Smoke tests and mirrors - magic principles in test automation

Having been a hobbyist magician for 34 years, I started noticing that some close-up and stage magic principles and theories don't only apply to magic tricks but also to software testing.

An example of this is the application of the KISS principle (Keep It Simple, Stupid) in software development. This helps to avoid unnecessary code complexity and make it easy to understandable and follow. In magic, this applies as well. Magicians strive for clarity and simplicity by creating effects that are easy to follow for spectators.

In this sessions, I will try to connect those two worlds and thus combine two of my passions. Also, I will try my best to illustrate the magic side of things with demonstrations. This is a challenge I set for myself - let’s see how it goes.


Outline/Structure of the Talk

Exploration of magic principles in relation to test automation such as

  • The large action covers the small (misdirection)
    In magic, this principle is used to disguise small but important moves by directing attention to more prominent motions that occur at the same time. In test automation, we can be misguided by large test failures that misdirect us to the wrong place - a very small bug with a big impact.
  • The small action covers the large (focus of attention)
  • Hide your skills (encapsulation of complexity)
  • Don’t tell what you’re going to do before you do it (expectation)
  • Motivation of movement (pattern of legitimation)
  • Clarification of initial and end states (interpretation)
  • "Give your audience credit for having an intelligence at least equal to yours"
  • etc.

Each principle will be demonstrated and put in relation to testing.

Learning Outcome

  • Get to know a little more about the magic world in relation to software testing
  • See how experiences in a completely unrelated field can be highly beneficial
  • Have some fun

Target Audience


Prerequisites for Attendees


schedule Submitted 1 year ago

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