Pass/Fail

A poem about software test automation

The program works. I see it plain as day.
I’ve loaded it and run it and it’s met
My expectations, ages hence I set.
The system works. The website is okay.

Another program, then, I’ve writ and run.
This one can load the website on its own,
My expectations programmed in its bones;
It says the site is broken, then it’s done.

So that’s my job. That’s how I fill my hours:
They write the sites, I write these little tests
Which pass or fail; accurately’d be best;
I wrangle them to truth with all my powers.

The site knows not that it is being watched;
It does just what it’s been programmed to do:
Load up, have buttons, let the users through,
Until, if buggy, th’ experience is botched.

And so my test regards the site, untamed,
It has to wait for parts of it to load
Before it tarries onward down the code,
And searches for components in it framed.

Too long to load, the test will say it’s failed;
Too quick, the test could miss what it expects;
Where test and site’s intention intersects
Is fluid, moving targets, rightness veiled.

What I see with my eyes, and with my heart,
I know is true. The thing works, it just does.
But eyes and heart need sleep, e’en while the buzz
Or progress buzzes, building, part by part,

New corners of the site are made and made
All night and day, and who’s around to check
That this new corner wouldn’t cause the wreck
Of th’ older corners, years ago arrayed.

Each one of us a world, we each expect
Our truth to be born out when we inspect
Whate’er we come across in our travails;
So often we’re surprised, and rightness fails.
We’re limited; no one can test it all.
We build these daemons, toss them o’er the wall,
Expect that they’ll come back, assertions passed;
What’s true, what we expect, it doesn’t last.
It came at us too fast, now which did worse?
The truth that we expect, or th’ universe?


Finally, a poem for my professional network!

Look. Every poem is not going to please everybody. This one, I don’t think it even pleases me. But here it is, Monday, and a poem is due. Hope you’ve enjoyed it as much as I've enjoyed hitting Send and getting on with my life.

Thanks for reading.

This is Phil.