Start here


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”!

Software Quality Association in Denver (SQuAD) Conference

For those of you in the Denver area, or wanting to visit our fine city, SQuAD will be holding their next conference in October. Your’s truly will be providing both a one-hour presentation in addition to a 1/2 day work shop on Fitnesse. Check out for more details. If the current info isn’t up yet – keep checking back.

Getting FIT

I have been using Fitnesse for a number of years now. It was available at an organization I recently worked for. They provided a wiki page complete with the jar file to download and very good instructions on how to install it and use it. Easy peasy! Since then I have moved on to a different company as an “automated tester”. My first choice of tools – Fitnesse. It’s well suited to what I’m testing using REST calls. I assumed installation and configuration would be a piece of cake. Not so much. To begin with I have to download another tool – Maven – in order to install Fitnesse. I know it sounds pretty simple right? Keep reading. Installation involved something called a POM file. OK, I’m a tester – I don’t speak developer.

The online instructions we not meant for me. But I gave it my best shot – and failed. So I swallowed my pride and posted to a Fitness group begging for assistance. I got help and not only got Fitnesse installed but also the REST fixture that I needed to run my tests (thanks to Maven which is like gibberish to me . But I followed the instructions and, viola it’s installed. Ready to test right? Not so fast. I ran the included REST Fixture Installation Test – failed. Now I’ve always thought of myself as a pretty intelligent guy, but i am sincerely humbled. Tail between my legs, I go back to the internet for help. With some help I finally get up and running and the installation test is clean and green. I should be a happy camper now. Yeah, that didn’t happen. While the older versions of Fitnesse format the XML response nicely, the new version doesn’t. Back to the blog – the reponse was basically: Yep I removed that. My bad. I’ll put it back in. So in the meantime I install the version that I know and love. The familiar UI pops up and its time to do what I do best – write an automated test. Again – not so fast. This time the problem is not Fitnesse but the system under test. The authorization scheme is a nightmare. Before I can do a simple GET or POST I need to figure out how to log on and become an authenticated.  If it were only so simple. The good news is that this is someone else’s problem.  

So I pass the buck and let someone else figure it out.  While I wait, I download one of the books on Fitnesse and try to see if I can learn anything new.  I learned the book is crap.  The examples in the book look pretty straight forward so I give them a try.  RED.  Dammit!  Come to find out there is something else I need to download.  Apparently, a key feature was removed as is no longer included with the installation.  Back to the blog site. So not only is the book completely useless, I can find a key file that I need to do the exercises in the book.  That’s it!  Stick a fork in me – I’m done

Whats in Your Toolbox?

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.

I’m Baaaack…Again!

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.


Capt Dave