Monday, May 17, 2010

Ride the Happy Path

No Problems, Errors or Typos Up Here

In software development, the Happy Path is a test or process which exercises the software functionality by providing inputs that are valid in format and correct, and looks for all results to be what was expected with good inputs. Think of it as the antithesis of Garbage In, Garbage Out. Although that statement does raise the difficult question: what's the antonym of "garbage"?  Happy Path is the boring part that no one is interested in, since I can attest that what really gets people excited is not the bulk of what a piece of software does 99% of the time perfectly, but rather the interesting little error that results once in a blue moon.

The photo above is from one of the happiest little shortcuts I have run across in a while. The smiley face just put the seventh sigma on the validation results (if you will). I love the gravel surface, deep shade on a warm day, and the whimsical jog to the right. And the best part: almost right behind me in this shot is a bat cave where thousands of Mexican Free-tailed bats roost in the summer. Pix or video of them some time this summer. They emerge at sunset, and skim the canal eating. It's their happy path. Get up. Go ride.


  1. I've never heard of Happy Path before, but I usually seem to find it whenever I ride my bike. Believe me, the Happy Path is what I'm interested in, not the errors I encounter.

    I'm guessing the antonym of garbage might be treasure?

  2. Hmmm. Treasure In, Treasure Out. It does have a nice Gordon Gecko, Greed is good ring to it!

  3. Oldfool you comment got stuck in blogger land, it just showed up. Thanks for commenting! Keep on riding the happy path...

  4. Love this short piece, John. One of my favorite summaries regarding "the seventh sigma" is: Thou shalt not lie about ice cream cake" (Sorry, but can't remember the source.) Anyway, this piece is a slice of ice cream cake about the happy path, if that makes any sense (LOL) and made my morning. Thanks for writing!

  5. cloudhidden, glad you enjoyed it. I'm not sure if there's an obscure reference to the computer game "Portal" in there or not. Obscure references to Portal considered harmless here. And Happy Path runs all through this blog. And you've made me think: even a system intended for a quite arduous and demanding purpose has a happy path of intended functionality which would test successfully--a blast furnace, a crash safety cage, refractory tiles. There's a new post lurking down thataway, certainly.


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