Friday, July 07, 2006

Software testing FAQ - No. 19

Most people know that the First Emperor of China was buried with a massive terracotta army. What they don’t know is that there were other terracotta figures buried which are not soldiers. This picture (see below) clearly depicts a group of software test consultants about to get to grips with some tricky test conditions. Is this the oldest known artefact depicting more than one software tester?

That question was sent in by Tracey Temple.

Tracey, the picture you sent is obviously a group of terracotta figures from the Mausoleum of the First Emperor of China, Qin Shi Huang. What is not so obvious is why you think they are software testers.
I know that the 8th International Symposium on Future Software Technology 2004 was held in Xi'an which is where the terracotta figures were buried over 2000 years ago. The topics covered at this event included testing methodologies, quality improvement and testing, and object oriented testing techniques. The close proximity of software testing specialists and terracotta statues at this event may have caused your confusion.
Another way to become confused is to ingest mercury, which attacks your brain and leads eventually to death. In a strange echo of the past, Qin Shi Huang also took mercury and ended up going mad. The mercury in question is the metal not the testing tool company.
Since there was no software in 210 B.C. there would not have been any software testers. So the answer is no.