Archive for March, 2008

Screencast: Browser Compatibility Testing Risk Analysis


In this screencast learn the art of trimming browsers from a browser compatibility test list by knowing your users, understanding how the browser works, OS & browser facts versus misconceptions, and grouping browsers by common component versions to remove redundancy. This screencast will you help you trim your browser compatibility list and feel confident about it (duration: 44 min. 28 sec.).


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Presentation Materials
Browser Compat
(1.62 MB, includes: Browser Compatibility Testing.pptx, Browser Facts Misconceptions and Experience.docx, BrowserCompatCheatSheet.xlsx, Setting Browser Compatibility Testing Expectations.docx)

If you don’t have Office 2007 you can get the Office 2007 viewers here for free.

Daisy "the diving dog" Strange


Our yellow lab Daisy loves to swim.  But really, what lab doesn’t right?

So the move from Oregon to Arizona, where there is a pool in the backyard, is a dream come true for ol’ Daisy. I honestly think that she thinks she’s in paradise sometimes.

For example, last year (at the end of August, when it’s like 85 degrees at 7:00 AM) I let Daisy out in the morning to go to the bathroom and feed her. When her morning “chores” were done I spied her walking slowly down the steps of the pool with a doggy smile on her face, as she eased in over her head with a slight groan of satisfaction…

Paradise I tell you. A dogs life… Boy, I wish.

Anyway, on to the point of this post. Daisy is a “diving dog”. As in, she fetches things from the bottom of the pool. It took her about 2 days to figure it out and gain confidence. We started in the shallow end and worked her to the deepest part. Now there is no challenge for her. Anything goes. She’ll get the object at the bottom at all costs. Amazingly, she stays under sometimes for long periods (greater than 20 seconds). This tends to happen only when you throw the object in the shade making it hard for her to see, thus making her dive a little less strategic or mathematical. 

Yes, mathematical.

She doesn’t rush into the dive. She is extremely efficient with her dives by choosing the best possible location to make the dive from. It’s very funny to watch when you throw the object into a shallow area (like the 2nd step) where a dive is not the best solution. It frustrates her, she wants to dive but she can’t…You can just see her mind going crazy as she races around trying to determine the best dive position. With no good solution available she’ll do more of a belly flop and then duck her head in to get the object. Funny stuff.

Anyway, I present to you “Daisy the diving dog”:

Just when I thought my dog was special… You’ll notice on YouTube that there are two other “Daisy the diving dog”s? WTF...It’s a small world I guess. For the record: This is Daisy Strange the diving dog from Gilbert Arizona! I’ll have to step up her YouTube rank by teaching her to save drowning children or baby-dolls on command. Stay tuned for the “Daisy the baby-doll saver” video at summer end.

Access Source Code in Team Foundation Server without Visual Studio


Occasionally people need to access Team Foundation Server source control but they don’t have or need Visual Studio or Team System. The good news is that you can access Team Foundation Server without Visual Studio!

Did you know you can access/read TFS source using Attrice’s Team Foundation Sidekicks and it’s free!?

Did you know you can access/read/write TFS source using Microsoft’s standalone application Visual Studio Team System 2008 Team Explorer and it’s free?!

Now you do.

The Agile Elevator Speech


I like Mike Cottmeyer’s 30 second elevator speech on what agile is basically about. Mike points out 3 key things:

  1. A set of engineering best practices that allow for rapid delivery of high-quality software.
  2. A project management process that encourages frequent inspection and adaptation.
  3. A leadership philosophy that encourages team work and accountability.

Wrong, or right, its a description in 30 seconds that gets your foot in the door. Slamming a 300 page book entitled Agile Software Development on management’s desk just doesn’t work.

Baby steps people… Changing or improving the software development process doesn’t happen overnight. Start with the foot in the door.

Two Reasons Why You Now Have Limited Access to TFS


I work nearly all day in and around people that are using Visual Studio 2005-2008 and Visual Studio Team Foundation Server, and I keep seeing the issue where a user who once had access to a project in TFS now has read-only or can’t even get to TFS. Here are two possible reasons why you now have limited access to a project in Team Foundation Server:

  1. The source control setting has been set to Visual Source Safe. Change it back to Visual Studio Team Foundation Server by:

    1. In the top menu navigate to Tools > Options
    2. In the Options window, select the Source Control node on the left side
    3. On the right panel select Visual Studio Team Foundation Server in the dropdown

  2. clip_image001

  3. You’ve changed your network password and the old credentials are cached on your box. Clear cached credentials by:

    1. Navigating to Start and then Run
    2. Type the following text in the run box: control userpasswords2
    3. Press Enter
    4. In the resulting dialog, select the Advanced tab and then click the Manage Passwords button
    5. Select the TFS server name
    6. Click the Remove button
    7. Restart Visual Studio


Testers and Developers Need Two Monitors


A long time ago I proved to myself that as a software tester and developer, working with multiple monitors was by far faster and more productive. As a tester the biggest payoff is when I run tests in one monitor while updating the test cases in the other. As a developer the payoff is writing code in one monitor and running the debug app in the other. Though I never had facts to prove this productivity I truly felt and saw it for myself. Fortunately, I’ve never been in a company that was too poor (or cheap) to provide two monitors so I never had to prove my case. I think the industry is starting to see the light. For example GoDaddy is the first place I’ve worked for that had 2 monitors as standard issue! Not only that but we are set up to use UltraMon (utility for multi-monitor systems, designed to increase productivity and unlock the full potential of multiple monitors).

If you’re a tester stuck with 17″ dual monitors or even worse, a single monitor, your evidence is now here… The results are in, the University of Utah says you can be more productive with 2 monitors and the larger the better:


Jeff Atwood, believes these are the actual results of the study.

Quetzal Bradley on Testing after Unit Tests


Hanselminutes recently had a show entitled Quetzal Bradley on Testing after Unit Tests where some very interesting perspectives and points were made by Scott and Quetzal about unit testing, code coverage and testing in general. I’ve never been a fan of measuring test completeness through code coverage and Quetzal sums up my feelings on that quite well:

Code coverage can’t cover code that’s not there”  e.g. lack of error handling, data conditions…

If you’re unit testing or writing automated tests be sure to give this show a listen. It’ll be worth your time.

How to Convert a Visual Studio 2005 non-Test Project to a Test Project


Have you ever been in the position where you want to convert an already existing Visual Studio 2005 project to be a Test Project so that you can write and run unit tests? There is no simple way, but there is a hack.

Assuming that you are using a version of Visual Studio that supports Testing (e.g. Team Edition for Software Testers) here is how to do it:

  1. Add the following .NET Reference to the project:
  2. Put in the following using directive in the .cs file that contains your tests:
    using Microsoft.VisualStudio.TestTools.UnitTesting;
  3. Create a Test List, this will generate the .vsmdi file (This is the file that opens your Test Manager tab):

    1. Click Test in the top menu
    2. Select Create New Test List:

    3. Notice in the Solution Explorer that the Project now is wrapped in a Solution and the .vsmdi file has been created:

  4. Setup your test configuration file (.testrunconfig):

    1. In Solution Explorer right click the Solution Items folder, select Add, then select New Item
    2. In the dialog, highlight Test Run Configuration on the left and select Test Run Configuration on the right side
    3. Name the file accordingly and then click Add:
    4. Notice the .testrunconfig file has been added to the solution

  5. Close Visual Studio
  6. Open the project’s .csproj file in a text editor.
  7. In the top <PropertyGroup> node, change the <ProjectTypeGuids> node to read:

    If your using VB.NET your GUID should be:

  8. Save and close .csproj file.
  9. Open the Solution up (.sln file).
  10. You are now ready to write tests.
  11. To run your tests:

    1. In Solution Explorer double click the .vsmdi file to open the Test Manager window
    2. Check the test you want to run
    3. Right mouse click the test and select Run Checked Test.


This problem is quite interesting due to the fact that the .vsmdi file and .testrunconfig exist at the Solution level and not the Project level. In the past this interesting fact was a small hurdle for our automation team because we needed to create a Visual Studio template for a Test Project, but Visual Studio only templates Projects and not Solutions (again the .vsmdi & .testrunconfig need to exist at the .sln level). I’ll save the explanation of that workaround for another day!

Monitoring source control changes in Visual Studio 2008


Today I was shown the “Project Alerts” feature in Visual Studio 2008. This cool feature allows you to monitor source control check-ins, failing tests, build completions, and work items in TFS. When one of these events occur you can be notified by email. Monitoring source control closely is very valuable for QA and testers, by doing so you can know the minute something is new or changed and can start building tests or investigating the change.

Here’s how to set Project Alerts in Visual Studio 2008:

  1. In the Team Explorer window, highlight the project name you want to set alerts for.
  2. In the VS 2008 top menu, click Team and then Project Alerts
  3. Enable the alert you are interested in and provide your email address in the Send to column.


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