Structure tour

Sometimes while I'm testing a new application, I struggle to get started. To help me focus and better understand my testing, I use application tours to support my testing. One the tours that I use is the structure tour.

In the structure tour you attempt to find everything you can about what comprises the physical product. That can include the code, hardware, multimedia files, or databases. I often look at the source and unit tests for languages I’m familiar with. I also try to get a look at the database or the schema(s) if XML is involved. When performance testing, understanding the application architecture and the hardware being used and how it’s configured are also priorities.

For a more descriptive look at using application tours, see an article I did for Software Test and Performance a few years ago. (It starts on page 20.)
HeuristicsMichael Kelly