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Showing posts from February, 2013

Say It Then Shut Up

One of the joys of working in a team is the interactions with other people. As testers we are more often than not part of a team, even if sometimes that team is simply us and a developer (I stopped believing in the code fairy quite early on). One of the biggest time sinks of working in a team is the interactions with other people. I've written before about how I strive for conciseness, completeness, consistency, clarity and correctness in written communications and I try to do the same verbally too. If you can keep your meetings tight, people will thank you for it, will attend more often and contribute more effectively. Agendas help a lot. Benevolent dictatorship helps more. Not saying stuff for the sake of it, or repeating yourself or - worse - other people or - worse still - what other people said in the same meeting  helps a great deal. The 5 Cs for writing can and do apply to conversations but because I'm not typically delivering a lengthy monologue in those situat

The Sweet Tester

This is my gran's recipe for bread pudding. I wrote it down on a piece of green continuous printer paper  (back when that stuff was common) and I've made it countless times in the years since, as the greasy fingerprints, tea cup rings and splashes of dried pudding attest. It's lovely with a cuppa, robot mug optional. Ingredients 12oz stale bread 3oz currants 3oz raisins 4.5oz sugar nutmeg lemon rind 3oz margarine 1 egg cold tea  Instructions Soak the bread in the cold tea for a couple of hours. Squeeze out the excess tea. Mix all the ingredients well. Pour into a greased pie dish. Bake for 1-1.5 hrs at 180 C. I made it at the weekend with my 5-year-old daughter. As usual it wasn't quite the same as all the other bread puddings , but it was still clearly a bread pudding in both form and taste and, if the recipe is a user story or a spec, our implementation of it passed UAT with flying colours. But we didn't really follow the "spec"

To Me, To User

We are similar in some ways and dissimilar in others. Even where we share characteristics, I will see things differently to you. Your take on reality is not the same as the next person. And they don't look at things in the way we do either. I was reminded of this while reading an article in the paper at the weekend : "In language," [the interviewee] says, "you think that a word is a thing. When you say stone , it's a stone, but when you know that it's piedra in Spanish, it means that language is not linked absolutely to reality." It was a lesson in life: consider the alternative. To the average monoglot, in this view, there probably is no alternative: the label and the object are intrinsically linked. To the average polyglot, there's a level of abstraction away from the object that gives some insight into commonalities and differences across the various frames of reference. You and your users see the same software. They probably experience i

A Bugbear

We use a mixture of approaches to testing at our place and in some circumstances this includes scripted cases which we manage in  Testopia , an extension for Bugzilla . Yesterday, because the action that failed so spectacularly was non-essential to me, I enjoyed Testopia's combination (pictured above; click for full size) of Z-axis violation, inappropriately large and inappropriate content wedged into a dialog, unexpected text box in the same dialog, likely lack of validation of the server's response, and the tasteful use of colour and font size to reinforce the nature of an internal error while at the same time obscuring potentially useful debug information by truncating it. This one is glaringly obvious, but it's as well to remember from time to time that the tools we use to test are themselves applications with their own bugs . How well have the external tools you use been tested? How extensive is the coverage of that supposedly standards-compliant open-source l