Archive for September, 2007

The Art of Unit Testing

0

Roy
Osherove
is in the process of writing a book entitled The Art of
Unit Testing
. You can read the first chapter for free and/or buy a copy in
advance and read up to chapter 6. I took the time to read chapter 1 last
night and I like what I’m seeing so far. This book will definitely be added to
my collection. What I like the most about this book hit me on the first
page:

“Ever since that first project that failed, I’ve been compiling best
practices for unit tests and using them on the next project. Every time I get
involved in a new project, I find a few more best practices.”

Roy is giving us honest to goodness best practices from real world
experiences; both success and failure with unit testing. If
you’re a developer, architect, development manager, tester, tester-developer or
managing quality, give the practices in this book a try and if it works for you
and your team…spread the word.



Running the dog at Cosmo Dog Park

0

Jake and Daisy

Last Sunday we made our way to Cosmo Dog Park to let our dog Daisy strut her doggy skills. I’m not talking about sniffing other dog butts or leave steaming piles of… uh, hehe. No, I’m talking about her swimming and fetching skills. Labradors are born fetchers and swimmers and she definitely is a Lab.

Cosmo Dog Park is super nice, and it’s hard  to believe it was created for dogs since it’s so big and beautiful. I was surprised to see three concrete, well constructed dog course items/obstacles. My dog was able to do them all the 1st try! I was really impressed and proud of her. I knew she was good but not that good. One obstacle was a large concrete wall with a 3 foot high window/hole in it to jump through. She jumped through on command like a natural (she didn’t even see any other dogs do it before hand either).

If you’re around Gilbert and have your dog with you make sure to check it out. It’s fun for both pooch and owner.

Cosmo Dog Park is located at the northeast corner of Ray Road and the Santan Loop 202 in Gilbert. The hours are 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. Cosmo Park is named for Gilbert’s first police dog: Cosmo van Blitsaerd of Holland. The park features a lighted fenced dog park. Timid dogs are directed to use the northern part of the park. There is a lake where dogs may swim and two dog wash stations. Call for information 480-503-6200.

Photo is compliment of Graham Ware at 5 Dog Photography. Thanks Graham.


Agile for 30 Minutes: Agile Defect Reporting

0

stopwatchHow do you report defects in an agile way? I’ll tell you my pre-requisites and guidelines for entering or not entering defects into the defect tracking system in an attempt to be agile (for 30 minutes):

Here are my pre-requisites for agile defect reporting:

  1. You need to have GREAT communication with the developers. What is great? A mutual respect for each other. An ability to talk at the level that both tester and developer can understand.
  2. You need to be able to quickly show your defect, especially if it is complex and hard to explain. What is quick? Email is NOT quick. I think quick is:
    1. Recreating in person.
    2. Using the phone.
    3. Sharing your desktop (Windows desktop sharing feature).
    4. Instant Messaging screen-shots.
  3. YOU must be able to conduct regression on the defect fix. Nobody knows the defect better than you. Especially since we’re going to be light-weight on the documentation (see The 10 minute rule below)

Here are my guidelines for agile defect reporting:

  1. The 10 minute rule: If the developer can’t devote time to you within 10 minutes then ask “When do you think you’ll have time to take a look at this with me?”. If within 30 minutes then press the 30 minute snooze button, make a note of it, and continue testing. It’s important to make a note of the defect at this point. A simple one liner will suffice, just enough info to kindle your memory of how you found it or how to recreate it. It is likely that you’ll have a few more defects to share by the time that 30 minutes is up, so your notes will help keep you on track when it’s time to share them. I use Microsoft OneNote (they have a free trial).
  2. The 30 minute deadline: If you can’t share the defect within 30 minutes then put it in the defect tracking tool.

Experience has proven that there is one downside to being defect agile (sharing within the 30 minute window): there is little defect history if the defect wasn’t entered into a defect tracking tool. So you are limited to your notes. I think in the last 2.5 years this bit me twice when a defect reoccurred and we were looking for how we fixed it (which would only work if your developers are detailing their fixes in the defect report).

Being bitten only twice is worth the price if you ask me. Hundreds of defects reported in an agile like fashion can save countless hours,days, or weeks for a tester and developer over the course of a project.



You Tester, should become a Tester-Developer

3

Why should you become a Tester-Developer?

  1. The software industry needs them bad. The demand is high and there are few.
  2. The high demand is an indication that the industry is moving away from the waterfall mentality to a more agile environment where testers are involved earlier and need to understand and write code for testing.
  3. You will likely make better money because you will be a better tester.
  4. It will be easier to get jobs with testing AND developing skills.

I hear the question quite often: What is a tester-developer? Steve Rowe sums this up quite well:

“Test Developers are the heart of a modern test team.  There was a day when you could get away with hiring a few people to just use the product and call that a test team.  This is no longer the case.  Products are becoming more complex.  The lifespan of products is increasing.  More products are being created for developers instead of end users.  These have no UI to interact with so simple exploratory testing is insufficient.  To test complex products, especially over an extended lifespan, the only viable solution is test automation.  When the product is an API instead of a user interface, testing it requires programming.”

What do you have to lose? Pick your poison, C#, VB.Net, Java, JavaScript, TSQL, Python, Ruby, or whatever is applicable to your company or to your interest. Find a few books, use tutorials on the Web, and most of all just start writing code. Keep the future in mind; what do you think you’re going to gain my learning Cobol? Do you think that will be applicable in the next job you take? Be patient and don’t rush, learning to program isn’t a fast or easy process.

This message was brought to you by the Push to Become a Tester-Developer Foundation  (PBT-DF) where we’ve been pushing testers to become tester-developers since…well, since you started reading this blog post. Be all you can be join the PBT-DF.


First Impressions of the 50" DLP TV: Samsung HL-T5089S

1

image Our new TV arrived this weekend. It’s beautiful. You know, I had to buy it. No really. Our new house has a built in entertainment cabinet and the old Mitsubishi 42″ rear projection didn’t fit in the TV slot; it was too deep. So since I was forced into removing inches from depth, naturally I had to make up for it by going a bit wider to make up for my loss. I had to upgrade from a 42″ to a 50″. I hate when that happens. Hehe…

After some advice from my friend Alex and much research I decided that the SamSung HL-T5089S was the TV we needed. Sight unseen. I was able to partake in a killer sale at HighDefinitionStore.com for $1749, with free shipping. This TV sells for $2199 everywhere else. The sale is still going on if you’re interested. I can’t believe the prices on this site! Seriously, check it out. It’s insane. These guys are the real deal. The site and company are a tad lacking in technology and online order processing but let me tell you: They got the job done. No gimmicks or BS, and they are quick.

Off the sales pitch and onto my story…Alex had told me that the new generation of DLPs are currently the best bang for your buck and my research revealed the same. Investigation quickly made it obvious that the Sony KDS 50A2020 (black cabinet) or 50A2000 (gray cabinet) and the Samsung HL-S5087W were the most loved in the 50″ DLP class. Both TVs are sold EVERYWHERE. I viewed them both in the store and liked them both very much. I was torn, but I needed ALL the details before I made the final decision and started on my bargain hunt. Researching the 5087 on SamSung’s site, I discovered that there was a newly updated model out, the HT-T5089S, but it can’t be found in the stores (at least around here). I couldn’t look at the TV so I needed to do an in depth technical review to figure out the differences. It took quite a bit of investigating but I was able to figure out that the slight differences between the 5087W and 5089S were:

  1. 5089S has Bluetooth for wireless headphones (vs. no Bluetooth)
  2. 5089S has USB 2.0 (vs. USB 1.1)
  3. 5089S has HDMI 1.3 with CEC (vs. unspecified HDMI version)
  4. 5089S Single Tuner PIP
  5. 5089S Doesn’t have game lag (as reported in the forums)

The average “sale” price for the 5087W in the store is $1700, $49 more for better features and claimed improvement for gaming lag seemed like a no brainer to me. I was willing to take the risk even though I hadn’t seen the TV’s picture quality.

The risk paid off.

This thing is sweet! I haven’t seen anything in 1080P yet but Discovery HD has quite a few 1080i shows that look soooo beautiful. On the downside, I’m constantly reminded in a whopping 50″ view that 98.75% of all the other cable channels’ image quality sucks. Sucks pixel ass to be more specific. Pixel ass sucking aside, my son and I are looking to purchase an Xbox 360 in the near future (I’ve got a deal with him that I’ll pay half) and we are really pumped to see what Halo 3 is going to look like on this thing. I’m betting there will be no pixel sucking going on with Halo 3. :)

Setup is easy. The remote is simple and easy to use. The menus are very nice looking and easy to use. The TV uses LEDs which means no color wheel, less energy and quieter (or no?) cooling fan, side view is great (10 degree more than the Sony 50A2020) and light coming through our windows doesn’t wash it out.

The only Samsung HL-T5089S negatives I’ve found so far are:

  1. The cable box remote codes in the manual don’t work for the latest Cox Cable box (haven’t checked for an update online yet).
  2. I took me a day to figure out how to get back to the original setup wizard that I was prompted with when I initially turned the TV on. Turns out it was a main menu item entitled “Plug & Play”. Maybe I’m just stupid, but “Plug & Play” on my TV didn’t click with me as a setup type item on my TV. This term is bad for TVs and its Microsoft history doesn’t help it either.
  3. Lying on the floor and looking up at it looks bad (it sits on a 24″ cabinet”). Certain colors have a lighter color shadow. However, sitting on a couch 8 feet away and slightly lower than the TV the problem isn’t seen. 

If you’re in the 50″ market and you’re not mounting your TV to the wall or caring how much of the entertainment cabinet depth you consume (HL-T5089S is 13.4 inches deep!) then I recommend this TV. If this isn’t the TV you want then I still recommend HighDefinitionStore.com for a great deal. 


Browser Automation on Mac OS X

0

I recently had to do a little research on the options available for automating Safari and FireFox on Mac OS X. Below are the possibilities I came up with. I haven’t tried any of the options out but first impressions make me lean towards FireWatir and SafariWatir. Here are my findings with a few very raw thoughts and comments:

Watir (FireWatir & SafariWatir)

Safari

FireFox

Other

Cost

image

image

image

Free

Good ol’ Watir. Seems to be quenching the thirst on the Mac too!

Selenium

Safari

FireFox

Other

Cost

image

image

image

Free

Large list of browser/OS support. Downfall is that it runs through a proxy or from inside a frame in the browser. How do you know that frame isn’t conflicting with your web app? What if you were running for days looking for memory leaks? If the automation tool is in a frame in your browser and the browser explodes, how do you know if it’s the Selenium or the browser? As noted here, Selenium sucks because: hacky workarounds for popups, SSL, & XSS, is not native browser driver, infrequent releases, Selenium-RC Safari “really sucks”.

WebDriver

Safari

FireFox

Other

Cost

image

image

image

Free

Test are written in Java. Very new and not complete. Can’t handle different document types (other than html), can’t drive Flash, HTTP session handling isn’t coordinated yet. suc

Eggplant  

Safari

FireFox

Other

Cost

image

image

image

$600-5000

Appears to simply drive OSX windows/functions. Doesn’t seem to know of or care about the DOM or the content in the browser. A Code example in the forum give me the impression that you can open Safari and use HTML controls using a “HotSpot” . Slight script interaction with Safari here too (open browser enter URL). Validation appears to be solely based image recognition.

iMacros for Firefox

Safari

FireFox

Other

Cost

image

image

image

Freeware

Quick and dirty. It would be possible to automate something in minutes.

CoScripter for FireFox

Safari

FireFox

Other

Cost

image

image

image

Free

Works in FireFox as a plugin. Appears very well thought out and very well done. Uses a wiki to view test details and edit test scripts. Pretty cool! Demo here. Made by IBM.


Comments are broken

0

Comments are broken on QAInsight.net when using Internet Explorer, so technically it’s not a BLOG anymore (according to the blogging “experts”). As I work to make comments work, use FireFox to leave comments or as always, feel free to email me. Email information is on the right.


Training videos for Visual Studio 2005 Team Edition for Software Testers

0

Lately I’ve been doing Web service testing using Visual Studio 2005 Team Edition for Software Testers. When I started testing using Team Edition, the features available in the “Software Testers” version were new to me and very confusing. I was able to quickly overcome my inexperience with a set of videos found at ASP.net. There are 27 in all, and the series is entitled: Videos on how to improve the quality and integrity of your software solutions.  I didn’t watch every one of them but I intend to. Check ’em out if you’re just getting started with VS 2005 for Software Testers and I guarantee it’ll give you a serious boost and make you productive a lot faster. 

There is also a great video series available on MSDN entitled How Do I?.  They have a specific subset based on testing entitled: How Do I: Use .NET Code to Customize Coded Web Tests?

Avoid the fumbling around and watch somebody do it first. It makes things so much easier!


Post navigation