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Happy New Year!

Welcome to 2014!

Any New Year’s resolutions? I have a few:

– Pay more attention to this blog. I tend to let too much time pass between posts. My goal – at least once a week.
– More positive posts. No more whining and complaining. Well less anyway. No one want to read that negative garbage.
– Make nice with the folks at Microsoft and Apple
– Learn something new. Be it a new too, or a new process. Something to keep the tools sharp.
– Speak more. I’m an attention whore. I love getting out and meeting and talking to people. Try to book more speaking engagements. Preferably in Las Vegas!
– Lose 30 pounds (again).

So if you see me out and about, please say hi!

Onion Bagel With Plain Cream Cheese Please…

I run a nightly automated regression test. I made a deal with my developers that if their code broke my regression test they must buy bagels for the team on Friday. Last night the entire regression test suite failed. Once the configuration issue was resolved, 1 test failed due to a change in the text of an error message. I’m thinking this is a multi-bagel offense. But, being the nice guy that I am, I’m only holding them responsible for a single error. I’m starting to get fat(ter).

New Friends

Last night found me at the Software Quality Association in Denver (SQuAD) meeting. It wasn’t a meeting as much as a holiday social. As usual, being the attention whore that I am, I was being loud and obnoxious. As a result, in addition to catching up with some good friends I made some new ones. Anytime they don’t run away screaming is a good day. Happy Holidays everyone!!!

Setting Sail for New Adventures …Show Me That Horizon

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.

Stay tuned!

Damn The Customer – Full Speed Ahead!!!

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

Certification My #$$!

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!

So Many Tools…

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.

Stay tuned!

I’m Baaack…Again!

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!!!

Slamming My Head On The Wall

I’m not stupid. But sometimes I feel like a complete moron. Usually it is something to do with a tool download that humbles me. I have been using Fitnesse for years and I really thought I knew what I was doing. Luckily I have had really good developer support to do the heavy lifting. So I got a little cocky and signed up to do a couple of presentations on Fitnesse at the local software testing conference. I wanted to demonstrate a simple test using the fixtures in the Fixture Gallery. Sounds pretty simple right – cue the brick wall.

So I scour the web and the site for simple easy instructions. I find the fixture gallery zip file, download it, and unzip it. It seems to include a completely new installation of Fitnesse. I’m confused – let’s consult the documentation. Well I would if I could find any – i can’t!

Maybe there are books available? Nope! Well there are, sorta, but I’ll save that for another post.

I’m not giving up. Once I get this solved I’m going to write the Idiot’s Guide to Using Fitnesse.

If anyone can help and walk me through this, please contact me at

Stay tuned.

I’m Unqualified to be Me

I just found out that the company that I was contracting for is looking for 3 contract testers on my old team. I absolutely loved it there, loved the project, loved the company, etc. The open positions are apparently to replace me – the exact same job I spent almost 2 years building – using a test architecture that I built from the ground up. I could be immediately productive. Literally hit the ground running. You’d think I’d be a shoe-in to return. Think again! I just heard that I’m basically not qualified to be me and that I won’t be considered for the open positions. Needless to say, I’m livid. Have you met me? I’m a Golden Test God!…lol. Oh well. No need to dwell on it. It’s their loss! As Jimmy Buffett says – “Breathe In, Breathe Out, Move On”!