Archive for March, 2008

Gallery of Stack Traces: What We Have Here Is A Failure To Redirectorate

Monday, March 31st, 2008 by The Director

Don’t you hate it when you’re doing timeout tests, and the application shows the login page, but when you log back in you get .BARF?

.BARF!
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When the application says, “The return URL specified for request redirection is invalid.”, it really means “Dude, why did you put all those nasty, ill-encoded characters in the URL when you know I can’t handle them?”

To find this particular beauty, you need to watch for your application dumping a lot of data onto the querystring between transactions. Then, wait for it to time out in the middle of the operation. Your application can then recognize you’ve timed out and direct you to the login page with a return URL on the querystring (if your application does this, of course). When you try to log back in, the application chokes on its own URL.

Beautiful!

For more information, see this piece on ASP.NET migration and this bit entitled “Silent Breaking-Change to FormsAuthentication::RedirectFromLoginPage.”

IE 8 Cheatsheet

Monday, March 31st, 2008 by The Director

Joe Strazzere provides a list of compatibility issues he’s put together for IE Beta 1.

Man, loss of the alt text tooltips will suck; that’s usually how I check for the presence/correctness on a Web page.

QA Is The Dark Side: Visual Evidence

Friday, March 28th, 2008 by The Director

From Flickr:

QA is the dark side!
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That’s Your First Misconception

Friday, March 28th, 2008 by The Director

Here’s a mistake put into the mouths of users:

Most voting officials can’t possibly imagine how a voting machine might incorrectly count votes. After all, it’s been tested!

Link seen on TechDirt, whose author contends:

For computer programmers, who are intimately familiar with what goes on under the hood, the idea that we should automatically trust anything a machine tells us is a little bit ridiculous.

Try working in QA, pallies. Therein you will learn to dissuade yourself of the misconception that anything has actually been tested, and you will learn to not only distrust what computers tell you, but also what programmers tell you as well–especially when they’re cloaking themselves in false humility and belief in the potential for their own failures.

Have Fun, Sharpen Up

Friday, March 28th, 2008 by The Director

What do real QA people do for fun?  Why, they do Life picture puzzles to attune their sensitivities to slight variations.

Or I do, anyway.

Show Them You Care

Thursday, March 27th, 2008 by The Director

Go ahead, download the Safari Web browser for Windows and demand that all your organization’s Web sites and applications be compatible starting now.

That will make your team’s day.

UPDATE March 31, 2008: It looks like the problems are coming in:

With Apple Inc. aggressively foisting Safari 3.1 on Windows users, millions are likely trying out the Web browser for the first time.

Though many are finding the free browser touted by Apple to be both faster and more accurate at displaying Web pages, not everyone is happy.

According to online complaints, a number of Web sites run by Microsoft Corp. don’t load at all under Safari. Such Microsoft sites that have been confirmed by Computerworld include Windows Live Hotmail, Office Live Workspace and Office Live Small Business.

And:

One of the most common complaints is that Adobe Systems Inc.’s Flash plug-in is malfunctioning under Safari.

“Flash works fine in FireFox. Will not work in Safari,” wrote one user, ‘wriba,’ on Apple’s own Safari discussion forum. Flash “does not/will not show up as an installed plugin in Safari. My OS is Vista. Without this plugin, Safari (while I like it) is relatively worthless.”

Finally, A Web Site That Missiles Can Read

Thursday, March 27th, 2008 by The Director

EA.com offers its legal document and terms of service in that mysterious language MX:

Choose the language mx if you're a missile
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Well, that’s okay. I’d let you know by selecting something from the Contact Administrator drop-down list, but apparently, that is the only option in the list, and it does nothing:

Contact an administrator via telepathy
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And here I was only going to make fun of the title tag on the new Kane’s Wrath Sweepstakes for missing the apostrophe:

Kane's Wrath without the apostrophe
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Nobody reads the title tag but me, I suppose. And your general search engine spiders.

Well, that should put my regular EA readers off, too.

 

 

When World Events Break Your Applications

Wednesday, March 26th, 2008 by The Director

Take a quick look at this drop-down list from MSN and tell me what’s wrong:

There's a new country missing here
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That is correct; this drop-down list does not include the recently declared independent Kosovo.

Sure, there’s not an ISO code for it yet pending the political stuff around it, but it’s not as though you knew to use that as an excuse.

There’s no excuse for not being familiar with your applications and thinking outside the box to apply changes in the real world to what’s going on in your forms.

Speaking of QA Hates You.com

Wednesday, March 26th, 2008 by The Director

Instant messages intercepted indicate that QAHatesYou.com is a raging hit!

One guy says (1:52 PM): speaking of work, where does The Director work? I ‘m curious what it might be like to work for a company that has a QA person that at least understands the function of QA… unlike the asshats we have here in QA…

One guy says (1:52 PM): I read his QAHatesYou blog then I almost cry when I think of how the
people in our QA group just don’t get it…

Another guy (2:03 PM): tell me about it

That’s right. Here at QAHY, we’re an altogether different kind of asshat.

I’m going to put that on my marketing collateral, by the way: Not like the asshats you have in QA.

Yeah, Like We Expected, No QA

Tuesday, March 25th, 2008 by The Director

DezinerFolio breaks down the average Web design project, graphically.

But It Passes Link Check

Tuesday, March 25th, 2008 by The Director

You remember, fellow QAdestrians, that I recommend running through your Web site’s links manually at first to make sure that the links go to the right places because link checkers are often happy enough if the links go anywhere. WTShopping, the e-commerce arm of Wondertime magazine, shows us why.

The callouts/touts on the right side of the sweepstakes entry forms or submission success pages lead to the wrong contests:

The callouts pass link check!
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The callouts and site use dynamic numbering for the sweepstakes entries, so the values in the URLs don’t make it obvious where the link is going. Since all of the links resolve, nothing leads to a 404. However, the callouts do not lead to the sweepstakes depicted within.

Something a little QA and maybe someone looking at it would have uncovered, but that costs money. Being a featured post on QA Hates You is free!

UPDATE: After Disney, parent of the magazine Wondertime, discovered its Web site referred to on QAHY and a flurry of e-mails, apparently daddy’s come home and the company responsible for this site has fixed the problem. Hey, Mickey, you’re welcome!  The whole thing could use a good what-for, honestly.  Remember, if you’re ever in the mood for a bit of professional QAHY attention, you can always reach me here at thedirector at qahatesyou.

One Line, Many Problems

Tuesday, March 25th, 2008 by The Director

How many grammar and spelling errors can you pack into one field label? Well, if you’re Nicole Fields Photography, you can work in at least one of each:

One spelling error, one grammar error
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The label Who can I thank for the refferal? misspells referral, of course, but also uses who as the direct object, and we all know that should be whom.

There’s a reason for the difference, boys and girls: because the proper use makes the meaning clear.

Ask A Silly Question

Monday, March 24th, 2008 by The Director

TechDirt asks: If Consumers Will Pay $50 To Remove It, What’s It Doing There In The First Place?

Your director, wise in the wily ways of the bigwigs, responds: Adding to the company’s bottom line.

Remember, friends, that bug-fixing maintenance releases are what makes that 20% of the sale price markup worthwhile to consumers.

It’s Also A QA Test

Friday, March 21st, 2008 by The Director

You might have seen this video on the Internets:


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Friends Don’t Let Friends AJAX

Friday, March 21st, 2008 by The Director

The SD Times has two bits this week on the dangers of AJAX for AJAX sake: All Sizzle and No Substance and Five Questions to Ask When Considering AJAX.

AJAX is a tougher bit to QA, too, since every discrete page load test that you can think of–particularly including timeouts and such–you need to test with operations that refresh data through AJAX. Also, you’ll find that many of your developers go along with your sales teams in pitching the latest buzzwords so that they, the developers, can learn AJAX on the fly, which means that the code they generate as they learn AJAX from a book or from Web tutorials is noticeably more buggy than the usual slop they churn out in languages they already have on their resumes.

There’s no stopping this train, but perhaps we in QA can make it derail on flat ground instead of over a cliff. Sometimes, that’s the best we can hope for.

QA: The Req’ing Ball

Thursday, March 20th, 2008 by The Director

If you’re a grade A QA professional, you’ve managed to worm quality assurance into the entirety of your organization’s software development lifecycle (if you’re grade A+, you’ve actually broken out of the SDLC and have someone from the quality team proofreading corporate communications, werd). That means you get a seat at the table in the requirements gathering process along with some free-talking technical guy who’s really a sales guy with a cert or two, a business analyst if you’re lucky, and a customer relationship management yippy dog who jumps up and down agreeing with whatever the customer says and sometimes with something your company’s representatives say. However you got yourself into this predicament, best practice or not, you have to take care of QA in this meeting, and here’s what I do in that situation, particularly if I find myself in that situation disarmed.

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Ten Minute Hate

Tuesday, March 18th, 2008 by The Director

Edward Correia writes an article about 10 Things I Hate About Testing.

It’s not about hating the testing, Edward; it’s about hating the people for whom you test and whose work you test and, quite frankly, the stuff they want you to test.

Gallery of Stack Traces: Big MAC Attack

Monday, March 17th, 2008 by The Director

Hey, what can happen if you click .Net 2.0 controls before the page finishes loading? Sometimes, this:

A big MAC attack
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Build an application where you force the interface through the pipe along with the actual logic, and you’re asking for trouble. Have some.

Prepare Yourself for Standards Adherence

Monday, March 17th, 2008 by The Director

Joel Spolsky talks at length about Internet Explorer 8’s upcoming standards adherence and the coming Internet cataclysm because of it.

The piece is long and offers many lessons, but the best one is the recognition that even though you’ve launched a site or Web application that works with current browsers, you’d better test them again when new browsers come out, even if it’s only a quick run through sanity check.

I Can Explain It

Friday, March 14th, 2008 by The Director

Cassini probe failed to ‘taste’ moon’s geysers in flyby:

As Cassini flew over the small moon on 12 March, passing only 200 kilometres from the base of the plume, an “unexplained software hiccup” prevented the spacecraft’s Cosmic Dust Analyzer (CDA) from transmitting data to the onboard computer.

New software, designed to improve the ability of CDA to count particle hits, may be to blame. “We don’t know why it did not work,” says the instrument’s principal investigator, Ralf Srama of the Max Planck Institute of Nuclear Physics in Heidelberg, Germany. “We prepared very carefully.”

Think of the budget saved with insufficient testing. Someone probably could have gotten a performance bonus at year’s end. Now, probably not.


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