Sunday, 28 February 2010

Set Phases To Stun

A rigid waterfall style project can still present a tester with opportunities for mischief. Or a chance to educate people about other ways.

A good opportunity is when you find defects away from running scripts. Even better is when you find them when the official testing phase is over ( maybe not better for the project but better for the education opportunity )

Tester: Hey, boss, I found a couple of defects
Boss: How could you do that, we've run all the test scripts
Tester: I wasn't using following a script, I was exploring the system and found a coupla problems
Boss: < silence as he tries to get to grips and understand how it is possible to do this >

So this is Opportunity #1 to do some education about testing. You could always wave a copy of "Perfect Software" and say "as Jerry says in this book..."
Probably not the best idea, though, to ask The Boss if his illusion has been shattered

Now, having found a defect it has to be logged

Tester: So, boss, what test phase should I log this under ? System test ?
Boss: System test is over, we've run all the tests and had it signed off as complete
Tester: But it's the same code base. How about UAT phase ?
Boss: Well that doesn't start til next week
Tester: ( to himself ) Right, the daily reports would look strange with no tests run and 2 defects found

Opportunity #2 - an explanation of exploratory testing and might it be a good idea to schedule some at the end of scripted testing.

All done ? Not quite, one more opportunity whilst the boss is feeling vulnerable as he's just realised the security guard in the red shirt has just been bumped off

Tester: So, boss, if I log these 2 defects then wont our defect count be over the entrance criteria for UAT ?
Boss: ( checks the figures ) yes it will
Tester: Remember that conversation we had at the start of the project where you asked if there was an industry standard for the number of defects and how the test plan had to have a specific number...

Opportunity #3 - an explanation of how a simple defect count does not really provide the information you need to make decisions

Tuesday, 23 February 2010

Redheads cant count

Went to Testy Redheads blog to read her article about Learning Python, checked the archive to see if there were other posts and found her blog couldn't count

The archive for February indicates there are 3 articles but only lists 2

The archive for January indicates there are 7 articles but lists 8

Thursday, 18 February 2010

Blue Moon Over Soho

Last night was the second meetup of London Testers and the first one I'd been able to get to ( having a venue 5 minutes from where I was working made it easy !)

David Evans and Mike Scott of SQS were to give a presentation on their Testify tool but the first 15 minutes were spent trying to hook the laptop up to the TV screen. So yes, it was that rare sighting of testers trying to get something to work...

Fortunately there were no Health and Safety officials around to protest at the bar employee holding a candle underneath the TV so that people could see the connections.

Connection finally made, the presentation started. Testify seems a neat idea, it allows a fully running project to be created with a set of trivial unit and acceptance tests that serve as examples for your tests, batch files to build the project and run all tests in the suite. A number of common test tools are supported -Fitnesse, Junit and easyb has just been added. It's all open source and available here

Seems like a really easy way to get up and started with BDD so if I have any spare time I'll be giving it a spin. Been a while since I've looked at a build file churning through all it's files

After the presentation it was networking time and we moved upstairs and got to feel like VIP's as part of the bar was roped off for our private use.

Didn't network as much as I would have liked to do as I got chatting to Steve Green from Test Partners and heard about he got into testing, some hair-raising tales of projects he's done and the problems of testing websites that involve elephants - and then had to head off for the train home

Excellent evening, looking forward to the next one

Monday, 15 February 2010

Make your mind up - cute or techy ?

Error messages like the one above annoy me. Firstly they try to hide the fact that they have messed up by being cutesy and use a word like 'Whoops'

Then they compound that by giving a techy explanation that most people will not understand. I asked a representative sample of one ( the wife sitting next to me ) it they knew what XML was - answer was no

and the compounded error is compounded even more by the techy explanation "The XML appears to be incorrect". 'appears to be' - well it either is or isn't, dont you know ?

Or maybe I was just grouchy afer getting such a pathetic score

Friday, 12 February 2010

Testers and Devs grooving together ? easy

Off to Skills Matter again for another in their series of free events on Agile Testing. This time the event was Acceptance-Test Driven Development - Bring Developers and Testers Together with John Smart of Wakaleo Consulting

Not as many people as the previous weeks session and a different mix of audience - more developers than testers

I'm starting to get a bit of a headache with the acronyms - this was a talk about ATDD, there was a show of hands to see who did TDD, who did BDD and then the introductory slide has a bullet point BDD style Acceptance tests. Hmmm, so were we going to hear about ATDD or BDDAT ?

John did make the excellent point that one of the main aspecs of acceptance tests is that they are a communication tool and focus on the the what rather than the how

The talk focused on a tool called easyb. Seems similar to Cucumber that I saw last week, supports stories and specifications, based on Groovy has a 'before' feature to allow setup before the tests are run.

The examples used were the usual noddy ones - this time it was the bank account one, taking money out of a current account and putting it into a savings account. This is one problem I have, trying to make the jump to the projects I am working on and how the tool could be used. More real-life examples and stories would be useful - though of course if there is only a 30 minute talk it cant all get crammed in

or maybe the examples are real-life and this explains the financial crisis of recent years
Given a customer with $1 in their pocket
When they ask for a mortgage to buy a huge McMansion
Then approve their loan

As a big banker
I want to get a yearly bonus
So that I can keep my houses and cars going

Interesting talk though that made me want to dig out my Ruby book and play around with it again and try out some of the BDD tools. Only reservation I would have about the talk was that it was very much about easyb and very little on how to Bring Developers and Testers Together

Talk over and off to the pub for networking. Initial chat was about the range of tools our there and how to choose. Once again, back to the tools...

Thanks to Nathan Bain for organising it

Saturday, 6 February 2010

A fruitful evening

Thursday evening was another in the series of free Agile Testing events at SkillsMatter and a chance to listen to Gojko Adzic talk about BDD with Cucumber

My first visit to the new venue for SkillsMatter and it was pleasing to see the event packed out with people having to sit at the side and stand at the back.

The talk itself was interesting, especially as I knew very little about Cucumber and BDD. The list of tools that Cucumber integrates with was large ( WebRat, Steam, Watir, Selenium etc etc - some tools I had heard of, others were new to me and a reminder that this is a fast moving field which means it is easy to get left behind - another good reason to go to events like this )

Someone had their Twitter account open and was posting to it as well as keeping notes - wish they had a quieter keyboard and I hate to think what it would be like if everyone in the audience had their laptops open during presentations !

A slight glitch in Gojko's talk when the example he had up on his slide couldn't be read by the audience but a dimming of the lights helped. The examples were the usual noddy 'Hello World' ones but gave enough flavour for me to want to dust off my Ruby book and try some of this out for myself

Talk was fairly short which meant there was plenty of time for networking at the pub afterwards. Nice to meet up with Nathan Bain, organiser of the Agile Testing (London ) meetup group and also meet up again with Antony Marcano and his pairing partner Andy Palmer and hear about their new venture, RiverGlide

Next session is already set up - ATDD - Bring Developers And Testers Together Feb 11th. Sessions are free, the pub afterwards is close by so no reason for testers in London not to be keeping up with developments in agile testing.

Final word goes to Gojko with this warning about using Cucumber

"It's a tool, so like a sharp knife, if you cut yourself then it's your own fault"

Yup, those cucumbers can be dangerous - so use with care.

( according to Wikipedia cucumbers are fruits although perceived, prepared and eaten as vegetables. So there )