There’s been a lot of talk about varying “schools of thought” as of late, and this seems to have touched a few nerves today with an announcement made by Cem Kaner regarding the Context-driven School of software testing.

This announcement has caused a bunch of “bounces” and comments from various people in the testing community. Is Context-driven testing dead? Is the Context-driven School of Software testing dead? What does it all mean?

For me, it brings me back to the recent discussion of “Is Testing Dead?”, and I feel like I have the same answer I had to that. For me, the answer is “no, but things will likely not go on exactly as they had before”… and frankly, I think that is entirely OK.

I have often found these discussions tend to get political very fast. Just like with philosophy, we often have little in the way of disagreement with the underlying core of a philosophy, the “principles” that guide our vision. What we usually end up having is debates on the implementation, the “whats and wherefores”, and that tends to be a lot more contentious. In my world view, there can be many implementations of principles, and we can challenge, debate, and consider them all we want to. To borrow a line from Gamaliel, a rabbi mentioned in the New Testament:

“And now I say unto you, Refrain from these men, and let them alone: for if this counsel or this work be of men, it will come to nothing: but if it be of God, you cannot overthrow it; lest haply you be found even to fight against God” (Acts 5:38-39).

The point I get from this (and yes, this is specifically religious and borderline “out of context”, but not completely, so work with me here…), is that we can argue all day long about the implementations of things that are ultimately cults of personality, or we can look more deeply at the principles that make up the movement. For me, I care a lot more about whether or not the principles are correct than I do if one or another thought leader looks at it from one angle or another.

This is fresh and new, and I will guess there will be a lot of comments on this going forward, both today and in the future. Will this be disruptive? Perhaps. Will it be damaging to the cause of context-driven testing? I don’t think so. Too many people have shown the value of the context-driven principles, and they will stand the test of time if indeed they deserve to. Many people find tremendous value in them. Many people still believe in standardized best practices. Ultimately, time will decide which approaches will stand the test of time, and which will be enshrined as guiding principles in the future. I know where I’m placing my bets… how about you?