Home » Uncategorized
Category Archives: Uncategorized
Let’s see….what’s on my mind today. With the holidays approaching, I’m keeping a pretty low profile.
But there is one thing I’m pretty excited about. I’ve decided to take the plunge and try my own thing. So rather than working for some unappreciative boss – I’m going to try being my own boss. I’m starting a new company that will focus on training software testers. I’ll be sharing my vast knowledge and expertise with others – hopefully in a city near you. That’s the plan anyway. I’m combining 3 things i love: testing, teaching, and traveling!
It’s really just an idea right now…..I’m trying to flesh out the details and get it on paper. I don’t even have a name for my new company yet. I’ve already had a number of inquiries for my services.
I’ve about had my fill of the boys and girls in Redmond! First Windows 8, and now Team Foundation Server.
First let’s discuss Team Foundation Server. Microsoft sticks to their typically arrogant “my way, or the highway” approach. Lord help you if you want to do things different than Bill – or now Steve – think you should. You can’t! Want to set up your own defect work flow? No – use ours. Want to add additional fields on a defect report? No we gave you everything you need. Want to be able to link things to make thing easier on you? We already gave you everything you need. Customize anything? Yeah, that’s not gonna happen.
Then there’s Windows 8! They take a way little things that are completely annoying. First I have to log off before I can shut down. I love the new tiles but I want them arranged the way I want them arranged. But no…they are arranged automatically with no way to turn it off. Sure I can create my own group of tiles, but within the group – auto arrange. Want to close an app or a window? Why? OK, we’ll let you do it but it’s not going to be easy. We never liked that convenient little red X thingy – so we removed it. Deal with it! I swear they have meetings to come up with ways to annoy their users. When you’re the only game in town I guess you can get away with that sh*t! Arrogant bastards! But, there’s an alternative right? Not so fast.
Apple did the same thing on their a recent iOS release. Want to listen to your music in the order the tracks appear on the CD. No! What you really want to do is shuffle your songs in a completely random order like we do here at Apple, so we’re removing that pesky “in order” functionality that we feel you no longer need. Why? Because we’re smarter than you! Although to be completely fair and honest, I think Apple fixed the music order thing in their last iOS upgrade. It does appear to play tracks in order now.
Next time I promise to give you something more upbeat, something snappy…lol
Fraud! Charlatan! Lying ba$tard! And other strong words as well! Once again I find myself exploring the world of Software Tester Certification. Or should I say underworld. Not much has changed since my last visit to the dark dungeon (thanks for that term Jenn!) of tester certification. As usual, the journey just pi$$ed me off. Most of the major certification providers are self-serving idiots – one in particular – I won’t mention them here. I actually did a conference presentation for them once….I paid my own way, my own lodging, etc. I thought I might get to meet the head of the organization – Nope! I got absolutely nothing for my troubles. I did get to spend 3 days in Las Vegas though so it wasn’t a total loss.
So if you’re looking for a certification with any value, you’re sadly out of luck – Sorry. Don’t waste your time. If you interview with any company that wants “certified” testers – run away! They’re clueless.
I’m waiting for the dust to settle and see who remains standing in the certification arena. Then maybe I’ll back one. Highly unlikely. Oh, don’t be fooled by important sounding “institutes” or “academies”. Any idiot can create and institute, academy, or association. Many of them are important-sounding scams. Run away! Writing a book doesn’t make you an expert either. Most of the “test celebrities” I have met are complete frauds. There are a few good ones – very few!
Maybe I should start one…hmmmmmm! I could so do this!
Bottom line – do your homework!
I am a big fan of test automation. As a consultant I’ve worked with a number of them, open source and those provided by vendors. These days, I’m an open source tool guy. Why? Because of the price! Vendor tools are OK, but from my perspective, rarely worth the money. I have my favorite set of tools for various phases of the test process.
For testing the back end or middle tier business logic I prefer Fitnesse. It’s relatively easy to use, fully capable (although there could sill be improvements) for testing services such as REST and Web services. There are a number of publicly available fixtures such as the REST fixture or you can develop custom fixtures if needed. It’s pretty versatile.
For UI testing (Web Apps) my tool of choice in Selenium Web Driver. There is a Selenium IDE with rudimentary record and playback. I never use the IDE. No I prefer writing Java tests via Web Driver. OK you need some coding skills for this one, but nothing heavy. Using Web Driver, Selenium is very powerful.
When it comes to load and performance testing, my tool of choice is JMeter. Yeah, I know, JMeter is capable of doing functional testing. But it’s primarily a load/performance testing tool. A task it does extremely well. Some what limited functional testing capbilities. It’s kinda like using vise grips to remove a screw. Will it work? Sure. Is it pretty? Not so much.
I’m currently looking into Cucumber. It’s definitely getting a lot of talk lately. The installation process is a bit challenging, which is really turning me off. To be honest, I’m about to throw up my hands with Cucumber. But I’m trying to keep an open mind.
Sorry for the absence. The last couple of companies I have worked for blocked blogs. WTF!!! But I’m back amongst the working once again. A permanent position this time – with holidays and paid time off! I’m wicked excited. Oh – Go Red Sox!!!
Over the years I’ve used a lot of tools – for writing tests, managing test cycles, managing defects, automation, performance, etc. What I’ve found is that there is no one perfect tool for any of these tasks, Very few integrate testing with the entire software development process. Instead, I have found features that I really like in some tools and others that I despise, My assumption is that tool vendors really don’t understand the test process and view it as a minor annoyance that they have to include. The tool I’m currently using (I won’t name names) is by far one of the worst. And its from a major tool vendor! I wish these tools were like a stew…a little of this, a little of that and viola – the perfect tool box. Sadly, short of building it myself, the perfect tool doesn’t exist – yet. So tool vendors – pay attention!!! Here’s what I want in my tool:
1. Fully customizable. Don’t force me to use your workflow. My defect life cycle is my defect life cycle and I want to us it – not yours! Let me design my own workflows to meet my needs. Especially if you advertise yourself as Agile compatible. Agile is flexible – you need to be too.
2. Play well with others. I like the test case documentation features in one tool, but the test management features in another. Is it too much to ask that they be able to play together?
3. Automate the workflow/task transition. When I complete my task, automatically assign it to the next person in the work flow. I have enough to do without having to manually update the status and assign it to the next person. We defined a work flow – follow it.
4. Allow custom reporting. Your canned reports may or may not work for me. My managers want to see specific things in a specific format, and there is no canned report that fits their needs. So I have to access your database (assuming you let me) to build my own reports or manually transfer data from your tool into something like Excel to get the report I need. This is bad!
5. Web access. Don’t make me install your tool on my work station. I want to access it anywhere, any time….and don’t forget my smart phone!
I could probably go on. I’m curious to see who shares my frustrations. What makes a good test tool?
In the mean time watch for Dave’s Perfect Test Tool – code named Unicorn.
After a couple of stints with companies that blocked all blogs, I’m finally somewhere where I can once again make regular posts. Sorry for the extended absence.
So what’s on my mind today…..hmmm.
I recently completed 2 contracts. One was long term – almost 2 years. I absolutely loved it there. Sadly, due to budget cuts they couldn’t keep me or offer me a permanent position. Oh well. It happens. The second contract was supposed to be 1 year but after 3 months, I had had enough. I was miserable. I mentioned to my supervisor that I wasn’t feelin’ the love. The next day they ended the contract. $%^&!
So here I am on my next opportunity. It’s actually a company that I worked for about 10 years ago. So far, so good.
My last 2 gigs involved a lot of test automation using Fitnesse and Selenium (WebDriver, not the IDE). I was never really into automated testing and avoided it like the plague. Not so much now. I’m actually enjoying it. Once again I’m deep into Fitnesse and Selenium. I seriously need a Java class though.
Anyway, I hoping to write much more in the future.
Thank you Mrs. Gump. Truer words were never spoken. My mother used to tell me “There are no stupid people.” Sorry Mom – there are. Sadly some of them work in software development. Unfortunately, more work in project management and test management. You know the ones. They’re the ones that make you shake your head and say things like “Seriously?”
I’m not without my own moments of stupidity. I recently decided the reduce the stress level in my life and only accept contracting jobs that were pure testing. No more Test Management jobs! I just wanted to run my tests and go home for the day and leave work behind me. I know, I know. What was I thinking? The stress is still there – it’s just a different kind of stress. Most of that stress comes from having to work for completely inept managers. The rest comes from other testers who have absolutely no clue what they are doing. At least as a Test Manager I have some control over that part. Then I just have to deal with idiot development managers. Let’s face it – I need to be in charge of something.
Now, I’m not God’s gift to software development – but I’m no slouch either. I don’t admit to knowing all there is to know about Test Management. I don’t! But I’ve been doing this for a long time and I have a pretty good record to back it up. I do know a thing or two.
So I tried to be “just a tester.” I tried really hard. But I couldn’t keep my Test Manager’s mouth shut. It was definitely a learning experience. The most valuable lesson I learned – most project managers and test managers have absolutely no clue what software quality means or what it looks like. Worse – they really didn’t want to hear from me what it was either.
I know what quality is – I have a pretty good track record of insuring quality products are provided to the customer. It completely blows me away when any manager dismisses any defect as “not important.” Take for example spelling and grammar errors. Minor? Sure. Insignificant? No way! It’s these stupid little errors that will make you look like a complete moron. Stupid is as stupid does!
That said – mistakes happen. Especially early in the development process. Errors are made, builds will break. If they don’t then I seriously question your development process. If you don’t make mistakes you are just not trying hard enough. You’re being too safe. FYI – I’m a Tester. If you make me a developer, I can do it, but I may break a build or two. I know me. I’ve seen me do it! If you’re the Test or Project Manager that made me do development work – as Bill Engval says – “Here’s your sign!”
There is a serious difference between stupid and inexperienced. For example, If you hire less expensive, off-shore, or imported, test or development resources that barely speak the language or understand even simple grammar, you’re going to have problems. The developers and testers are not stupid – they’re inexperienced. Now the managers that don’t realize this and don’t come up with ways to verify it don’t get off so easy. They too may be inexperienced. But when I tell them about it, and they still do nothing – they enter the realm of stupidity.
To make a short story long – If I have to deal with stupidity, I need to get paid for it. So Test Management community – I humbly return to your ranks, head held low. I was wrong. Please let me come back. The stupidity ends here! I’m gonna need more signs.