Author Archive for Brent Strange

A Great Software Testing Comic: Cartoon Tester

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Fellow tester and cartoonist Andy Glover showed up on the SQA testing cartoon scene earlier this year with his comic strip Cartoon Tester. Andy does a great job in recognizing, mocking, and illustrating the classic tester and developer relationship as well as the general testers’ life. When I discovered and read his comic for the first time in the first Software Testing Club magazine I found myself laughing out loud.

The sad, sad truth about software development. It’s hilarious! Make sure and subscribe to Andy’s comic here.

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Watir Podcast #32 with guest Brent Strange!

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Watir Podcast #32 is out and in this episode Zeljko and Gregg have me as a guest! In #32, we spend some time talking about how our Hosting Team at GoDaddy uses Watir for website automation, the supporting framework and patterns, and much more. When your ears have a few spare minutes you can get the podcast at WatirPodcast.com and TestingPodcast.com.



Tips for Automation Success: Making Tests Repeatable and Consecutive

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Tips for Test Automation SuccessBeing able to to run individual tests repeatedly and also being able to run them consecutively is a serious challenge when it comes to automation. I think all automation engineers want it, but some fall prey to not having it due to time constraints, setup and teardown complexity, or system access limitations.

What good is automation when it can’t be ran repeatedly, further more running them all at once? Seems like a dumb question, but I’ve seen plenty of non-repeatable tests or suites written by others, and occasionally have fallen prey myself.

How do I ensure repeatability?

  • When planning the automation time budget, I allocate at least 15% for building infrastructure. Can’t get the time? Fight for it, as an automation engineer it’s your job. You have to sell the fact that if you don’t have the time to build in the infrastructure for repeatability your tests will be less useful, take longer to setup due to manual intervention, and will eventually crumble into uselessness over time because manual intervention is not something you can easily hand off to another automation engineer or developer.  
  • I start building in repeatability with test #1. This test can often take the longest to write because I’m often times building in the infrastructure needed to run all my tests repeatedly (reusable functions, system access functions (db connections, etc), setup and teardown functions). 
  • When the test is done being developed,  I run the test, I run it again, I run it again. repeat and rinse until it passes every time.

How do I ensure I can run all my tests consecutively?

  • I build each test so that it can be ran independently, which means that when I run them all from a list, no matter which order they are in, they will not interfere with each other. This is why extracting common code into methods, setup and teardown is instrumental; I will reuse it in almost every test.
  • I try to run all tests after each new test is developed and completed to make sure the new test plays nice with the others. This isn’t always possible if you have long running tests, but if they aren’t, I definitely do this.
  • I run them all at least once a day.

1st Edition of STC Magazine is out

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imageThe first copy of the Software Testing Club magazine (STC) is out! I had a chance to review it before the release and I have to say it’s a really cool magazine. It’s fun, different, and not so stuffy. SQA talk can get so boring, but STC breaks out of that box. Between the articles written by the community, the artwork, the comic strips, and the smart-ass QA and development quotes on the bottom-left of every other page, I found myself having a great time reading it. I really enjoyed the comics by Andy Glover, and found myself laughing out loud over them.

I’d like to also point out that my Do Loop Until 0 comic is in the magazine. Not necessarily funny, but a quick view of the realities of testers and developers in the software development environment. I’ll admit Do Loop Until 0 can be a little deep at times, but if you study the details closely the irony will hit you like  a sledgehammer. The more I do the strip, the more I realize how Spy vs. Spy influenced me as a child.

Take a look yourself here, I really do think you’d enjoy it.




Tips for Automation Success: Toot Your Horn

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Tips for Test Automation SuccessToot your automation horn! “beep-beep!” Or is that a “HONK-HONK!”? Typically people don’t know what your up to in your little test automation world if you don’t communicate/toot. Communication gets it out there, getting it out there will allow it to spread. Verbally, in status reports, in executive summaries, etc. “What do I toot?”, you say?  Toot your success and your failure:

  1. Toot: Your test stats:
    • Calculate time saved by running automated tests vs. manually running the tests. Toot the time saved per test run, per week, per month, per year.
    • Automated test case count
    • Test assertion count (often time x4 the number of tests) 
    • Count of and description of defects found
    • Count and description of defects found through early involvement
  2. Toot: Your test framework features and value
    • Code reuse
    • Consistency
    • Shared tests
    • Patterns and practices
  3. Toot: Your failures:
    • So that other automation engineers don’t make the same mistakes
    • To keep things realistic. Positive only is hard to believe!

There is a fine line for tooting automation, “To toot or not to toot?”, that is the question. Don’t be (too) cocky. For example, a good toot is “Automated regression passed! Now that’s nice, the state of the build determined in 2 minutes!”. A bad toot: “This automation is so awesome, you guys would be screwed without it!”. Don’t over toot. Nobody likes an annoying tooter. Toot stats in your status report. Verbally toot once or twice a week to the project/Dev team. Toot your heart out to your fellow automation engineers, they are on the same page.


Audio Podcasts on Testing: TestingPodcast.com

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Zeljko Filipin has put together a site to that encompasses many testing related audio podcasts at TestingPodcast.com. It’s amazing to see how audio podcasts have grown in the last year within the testing community. QA and testing voices are literally heard, and that’s pretty cool.

Stay tuned to TestingPodcasts.com and you’ll be sure to hear my monotone voice in the next month or so. If you’re a true fan you’ve heard it already in my testing screencasts 🙂


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