3:36 pm Reply

    I think the key takeaway here is the fact that testing is very rarely linear.

    Once a problem is found, it is not only important to fix the issue and retest, but also test any associated areas of functionality. Resolving a ‘bug’ often can cause issues in other areas – leading to even more potential issues that previously identified.

  12. Kim Says: May 4, 2014 5:26 pm Reply

    Great article Tammie. QA is imperative to provide our clients a best in class and stable solution.

  13. David Says: May 23, 2014 6:02 pm Reply

    Development often assumes the happy path is the only path, but we all know that the boundaries and fringe cases are equally important. That is where you need a solid QA team that keeps you honest.

  14. Jason Says: May 29, 2014 2:57 am Reply

    The ripple effect you are talking about sounds like you are really helping to pinpoint what the cause of the bug is, not just that there is a bug. Great idea, as that would make it very easy to jump in and make the right fix.

  15. Mike E Says: May 13, 2015 11:11 am Reply

    It is important to distinguish between these two types of testing scenarios, and just as important to have process in place to support them

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