Archive for December, 2006

Free magazine: Software Test & Performance

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I ran into a link (can’t remember where) for a free subscription to Software Test & Performance magazine. You too can subscribe for the monthly print or electronic edition here. You can also download the back issues for free here. I haven’t spent enough time in the back issues to establish an opinion but it appears the magazine is pretty Java oriented. Have at ‘er.


A code gen utility that creates C# objects out of SWEA controls

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Tod Birdsall has created an online SWEA .htp parser that will take your .htp file and break each scene’s controls down into C# objects. In the past this is something I did by hand, but I thought it could be useful to you if you’re just putting your framework together or are refactoring. Pretty handy when you have a few hundred controls. The utility will take this:

        <Control Name=”Nav_Users” Type=”HtmlAnchor”>
          <IsOptional>false</IsOptional>
          <ControlDescriptor>
            <HtmlId>ucHeader_lnkUsers</HtmlId>
            <HtmlName />
            <XPath>HTML[1]/BODY[1]/FORM[1]/A[2]</XPath>
            <TagName />
          </ControlDescriptor>
        </Control>


and turn it into this:


// ParentName = sceneChallengeReport
HtmlAnchor Nav_Users = ((HtmlAnchor)browser.Scene[“Nav_Users”]);


The code gen utility can be found here.


An Agile Software QA Engineer’s Letter to Santa

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Dear Santa,
The rest of QA is writing so I thought I should too.  Santa, I’ve been a most excellent boy this year. Let me explain…BTW, no matter what Matt says, I don’t think your red suit makes you look fat.


You see, it’s really been beat into my brain that I need to track EVERY defect I find in the defect database, but I haven’t done that this year. “Egads!” you say? Santa, you don’t understand… You have no idea how efficient it is to say “Hey Matt” (the developer who sits behind me), Matt will pull one headphone muff off of his right ear and say “you talking to me?” in a slightly gruff voice, and I reply with “Yeah, I found a defect” in my slightly cocky, testing rock-star, voice. He’ll wind through a “Oh reeeeeally”, and typically I’ll reply with a “Yeah, come check it out”. Matt will then give a heavy leg-thrust to scoot his chair across the low profile business carpet to arrive at my desk 10 feet away. “Get outa my way” he’ll sneer as his chair crashes into mine, half out of smart-assedness, half out of spite that I found a defect related to his code.


Scanning the results on my test system, Matt comes to the conclusion “Yep, I know what that is”, which is only half of what I thought it was, but through the process of watching and questioning Matt I understand the 2nd half and then I fully understand the issue which makes regression of the defect easier. “Give me a minute” Matt says, and after giving him that minute I have a new build to use , if I want it.


Seriously Santa, think about it: Real-time defect fixing and regression… Developer time saved wading through a written defect and reproducing it, QA time saved by eliminating blocking issues, and a true understanding of what the issue at hand is.


Santa, I’ve given up Waterfall for Agile. I’ll take coal any day before I go back to that Waterfall crap. I hope you can find it in your heart to understand. I hope you can take my lessons learned and improve your waterfall process. YOU KNOW WHAT I’M TALKING ABOUT…Timmy the elf building the train with a 2″ wheel base, while Elizabeth the elf is on the other side of the wall building a 4″ wide train track. If you can find it in your heart to understand the reality and efficiency of agility and decide to reward me for realizing it…I WANT A ZUNE.


What to do when drag and drop on you Virtual PC stops working

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Ah, the irony of finding a defect in your testing tool. So annoying… 


When testing on an image in Virtual PC 2004 not a day goes by when the drag and drop copy feature stops working (from the VPC to the host machine or vice versa). Typically a VPC reboot will fix the issue for me but that takes time when your VPC takes a couple minutes to boot. It’s usually easier to just transfer the file through a file share. Frustrating…a ton of copying and file transfer goes on when I’m testing, but I never have the time to troubleshoot such a trivial task and sometimes the reboot isn’t worth the feature.


Ben the VPC Guy blogged about a similar issue. His fix is to kill and restart the explorer process on the host machine. I didn’t have a chance to try this out today, but the next time this occurs (100% likely tomorrow) I’ll try two things: First I’ll kill and restart explorer on the VPC since my problem is fixed by a VPC reboot where his was fixed by a host reboot, if that’s a no-go then I’ll give his fix a try. I’ll let you know.


Update 12/8: Killing explorer on the host or the VPC didn’t work for me. Restarting the VPC works as usual though. What gives Ben?


IE6 and IE7 Running on a Single Machine

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Internet Explorer 7 is out and as the world gradually upgrades, our web applications are slowly forced into compliance if we want to truly reach all of our audience. When it’s been declared that your app will support both (at least for the time being) the testers are forced to conduct browser compatibility using both. Because of this, testers are now dealing with the problem: Knowing that IE6 and IE7 can’t be installed at the same time on one machine, what is the most efficient way to test both IE6 and IE7? It sure would be nice if I you could test both from a single test machine right? Fact of the matter is, you CAN! You’ve got two options here, a Not so Guaranteed way, and a Guaranteed way.


Not So Guaranteed Way
Use MultipleIEs from TredoSoft,which allows you have multiple versions of IE (3.0, 4.01, 5.01, 5.5, 6.0) placed and semi-runnable on one test system. I’ve done a bit of playing around with this method and from experience it’s pretty unstable. IE is built to tie into your OS, so being a unstable seems reasonable when you have hacked apart piles of assemblies that make up different versions of IE (as MultipleIEs has done). If you’re fairly familiar with what different versions of IE look and feel like you’ll get the same uncomfortable hunch that I get when I’m trying to convince myself that I’m truly experiencing the version of browser I opened. Goofy things make me suspicious, like running IE 5.5 and viewing the “About” window which tells me that I’m running IE 6. Attempted validation of components in these browsers using detection tools such as BrowserHawk.com still leave me scratching my head due to issues with tools themselves or the browser. Who knows? I don’t know! It would take a lot of work to know. I would find great comfort in proof that the rending engine, JavaScript version, management of cookies and cache of that browser were truly being used. But I don’t have time to do that. Will you test on a questionable browser/system and put your “tested” seal on the Web app when you don’t have proof of the authenticity of that browser? Not me. Those are my feelings, the IE team backs them up with this post. However, I can confidently put my seal on the Guaranteed Way:


Guaranteed Way
1. Install IE7 on your test machine.
2. Download and install the free Microsoft Virtual PC 2004 and the free Windows XP SP2 IE6 VPC Image (no license required). Set you new environment up in 19 easy steps.


Do it the right way testers. Microsoft has made it easy and free for you.



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