QA Music: Dangerous

September 1st, 2014 by The Director

Not Roxette. Shaman’s Harvest:

I’m Way Past Inbox 0

August 27th, 2014 by The Director

Today on Gmail, I got my inbox down to inbox -50:

Inbox -50

How do you do that?

Well, in my case, I deleted a large number of emails from an unused email box and then, when it hung up, I deleted them again.

How do you test for that?

Well, if you’re me, you not only use an automated testing tool like Selenium or WATIR not only for interface checking, but to create large record sets to then use in manual testing. For example, you set up a script that adds 10,000 comments and then manually test to see what happens when you go to an item with a large number of comments. You can inspect how it looks (is the number too big for the space allocated to it on the page) but also what happens when you add another comment, when you delete the item, when you recommend the item to a friend.

You’ve Gotten Your Junk Data in My Junk Tests

August 22nd, 2014 by The Director

One of the recurring pratfalls in testing your integration with third party widgets shared by, and updateable by, others who use it is their test data becomes available to you sometimes.

Take, for instance, testing integration with Google maps. It’s becoming harder and harder to submit a string that returns no results. Search for asdf, for example, an old tester favorite.

ASDF, Ltd.

Someone in testing adding Google Places has added that as test data, and it’s there for all of us to see.

Fingered by an Error Message

August 19th, 2014 by The Director

Why would a user do that?

None of that stopped 26-year-old Diondre J— of Slidell, who checked into Slidell Memorial Hospital on Aug. 5 under the name of her deceased sister, Delores, Slidell Police Department spokesman Daniel Seuzeneau said Wednesday.

When hospital staff attempted to put the information into the hospital’s database, an error message informed them they might have been treating a dead person. The police were contacted, and Diondre J— was stopped in the hospital parking lot.

It’s good to see someone was on the job testing to see what would happen if you tried to enter a patient’s date of treatment after the patient’s date of death.

Because sometimes a user might do that.

QA Music – Wayback

July 28th, 2014 by The Director

And by way back, I mean a couple of years. Remember this?

Of course you do. QA never forgets.

Whereas some “successful” people can forget their failures when they’ve moved on, QA cannot. Because QA has to test for all failures it has experienced in person or vicariously from now and forever more, amen.

QA Music: Quality Assurance, Defined

July 7th, 2014 by The Director

Avenged Sevenfold, “This Means War”:

Are we at war with the others in the software industry who accept poor quality software? Are we at war with ourselves because we give it just slightly less than we’ve got and sometimes a lot less than it takes?

Yes.

I Know It’s Like Training Wheels, But….

June 26th, 2014 by The Director

I know this is just a simple trick that marks me as a beginner, but I like to add a comment at the end of a block to indicate what block of code is ending.

Java:

          }  // if button displayed
      }catch (NoSuchElementException e){
          buttonState = "not present";
      }  // try/catch
		
      return buttonState;
   }  // check button
}  //class

Ruby:

    end # until
  end # wait for browser

end # class end

Sure, an IDE will show me, sometimes faintly, what block a bracket closes, but I prefer this clearer indication which is easier to see.

In Other Words in Other Places

June 25th, 2014 by The Director

Now on StickyMinds: Picture Imperfect: Methods for Testing How Your App Handles Images.

It’s a list of dirty tricks but without the snark.

The Secret of My Success

June 24th, 2014 by The Director

Haters gonna hate – but it makes them better at their job: Grumpy and negative people are more efficient than happy colleagues:

Everyone hates a hater. They’re the ones who hate the sun because it’s too hot, and the breeze because it’s too cold.

The rest of us, then, can take comfort in the fact that haters may not want to get involved in as many activities as the rest of us.

But in a twist of irony, that grumpy person you know may actually be better at their job since they spend so much time on fewer activities.

It’s not true, of course.

Haters don’t hate other haters.

But the rest could hold true.

QA Music: Is There Any Hope for QA?

June 23rd, 2014 by The Director

Devour the Day, “Good Man”:

You Can Learn From Others’ Failures

June 17th, 2014 by The Director

10 Things You Can Learn From Bad Copy:

We’ve all read copy that makes us cringe. Sometimes it’s hard to put a finger on exactly what it is that makes the copy so bad. Nonetheless, its lack of appeal doesn’t go unnoticed.

Of course, writing is subjective in nature, but there are certain blunders that are universal. While poor writing doesn’t do much to engage the reader or lend authority to its publisher, it can help you gain a better understanding of what is needed to produce quality content.

It’s most applicable to content-heavy Web sites, but some are more broadly applicable to applications in general. Including #8, Grammar Matters:

Obviously, you wouldn’t use poor grammar on purpose. Unfortunately, many don’t know when they’re using poor grammar.

That’s one of the things we’re here for.

(Link via SupaTrey.)

QA Music: QA’s Place

June 16th, 2014 by The Director

The Pretty Reckless with “Heaven Knows”:

Sometimes it does feel like they want to keep us in our place at the end of the process, ainna?

Like A Prometheus of Vocabulary, I Bring You New Tools

June 4th, 2014 by The Director

The Australians and New Zealanders have a word, rort, that we should employ as part of our software testing lexicon.

I’m going to rort this Web site.

Feel free to drop that in your next stand-up. Bad Australian accent is optional.

A Quiz Where I Proudly Scored 0

June 3rd, 2014 by The Director

The 32 Words That Used Incorrectly Can Make You Look Bad.

So much of our written communication, including emails, texts, tweets, and online conversations are informal, but I still take pride in using full sentences, correct punctuation, and the right word for the job. It differentiates me from people who don’t, and I hope it serves me well in picking up clients and contacts.

A Forensic Psychology View of Software Development

May 1st, 2014 by The Director

A developer has a bit of a right-on rant about programming is stressful insanity:

Imagine joining an engineering team. You’re excited and full of ideas, probably just out of school and a world of clean, beautiful designs, awe-inspiring in their aesthetic unity of purpose, economy, and strength. You start by meeting Mary, project leader for a bridge in a major metropolitan area. Mary introduces you to Fred, after you get through the fifteen security checks installed by Dave because Dave had his sweater stolen off his desk once and Never Again. Fred only works with wood, so you ask why he’s involved because this bridge is supposed to allow rush-hour traffic full of cars full of mortal humans to cross a 200-foot drop over rapids. Don’t worry, says Mary, Fred’s going to handle the walkways. What walkways? Well Fred made a good case for walkways and they’re going to add to the bridge’s appeal. Of course, they’ll have to be built without railings, because there’s a strict no railings rule enforced by Phil, who’s not an engineer. Nobody’s sure what Phil does, but it’s definitely full of synergy and has to do with upper management, whom none of the engineers want to deal with so they just let Phil do what he wants. Sara, meanwhile, has found several hemorrhaging-edge paving techniques, and worked them all into the bridge design, so you’ll have to build around each one as the bridge progresses, since each one means different underlying support and safety concerns. Tom and Harry have been working together for years, but have an ongoing feud over whether to use metric or imperial measurements, and it’s become a case of “whoever got to that part of the design first.” This has been such a headache for the people actually screwing things together, they’ve given up and just forced, hammered, or welded their way through the day with whatever parts were handy. Also, the bridge was designed as a suspension bridge, but nobody actually knew how to build a suspension bridge, so they got halfway through it and then just added extra support columns to keep the thing standing, but they left the suspension cables because they’re still sort of holding up parts of the bridge. Nobody knows which parts, but everybody’s pretty sure they’re important parts. After the introductions are made, you are invited to come up with some new ideas, but you don’t have any because you’re a propulsion engineer and don’t know anything about bridges.

We’re not a above a bit of absurdist civil engineering metaphors to describe our predicament.

But it’s good to see a developer with a forest level view of the strange nature of software development.

(Link via tweet.)

Recruiters, Explained

April 30th, 2014 by The Director

On Quora, a recruiter explains recruiters.

Question:

Why do recruiters always contact me about jobs that are below me?
I’m a director at a major company, why do I constantly get recruiters contacting me about senior designer and design manager roles, when these are clearly below my skill set?

The beginning of the answer:

1) Recruiting is a pyramid with high turnover. By definition, most recruiters are not as skilled, which means they’re just calling anyone and everyone. Maybe you show up in a database with an old resume. Maybe they’re searching off keywords. Maybe they’ve been taught to call up the chain in hopes of getting new job orders. But you’re experiencing something a systemic fault. While it seems annoying, it works enough to keep many of those people employed.

He lists some other reasons which might be valid, but this one is the most prevalent in my experience. When they try to connect with you via LinkedIn, note how many of them look to be 23 years old. That’s another clue that they’re casting a wide, wide net, and your name is just a temporary variable in their patter.

Full disclosure: I’ve done some work for this guy before, so he definitely falls into one of his later categories. So I’ll take his word for it that not all other recruiters are nebbishes.

Lessons from An Engineer

April 29th, 2014 by The Director

A slideshow of What I Learned in Engineering School presents a number of lessons for software development if you look at them the right way.

For example:

A skyscraper is a vertically cantilevered beam. The primary structural design consdieration is not resistance to vertical (gravity) loads, but resistance to lateral loads from wind and earthquakes. For this reason, tall structures function and are designed conceptually as large beams cantilevered from the ground.

Just like how we have to test software. A building is supposed to stand up, so simplistically speaking, you’d think it would have to be strong and rigid against gravity. But there are other forces at work to account for.

So with a piece of software: simplistically, it’s designed to perform a task, and simplistic testing makes sure it does that task adequately. However, when looking at it from the tester’s perspective, you have to account for other forces besides the drive to get to the software’s goal. You’ve got to account for the real world, people making mistakes, and interactions that are sometimes hard to predict in a requirements guide or on a napkin.

And:

Work with the natural order. The locks of the Panama Canal are operated without pumps. Gravity moves millions of gallons of water from lakes to the lock chambers, where ships are raised and lowered 85 feet in passing between the Atlantic and Pacific oceans. As long as precipitation refills the lakes,the locks continue to function.

Your software will work better for your users if it conforms to their knowledge, their expectations, and their habits. Also, your processes will work better if you take into account your corporate (or organizational) environment, people, habits, and whatnot. You can’t come in and make everybody change to the better way you know just because you know it’s better. You have to take stock of what’s already going on and craft the better processes without trying to push water uphill.

At any rate, it’s worth a read with an eye to the lessons you can apply to software development.

QA Music – An Integration

April 28th, 2014 by The Director

We’ve featured the band Within Temptation before, and we’ve featured the song “Radioactive“.

An expensive integration later, and we have Within Temptation doing “Radioactive”:

That will be $450,000 for something delivered three years late. I am a consultant, you know.

What He Said

April 22nd, 2014 by The Director

Wayne Ariola in SD Times:

Remember: The cost of quality isn’t the price of creating quality software; it’s the penalty or risk incurred by failing to deliver quality software.

Word to your mother, who doesn’t understand why the computer thing doesn’t work any more and is afraid to touch computers because some online provider used her as a guinea pig in some new-feature experiment with bugs built right in.

I Said Something Clever, Once

March 19th, 2014 by The Director

Talking about automated testing once, I said:

Automated testing, really, is a misnomer. The testing is not automated. It requires someone to build it and to make sure that the scripts remain synched to a GUI.

Quite so, still