So the cat is out of the bag. We are working on an assertion tool. This DVCon we turned quite a few heads when we announced our new assertion product IAssertSpec. Not that the tool is ready by any stretch of the imagination, we wanted to gauge the interest of the user community. We wanted to see if people were interested in getting some help with assertions. So we first asked some help overselves from the experts in the field Ben Cohen and Srini, who have even written a few books on Assertions.
With their help, we created a quiz and invited web visitors and our DVCon booth visitors to take it. I don’t know what was intimidating about the quiz but not many people who came to the booth attempted it. For those that attempted it took more than 10 minutes to complete the 10 multiple choice questions. It wasn’t that people did not know assertions, they were literally scared of assertions or perhaps being judged.
I will be the first to admit that there were at least a couple of issues with the quiz (which have since then been fixed). However, only 5% scored a perfect 10.
We believe that this quiz and its results validates our premise that assertions are too difficult to create, understand and manage. Sure there will be a few individuals in every company who understand them inside and out. However, what about the rest? Should they just be at the mercy of the experts? Should they drop everything else, role up their sleeves and try and learn assertions or get one of the available (or soon to be available) tools to help with the assertions? The newer assertion syntax (IEEE 1800-2009) will only exacerbate the problem because it is even more complex.
We feel that assertion productivity tools have a very important role to play in promoting a more widespread use of assertions. They will make assertions ubiquitous and less scary.