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Canary Testing Term Explained

I’ve recently saw on Twitter that one guy mentioned how there is never a good way to start an article and then someone in the comments said how “Oi” should be a good attention grabber so… Oi people! Hopefully everyone is staying safe and healthy. Today I’ve wanted to write about an interesting and somewhat sad topic that caught my attention.

If you are a software developer or DevOps or generally working in the IT industry, chances that you didn’t hear about the term “canary testing” are very small. I’ve recently written about deployment strategies where I’ve mention one type of canary testing when it comes to deploying infrastructure but a similar way of doing things is being used in a whole IT industry and it’s called canary testing. But did you ever wonder why Canary? Why are those methods named by a bird? Even thou technical explanation is that “Canary Testing is a way to reduce risk and validate new software by releasing software to a small percentage of users. With canary testing, you can deliver to certain groups of users at a time”, there is a whole non-tech story behind it so let me tell you about it.

This story goes way back in time and it’s related to coal miners. Yes, that’s right, coal miners. They used to get little canary birds, put them in the small cage, and bring those little cuties with them down inside the mine. The main reason why did they do that is that if there was no enough oxygen inside the mine and danger was imminent, those little canaries would suffocate and die first which would warn miners that they should get out of the mine as soon as possible. At other times when there wasn’t any danger present they would just be adorable little friends to miners, singing for them and making them feel less lonely.

I’ve told you it’s an interesting and somewhat sad story, didn’t I? Anyway, I want to thank all those canaries for sacrifice themselves in order to keep our miners safe and I also want to thank them for giving us such an awesome and often-used term “canary testing” which makes me cheerful every time I hear them. And in the end, I want to tribute them by coding a whole day or maybe even a week without any music, but just with their beautiful singing. Thank you canaries! Here is one of the million videos to enjoy them.

Canary Singing


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