Friday, 9 September 2011

Conferences and Gatherings

I read a great blog post - Don’t Be This Guy - which was about going to conferences and listening to the tech talks but not connecting with any of the other people at the conference.
You see, since he was the only SQL Server professional at his place of employment, he didn’t have a lot of opportunities to talk shop in person with others. He longed for what they had, but couldn’t find the initiative to start up meaningful conversations with others.

Replace 'SQL Server' with 'testing' and that was me a few years ago - and doubtless applies to many lone gun testers out there.

So reading this reminded me of my first SIGIST conference a few years ago - being surrounded by testers felt good and listening to people talk about testing was great.
Luckily at this conference I did have some courage - at that time Testing Reflections was a very active site and I'd had some encouraging words from Antony Marcano after posting on there. He was doing a talk at SIGIST so I went over to say Hello and he invited me along to the usual after-event drinks. Without that invite I could well have been 'that guy'.

Now, a few years on and there is another SIGIST due - but I'm not going. Partly because it wasn't that well publicised, partly because the line-up doesn't excite me that much - but also because there are more events on now than there used to be

I have a couple of events at Skillsmatter to go to - with the bonus that they are free and in the evening. SIGIST I have to pay for and take a day off work.

Tester Gatherings and STC meetups are happening - next London Tester Gathering is later this month and there are a horde of STC Meetups happening (Winchester, Birmingham and Liverpool in October ) - and those that go to them give them great write-ups

( and a quick shout out to the Grand Rapids Tester Meetups - it will be a few months before I can attend the next one. Sorry )

Twitter, blogging and the Software Testing Club can also help those lone-gun testers make connections. Michael Larsen - TESTHEAD - is a fantastic example of what can be done
Or see this blog post from Pete Walen.

Online or offline though - just dont be That Guy ( or Gal ).

Monday, 5 September 2011

Random Ruby

I recently wrote a post on Atomic Spin about how I've been getting back up to speed with Ruby after a (too) long absence from it.

One thing that the resources I've been reading emphasise is practise so I've been looking for ways to try out Ruby.

So thank you Alan Page and his Numberz Challenge. It's a simple windows app that he's using in his blog articles about test design.

This seemed a good exercise so with the help of Scripted GUI Testing with Ruby I had the app automated.

A few more lines of code and I was able to check the data and find that the numbers used were not random ( #3 came out more than it should ) and the calculation of the total was sometimes incorrect.
Alan has now written an update which shows the app was indeed written to favour 3 and to occasionally get the total wrong.

Looking at the source code would have been an easier way to test - though making your source code available to view can lead to problems if you have a poker app. But even if your source code is not available some people will reverse-engineer your app ( the winner of the Numberz challenge did exactly that ! )

So one blog post shows what lengths testers will go to, gives some testers practice in their new language, nicely illustrates the point about recognising when automation can help - and gets Chris McMahon blogging again ( twice ! )