Archive for April, 2006

Cedric talks about why Ruby on Rails won’t become mainstream


Over at Cedric’s Weblog, Cedric has some thoughts on why Ruby on Rails won’t become mainstream:

“So why do I think that Ruby on Rails will never cross the chasm?”

Cedric explains the following reasons:

  • First of all, Ruby.
  • Ruby on Rails itself.
  • Still no credible IDE.
  • Fanaticism.
  • Crowd of a single mind.
  • Enterprise capabilities and scalability unclear.

Read the full article here.

Hotkey for finding a defect by ID in ClearQuest


After 5 years of using the Rational ClearQuest fat-client and never being able to figure out the hotkey combination to search for a defect ID in the database I accidentally tripped over it yesterday. During an involuntary mashing of keys by my overactive fingers my weary QA eyes were greeted with the Find Record dialogue box. Fortunately the finger spasms weren’t too out of control and I was able to quickly recreate the mistake! My years and years of going to the Edit Menu and clicking Find Record are over. When I had confirmed the hotkey I felt like Neo in The Matrix when the world turned to green bits and he was able to bend it to his will. I was finally one with ClearQuest. QA life will be so much easier now.

Over the years I can’t tell you how many new ClearQuest users I’ve had to show the secret to finding a defect in the database via Edit > Find Record (not to be mistaken for finding a defect in the query result pane; CTRL+F; Edit > Find). Why did Rational have to make this so non-intuitive? Why can’t Rational/IBM post ALL the shortcut keys somewhere?

Oh, the shortcut key combo? Seems simple now in retrospect:

01000011 01010100 01010010 01001100 00101011 01010011 01001000 01001001 01000110 01010100 00101011 01000110

(CTRL+SHIFT+F for those of you who aren’t one with the ClearQuest Matrix)

Forcing events to fire in SWEA


On our site we have validation controls (VAM) that we use with our forms to force valid data input. If the input is invalid then an error/label will appear. VAM will validate the form when events that are associated with the form elements are fired. In simple terms it looks like this:

  1. Enter invalid text into textbox
  2. Remove focus from textbox (click away)
  3. Error/label displays

Today in my automated test using SWEA, I couldn’t get the error/label to display since IE doesn’t fire the event when the value is changed programmatically. In order to get SWEA to display the error I needed to use SWEA’s Invoke() method to invoke the OnChange event. This is what it looked like:

case TestGoal.ClientSideError1:
   //Enter a value into the textbox
((HtmlInputText)(IE.Scene[“Zip”])).Value = zip;
   //Force the OnChange Event using Invoke()
   //Validate the resulting error label
    “Incorrect message”);

Alex helped me through this issue and told me that he would work on making SWEA cleverer by adding automatic event handling. Thanks for your help Alex! 

Measuring pixels


I love watching developers whine and squirm when you put in defects about something being off by x pixels. Here I am, just doing my job, comparing a Web site layout against a specification. Spec says table should be 500px wide, table on site is 495px. Sounds like a defect to me. Here is the conversation that occurs on the phone shortly after I submit the “pixel” defect:

Ring. Ring. Ring…

Brent: QA! We put the K in Kuality! This is Brent.
Developer: Hey I just saw that defect you put in.
Brent: The one about SQL injection?
Developer: No, the one about the table being 5 pixels off.
Brent: Oh, that one. Yeah, 5 pixels
Developer: Are you freakin’ kiddin’ me?
Brent: Yeah I’m kiddin’ you. It’s the same joke as the other 20 defects I put in against you today but just worded a bit differently.
Developer: Alriiiiight?
Brent: The spec says 500px the table is 495px
Developer: Well, I can’t get it to be 500px due to the 1st column being managed by percentage.
Brent: I’m just following the specification. Either it needs to be fixed or the specification needs to be modified.
Developer: What are you freakin’ bored up there or something? Why are you looking at this stuff?
Brent: Bored? How can I be bored? I put 10 severity 1, 24 severity 2, 46 severity 3 defects against you in the last 3 days….Cuz it’s a requirement.
Developer: You’re killin’ me!
Brent: So that means you’re going to fix it?
Developer: (long pause)..Yeah. What are you using, a friggin’ pixel ruler or something?
Brent: Yep.
Developer:Uhm, Oh… (long silence). Alright thanks.
Brent: No problem.

And that’s pretty much how well pixel related defects are received.

For a few years now I’ve been using a free tool called Pixel Ruler. It allows me to look at pixel lengths and placement in a browser or anything on my desktop. It’s pretty handy when you’re trying to measure Website layout and wading through code doesn’t quickly yield the numbers you’re looking for.

Today I looked around to see what else was out there and ran into Ruler and the MeasureIt FireFox extension. Here is my take on the three pixel rulers:

Ruler: It’s easy to use, it has opacity so you can see what you’re measuring if you place the ruler over the top of your item to be measured. Measuring width and height is as simple as placing your top-left corner where you want to start the measurement and then dragging the right and bottom edges to where you want the measurement to end.

Pixel Ruler: Pixel Ruler is easy to use, it doesn’t have opacity so you can’t overlap the item you are measuring. If you want to measure height versus width you have to flip the ruler (opposed to dragging ruler edges in Ruler).

MeasureIt: First off, since it’s a FireFox extension you can only measure pixels in FireFox. This isn’t very helpful for measuring things in IE or for that matter, anything on the desktop. Secondly, you have to drag a marquee around the object you want to measure. I had a really hard time doing this on my laptop thumb-pad and my test Google image of 80 pixels took me 6 tries to get the 80px measurement. I didn’t like this tool at all.

I’m switching to Ruler. It’s seems easier than Pixel Ruler by a smidge. What free tool do you use to measure pixels?

Google Toolbar (Version 2) for FireFox combats phishing


Google has released a version 2 of their toolbar for FireFox. Amongst its many features is the ability to detect phishing and site spoofing. I tried the feature out against a known, still active phishing site and the toolbar caught it immediately and then disabled the page until I answered its warning. Tools like this are a must have when studies show that 90% of people are fooled by a good phishing site. Here’s a screenshot of what the warning looks like:

Better Software Conference & EXPO 2006


The up and coming Better Software Conference & EXPO has quite a few new topics in their pre-conference tutorials this year. Finally, something new! I was getting sick of looking at the same stuff OVER and OVER again. Here is a list of the new tutorials:



  • Scrum: Project Management for Agile Software Development Jean Tabaka, Rally Software Development Corporation
  • Fearless Change: Patterns for Introducing New Ideas Linda Rising, Independent Consultant
  • Becoming a Trusted Advisor to Senior Management Lloyd Roden, Grove Consultants
  • Test Automation for Agile Development, Linda Hayes, Worksoft, Inc.
  • Agile Retrospectives: A Team Leader’s Guide Esther Derby, Esther Derby Associates, Inc
  • Just Enough Metrics: Instant-On Methods for Benchmarking, Quality, and More Michael Mah, QSM Associates
  • Behind Closed Doors: Secrets of Great Management Johanna Rothman, Rothman Consulting Group, Inc., and Esther Derby, Esther Derby Associates, Inc.
  • Agile Estimating and Planning, Mike Cohn, Mountain Goat Software
  • Establishing a CMMI-Compliant Measurement Program Steven Lett, The David Consulting Group
  • FIT for Requirements Collaboration, James Shore, Titanium I.T.
  • Finding Ambiguities in Requirements, Richard Bender, Bender RBT

Microsoft Sofware Quality Metrics (SQM)


Mary Jo Riley from Zif Davis has written an interesting article in the latest eWeek about the delay of Windows Vista due to quality. The delay is not the interesting part (that’s old news now), but what peaked my interest was that Microsoft has a pledged to re-engineer software development with an internal project named Software Quality Metrics or SQM.

There’s not much info on the details of what SQM is but sources say that it is capable of reporting quality of service and usage, real-time feedback on the impact of UI changes, and aggregating quality data into cubes and data warehouses that can be manipulated.

Microsoft is keeping this on the down-low at the moment, so we’ll have to be patient to see what SQM is really capable of.

The end is near: Windows XP on a Mac


Apple® today introduced Boot Camp, public beta software that enables Intel-based Macs to run Windows XP. Available as a download beginning today, Boot Camp allows users with a Microsoft Windows XP installation disc to install Windows XP on an Intel-based Mac®, and once installation is complete, users can restart their computer to run either Mac OS® X or Windows XP. Boot Camp will be a feature in “Leopard,” Apple’s next major release of Mac OS X, that will be previewed at Apple’s Worldwide Developer Conference in August

Boot Camp will be available as a feature in OSX 10.5 “Leopard”, but you can download a trial preview of Boot Camp now. Read more at

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