Archive for the ‘Miscellany’ Category

An In Depth Look At Browser Scrolling

Friday, March 17th, 2017 by The Director

Over at the Microsoft Edge blog, Nolan Lawson has an in-depth look of the simple scroll:

Scrolling is one of the oldest interactions on the web. Long before we had pull-to-refresh or infinite-loading lists, the humble scrollbar solved the web’s original scaling problem: how can we interact with content that’s stretched beyond the available viewport?

Today, scrolling is still the most fundamental interaction on the web, and perhaps the most misunderstood. For instance, do you know the difference between the following scenarios?

  • User scrolls with two fingers on a touch pad
  • User scrolls with one finger on a touch screen
  • User scrolls with a mouse wheel on a physical mouse
  • User clicks the sidebar and drags it up and down
  • User presses up, down, PageUp, PageDown, or spacebar keys on a keyboard

As you might recall, I onct wrote a song about it: “There Must Be Fifty Ways To Scroll Your Window“.

The piece on the Edge blog goes into greater detail that your developers might find interesting.

If You Don’t Do It Because Jim Holmes and I Told You To….

Thursday, March 16th, 2017 by The Director

Use the serial/Oxford comma because the Maine courts say you should:

If you have ever doubted the importance of the humble Oxford comma, let this supremely persnickety Maine labor dispute set you straight.

. . . .

This is what the law says about activities that do NOT merit overtime pay. Pay attention to the first sentence:

The canning, processing, preserving, freezing, drying, marketing, storing, packing for shipment or distribution of:
(1) Agricultural produce;
(2) Meat and fish products; and
(3) Perishable foods.

Of course, the Oxford comma gets all the credit, but note the parallel construction also makes it clear which verbs apply: Canning, processing, preserving, freezing, drying, marketing, storing, packing are gerunds. Shipment and distribution are not. If they were to be included as equivalent, they would be shipping and distributing.

So take the advice of your humble Director: Use the serial comma and parallel construction–verbs ending in -ing, infinitives, gerunds (which are verbs ending in -ing that act as nouns as in the above example), and so on–to clearly express items that are the same in the purpose of the sentence.

Writing and to express oneself clearly are incorrect and confusing.

What’s The Craziest Test You Always Perform?

Tuesday, March 14th, 2017 by The Director

In my back pocket, where normal people carry pictures of their families, I have a list of common things I test every time I encounter a new application. It includes old favorites like the Hamlet test and new favorites like assorted comment strings, but nestled amongst the almost indistinguishable lines of random text, I have a set of SQL keywords:

SELECT FROM WHERE GROUP BY HAVING ORDER BY INSERT UPDATE WHERE MERGE DELETE BEGIN WORK START TRANSACTION COMMIT ROLLBACK CREATE DROP TRUNCATE ALTER

I added this back when I was doing a lot of testing for a company that used an offshore development team for much of its development work, and the offshore team was prone to making the same coding mistakes from project to project. I discovered at one point that they were preventing SQL injection attacks by barring users from entering SQL keywords in edit boxes. So I added the line to the list of tests lo, those many years ago, and I’ve included it in my basic test checklist ever since.

It’s taken me thirty seconds or a minute to run the test every time I’ve encountered a new form in many, many different projects for many, many different clients.

But I found another issue that the string triggered in a recent project, which validated my running the test perpetually, kind of like keeping every little gimcrack and doodad I’ve ever encountered in my closet or garage is validated whenever I need something like it and I don’t have to run to the hardware store to spend a buck to buy a new one.

So what’s the craziest test you always run, and why do you run it?

And He Wants To Sign Up For Your Web Site

Thursday, March 2nd, 2017 by The Director

Meet the Man Who Claimed to Have the World’s Longest Last Name.

His name was Adolph Blaine Charles David Earl Frederick Gerald Hubert Irvin John Kenneth Lloyd Martin Nero Oliver Paul Quincy Randolph Sherman Thomas Uncas Victor William Xerxes Yancy Zeus Wolfe­schlegel­stein­hausen­berger­dorff­welche­vor­altern­waren­gewissen­haft­schafers­wessen­schafe­waren­wohl­gepflege­und­sorg­faltig­keit­be­schutzen­vor­an­greifen­durch­ihr­raub­gierig­feinde­welche­vor­altern­zwolf­hundert­tausend­jah­res­voran­die­er­scheinen­von­der­erste­erde­mensch­der­raum­schiff­genacht­mit­tung­stein­und­sieben­iridium­elek­trisch­motors­ge­brauch­licht­als­sein­ur­sprung­von­kraft­ge­start­sein­lange­fahrt­hin­zwischen­stern­artig­raum­auf­der­suchen­nach­bar­schaft­der­stern­welche­ge­habt­be­wohn­bar­planeten­kreise­drehen­sich­und­wo­hin­der­neue­rasse­von­ver­stand­ig­mensch­lich­keit­konnte­fort­pflanzen­und­sicher­freuen­an­lebens­lang­lich­freude­und­ru­he­mit­nicht­ein­furcht­vor­an­greifen­vor­anderer­intelligent­ge­schopfs­von­hin­zwischen­stern­art­ig­raum, Senior.

Which is shorter than many names in my address book of test data.

Bonus good points for the long unbroken last name which is good for testing wrapping and truncation.

Belated Birthday Wishes to Rutger Hauer

Tuesday, January 24th, 2017 by The Director

Yesterday was Rutger Hauer’s 73rd birthday, and we at QAHY wish him the very best and many more.

Why? Because we’re members of the Rutger Hauer school of software testing, remember.

QA Music: Every Good Existentialist Story

Monday, January 23rd, 2017 by The Director

Gemini Syndrome, “Remember We Die”:

This week, I’m starting all user stories the proper Existentialist way: “Remember, we die, but….”

Remember, we die, but during the course of his meaningless existence, the store clerk wants to scan or type the SKU to find out if other stores in the local area have the same item in different sizes in stock.

How to Become a Consultant

Tuesday, September 20th, 2016 by The Director

Although taken from the medical world, this offers some good advice on how to become a process improvement style consultant.

Will Code for Food

Wednesday, August 10th, 2016 by The Director

Literally. I saw this in the back of Ozark Farm and Neighbor magazine:

At the very cheapest, a domain registration + a year of simple hosting with domain purchase + use of templates and standard copy means that any beef above a couple of steaks is pure profit.

As A Wise Man Once Said….

Wednesday, July 27th, 2016 by The Director

Check out this piece at Ministry of Testing:

When Your Mentor Moves On:
 Dealing with A Change In Ideal Leadership

When You Hide The Interface for Functionality

Thursday, July 7th, 2016 by The Director

You know when your company wires off some part of the interface because the functionality is incomplete or not ready for the release?

Yeah, it’s like that.

It, too, is a risky maneuver as it’s generally a last minute decision, which doesn’t leave you a lot of time to test to ensure it’s wired off completely in all areas where the user would encounter it.

And Sometimes Ends With A

Wednesday, June 22nd, 2016 by The Director

Security Starts at the POS.

In this case, POS means Point of Sale.

However, not everyone is familiar with the acronyms and argot you are, so be careful when using them without explaining them first. This applies to your interfaces as well as your written work.

Another Branding Failure

Tuesday, June 21st, 2016 by The Director

A couple weeks ago, I pointed out the some flaws with inconsistent application of the trademark symbol. Today, we’re going to look at a failure of branding in a news story.

Can you spot the branding failure in this story?

After the refi boom, can Quicken keep rocketing higher?:

Quicken Loans Inc, once an obscure online mortgage player, seized on the refinancing boom to become the nation’s third largest mortgage lender, behind only Wells Fargo & Co and JPMorgan Chase & Co.

Now, with the refi market saturated, Quicken faces a pivotal challenge — convincing home buyers to trust that emotional transaction to a website instead of the banker next door.

Okay, can anyone not named Hilary spot the problem?

Quicken Loans and Quicken are two different things and have been owned by two different companies since 2002. For fourteen years.

Me, I know the difference because earlier this year I did some testing on a Quicken Loans promotion, and the developers put simply Quicken into some of the legalesque opt-in and Terms of Service check boxes. So I researched it. And then made them use Quicken Loans in the labels instead.

After reading the story, I reached out to someone at Quicken Loans to see if they use “Quicken” internally informally, and she said $&#&^$! yes (I’m paraphrasing here to maintain her reputation). So maybe the journalist had some communication with internal people who used “Quicken” instead of the company name, or perhaps that’s what everybody but me does.

However, informal nomenclature aside, Quicken Loans != Quicken, and to refer to it as such could have consequences. If this story hit the wires and Intuit’s stock dropped a bunch, ay! Or something more sinister, which in this case means unintended and unforeseen consequences.

My point is to take a little time to research the approved use of trademarks, brand names, and company names before you start testing or writing about them. Don’t trust the developers (or journalists, apparently) to have done this for you.

An Oldie, But An Oldie

Tuesday, June 14th, 2016 by The Director

Round round work around
I work around
Yeah
work around round round I work around
I work around
work around round round I work around
From job to job
work around round round I work around
It’s a real cool app
work around round round I work around
Please don’t make it snap

I’ve got little bugs runnin’ in and out of the code
Don’t type an int or it will implode

My buttons don’t click, the users all moan
Yeah, the GUIS are buggy but the issues are known

I work around
work around round round I work around
From town to town
work around round round I work around
It’s a real cool app
work around round round I work around
Please don’t make it snap
work around round round I work around
I work around
Round
work around round round oooo
Wah wa ooo
Wah wa ooo
Wah wa ooo

We always make a patch cause the clients get mad
And we’ve never missed a deadline, so it isn’t so bad

None of the data gets checked cause it doesn’t work right
We can run a batch job in the middle of the night

I work around
work around round round I work around
From job to job
work around round round I work around
It’s a real cool app
work around round round I work around
Please don’t make it snap
work around round round I work around
I work around
Round
Ah ah ah ah ah ah ah ah

Round round work around
I work around
Yeah
work around round round I work around
work around round round I work around
Wah wa ooo
work around round round I work around
Oooo ooo ooo
work around round round I work around
Ahh ooo ooo
work around round round I work around
Ahh ooo ooo
work around round round I work around
Ahh ooo ooo

I don’t want to make you feel old, old man, but most of your co-workers don’t remember “Kokomo” much less “I Get Around” and probably think the Beach Boys were the guys on Jersey Shore

Third Party Dependencies And Your Site’s Security, A Dramatic Recreation

Monday, June 6th, 2016 by The Director

The chain is not as strong as it’s weakest link; it’s as strong as the link you assumed someone else affixed.

I Am A FogBugz Overachiever

Tuesday, May 31st, 2016 by The Director

It looks as though FogBugz has decided to offer a little advice in the defect report’s description field:

Its placeholder says:

Every good bug report needs exactly three things: steps to reproduce, what you expected to see, and what you saw instead.

Exactly three things? Well, I must be an overachiever then when I add some analysis or relationships to other bugs, logs, and so on.

But that’s my way.

The Right To Scowl

Tuesday, May 17th, 2016 by The Director

Employers can’t stop the QA mindset:

The NLRB’s ruling last week said that requiring employees to maintain a “positive work environment” is too restrictive, as the workplace can sometimes get contentious. You can’t keep your employees from arguing.

To celebrate, I’m going to turn this smile upside down. Which is just as well, as co-workers fear my smile more than my frown.

(Link via.)

The V.5H Bug

Tuesday, May 3rd, 2016 by The Director

How prepared is your software for this sudden shift?

Venezuelans lost half an hour of sleep on Sunday when their clocks moved forward to save power, as the country grapples with a deep economic crisis.

The time change was ordered by President Nicolas Maduro as part of a package of measures to cope with a severe electricity shortage.

I’m calling this the V.5H bug.

Preach It, Brother

Friday, March 25th, 2016 by The Director

NPM & left-pad: Have We Forgotten How To Program?:

Finally, stringing APIs together and calling it programming doesn’t make it programming. It’s some crazy form of dependency hacking that involves the cloud, over-engineering things, and complexity far beyond what’s actually needed.

What’s worse is that if any of your code (or the 3rd party library code) has a bug or breaks, you won’t know how to debug or fix it if you don’t know how to program.

Events of the last week should make developers wary of third-party stuff, but they won’t.

Everything I Know About Testing I Learned From Zork

Thursday, March 10th, 2016 by The Director

Login Screen
This is a login screen before you can use the application, with an account name, password field, and a Log In! button.
There is bubbly copy and a licensed stock image of a bearded man holding a small boy.

> check copy

The copy is cheery, but not particularly informative. In a stunning turn of events, the words are all spelled correctly, AND they've remembered the serial comma.

> mouseover image

The title and alt text are set for the image and read "Welcome back!"

> type </html> into account name field.

The value displays in the edit box.

> type </html> into password edit box.

The value displays in the edit box.

> click Log In!

A Potentially Malicious Request warning displays! Oh, woe and agony! The site is eaten by a grue.

How I Became That Guy / The JavaScript Twofer

Wednesday, March 9th, 2016 by The Director

I’ve set as a basic test visiting sites under test without JavaScript enabled, without Flash enabled, and without cookies enabled. It was a bit of an exercise for me, because who would visit the Web with JavaScript enabled?

Well, suddenly, that’s me.

I was running an old version of Safari on my iPhone because my client required a lot of backward compatibility testing. I don’t do a lot of processing on my phone, but I do a lot of reading, and suddenly Safari was crashing all the time. It was the ad content JavaScript, and once I turned it off, I could read on my phone again.

I’ve since updated the phone, but I’ve kept the JavaScript off because the pages load faster (if at all) and I’m using less data.

Which means I see all sorts of bad behavior. Not just counting unresponsive forms, but sites completely failing to load because they’re doing something JavaScript before page load with no alternative.

So I’ve set one of my browsers to block JavaScript by default just to see what happens when I hit a new test site. A lot of the time, I encounter something weird and start to log a defect before I realize nothing’s working because I have JavaScript disabled.

So I log a bug to indicate that the page should display a message in this case. That’s the first part of the two-fer.

Then, nine times out of ten, I retest and close that issue and open a new one to capitalize JavaScript correctly. Although I’m pretty clear in the defect, the developers type Javascript. All. The. Time. The JavaScript Disabled message is two bugs in one.

I’ve read memes and jokes on the Internet and Twitter that people who don’t use JavaScript are like vegans and CrossFit people and must tell everyone. Apparently, with this post, I have become that guy.

Oh, and I look forward to the first through one hundredth times I have to log a bug about capitalizing CrossFit correctly.

(Meanwhile, while we’re on the topic of JavaScript, also read Maybe we could tone down the JavaScript.)


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