Following my recent blogs on code change risk metrics, I've been asked what "The Way of Testivus" would have to say on software metrics.
A pupil asked the master programmer:
“Are software metrics good or bad?”
The master picked up a hammer and said:
“Metrics are tools. Just like this hammer. They are useful – even necessary – so use them … but don’t misuse or abuse them.”
The master looked around his cabin, walked to one of the walls, saw a nail that was sticking out too far, and hammered it in.
“This is how you use a tool.”
“How do you misuse it?” Asked the pupil.
The master shuffled to a wobbly table and started banging on one of the table’s leg. After a few minutes of awful racket, the leg was marred and weakened - and the table was still wobbly.
“This is how you misuse a tool.”
“I see,” said the pupil, “and how do you abuse a tool?”
The master smiled, kneeled in front of the pupil, lifted the hammer, and dropped it on the pupil’s big toe.
After regaining his composure, the pupil stood up, grimaced at the master, and hopped away on one leg.
Halfway to the door, he stopped, turned around and, while hopping in place, yelled:
“I am sure glad you did not pick a saw to make your point!”
The master replied:
"I will do just that if you ask me about the goodness and badness of metrics ever again!"
The pupil resumed his hopping away ... a little faster than before.
For the full version of "The Way of Testivus", check out the original Artima entry:
Or the very pretty PDF version of "The Way of Testivus" on ancient parchment (thank you Lori!):
For the Testivus view on a specific software metric, code coverage, check out: