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Showing posts from July, 2009

a year of STPedia

This month marks one year of the column Matt Heusser and I co-write every month for Software Test and Performance magazine, "STPedia". It was great to mark our anniversary in a double-length column on "Agile Testing in Practice" in July's newly redesigned print version of ST&P and to help out with the launch of ST&P's redesigned portal, stpcollaborative. ST&P are changing things around for the better.

The format of the column is that we have a paragraph or two introducing the topic for the month, then we define dictionary-style a set of terms related to the topic, then usually we draw some sort of conclusion from how the terms are related. ST&P has a 6-month editorial calendar, so at this point we've treated many subjects twice. And really, how much is there to say about source control? From here on out we're going to range a little more widely in our choice of topic.

A little Inside Baseball, for those who are interested in how …

against kanban

I've been somewhat alarmed by the enthusiasm with which the agile community has embraced Lean manufacturing principles, especially kanban. While I'm sure that kanban is effective in some circumstances, I am also convinced that it exposes software teams to real risk of impaired function.

Like many of my qa/tester colleagues who were working in the field in the 90s, I used to be a real process-head. I was part of projects that enthusiastically implemented Six Sigma, CMM, ISO9000, as well as other approaches like RUP, spiral development, etc. etc. We thought then that if only we could get the process right, we could crank out great software just like factories crank out cars and engineers crank out bridges.

Six Sigma and ISO9000 were lifted straight from manufacturing. CMM was the product of a lot of analysts who looked at some properties of a selected set of software projects.

Then the Agile movement came along, and with it new processes, the most significant of which turned o…

validate order with regular expressions

Today I wrote some UI tests to validate that certain text appears on pages in a particular order. Since I've done this now in two different jobs using two different tools, I thought it might be of interest to others.

There are a couple of reasons you might want to do this. For example, a page might have a list of records sorted by certain aspects of the record. Here's a crude example:

|name |date|description|
|chris|july|tester |
|tracy|june|gardener |

One set of critical tests validates that name/date/description appear in the right order; that chris/july/tester appears in the right order; and that tracy/june/gardener appears in the right order.

Another critical test is that chris appears above tracy in the display.

The first challenge for the tester is to identify and be able to address the smallest part of the page that contains the text under consideration. Every tool does this in a slightly different way, but Firebug is your friend here.

The next challenge is to make su…