Sunday, 18 November 2012

Testers Should Learn About Zygohistomorphic Prepromorphisms

The "testers should learn to code otherwise they will become extinct like the wooly mammoths" set of postings has started again.  Michael Bolton has previously written on 3 good reasons why it is useful to know how to program and I'm not about to re-hash those arguments again.

However, a couple of things happened recently that highlighted the knowledge gap between developers and testers and how vague "learn to code" is.

I'm lucky enough to work with a bunch of smart developers and, like the best testers, they are always learning new skills and techniques.

One of them recently tweeted from the Clojure/conj about Zygohistomorphic prepromorphisms
Could be an elaborate in-joke or could be serious, I have no idea...

Another one is learning J - which was a new language to me, didn't know we'd got past C...
though it seems my old C knowledge is limited as I didn't know these things about C nor that C could be considered a functional language

heck, even if I was to stick to learning Javascript then I'd really need to learn some of the common libraries and how they are used eg jQuery, Backbone.js, node.js - but then those pesky devs don't stand still and just write plain ol' Javascript, oh no, some of them use CoffeeScript, a language that compiles into Javascript.

Another dev is blogging about Unifying Programming and Math and explaining ( or trying to, my brain melted ) the Curry-Howard Isomorphism and Martin-Löf Type Theory. I tried using Google Translate to get it into English but it came back with the same words.

Is that the sort of learning I should be doing ? Or do the 'testers should code' brigade mean that I know enough to use page objects in Selenium and not use the Selenium IDE ?

and I'm not even going to start, but might hint, that even knowing code is not enough, testers should also have some understanding of design

Meanwhile, I am currently halfway through the BBST Foundations testing course. It's a great course, good interaction with the other testers on the course and makes you think about your testing and what you really know and don't know. It's a month long course, 20-30 hours a week in your own free time, has to be paid for and gets booked up in advance. So it attracts good and keen testers.

The latest exercise we had to do on the course involved thinking about how many tests would be required to test the square root function if a 32-bit word was passed in. This caused some confusion amongst some of the testers who were not sure what a 32-bit word was ( no, it didn't mean that hyphenated words were a test case nor that lower and upper case should also be tested ). Should I ask them what they think of heaps, call stacks, tail recursion, monads, singletons...

In the end "learn to code" is as vague as "learn to test", but makes a good attention grabbing title when used for a talk ( well, not anymore it should be binned along with the 'is dead' meme ).

Now, back to my Learn You A Haskell For Great Good! , BBST course and finishing Thinking Fast And Slow before I order The Click Moment

Wednesday, 17 October 2012

Differing viewpoints

I don't like to cross-post but I'm still slammed with working and settling into the US so have not given this blog as much love and attention as I would like. I have been blogging though - as part of the Atomic Object culture we all have to write one blog post a month to help with the marketing effort.

My latest post has just been published Offfside - how being a linesman helps my testing which relates how being an official in soccer games has helped me understand personas more.

I still intend to use this blog for more personal posts but in the meantime, if you want to read my ramblings then you now have a link to my latest

Tuesday, 28 August 2012

Oooo, how many ?

It's been awhile since my last post, busy settling into my new job and country so as a quick stop gap before I start posting fully again, I present my latest bug in the wild find - see pic above. Maybe quite appropriate that it was on the software test pro website but I didn't get too excited about the chance to get undefined points

Saturday, 4 August 2012

You can bank on it

One of the big news items this week has been the error at Knight Capital that cost them $440 million

James Christie also recently had a great blog post rant about an error at the Nationwide Building Society.

So I'll jump on the bandwagon and add the mistakes that I keep finding in my banks website - well, the bank that I used to use in England that I'm still maintaining.

Trying to transfer money around has been a tale of woe, then it seemed to have got fixed but trying it again this weekend unearthed more errors.

It should have been simple, all I wanted to do was transfer a balance from a credit card into my account.
Entered the information and got the message that the information was incorrect. No clues as to which bit of information was incorrect - not that any of it appeared to be. It was as simple as you could get - name of card organisation, name on card, card number, amount.
Seems not

Trying to get more info on what the error might be, there were a few help symbols on the page - clicking on one of them brought the page shown above.

Oh dear

'the portlet has not been configured'

I see.

They cant even get a HELP WINDOW to work, does that give me confidence that they can handle MONEY ????

Friday, 20 July 2012

Win Win

The above tweet went out today, looking for "developers and designers"

Wot, no testers ?

Went to  the site, found a few errors ( one typo and a couple of IE8 problems ) and looked through it.
Seems they didn't just want "developers and designers", they also wanted project managers, system/network administrators, DBAs, and non-profit technical consultants and web strategists

Wot, no testers ?

Non-technical volunteers were also required "to run errands, help with setting up and cleaning up, and everything in between"

Wot, no testers ?

I've signed up

- it's for a good cause, it helps out non-profit organisations
- it will be a good experience of working to put something together quickly

and I can get a chance to show how a tester can be useful to a project.
So maybe next year the Tweet that goes out will be looking for testers as well as the usual suspects...

Monday, 9 July 2012

Blogging from the other side

It's been a while since I've blogged but I think the excuse of moving over the Atlantic to live and work in Grand Rapids, MI is a valid one. Especially when I've had to get used to searing hot temperatures and not the grey rainy days of SE England.

It's been so long since I blogged that I found out that Blogger is not working well with IE8, ah well add it to the list of buggy programs I've encountered the last few weeks... but I'm not talking about the programs at work ( I love working with devs who test their work and make life hard for me ) but all the online apps I've tried to use since moving over - credit unions, cable and ISP companies, banks, tourist guides, restaurants, all of them with glaring bugs.

Now that I'm settling in it's time to start re-connecting with the testing community again, especially after reading some recent blog posts.

Pete Walen has written a great series of posts on testers rising to the challenge of showing their value. It's given me a lot to think about and something to talk over at future GR Testers Meetups

And whilst I want to explore and enjoy my new country, this blog from Tony Bruce reminded me that I do think of testing as a career and not just a 9-5 job.

My commuting time for my new job is minimal, a 10 minute drive so I now have more free time and am not standing on Waterloo station platform waiting for trains or standing squashed on the train itself. Which should mean I have time to read and digest ATDD by Example by Markus Gartner.

I also want to dive into the interesting series of blogs by Jeff Nyman on learning Rex and Racc and Building Your Own Language ( I also liked his recent post on Testing That is Effective, Efficient, and Elegant which has got me thinking about my testing and if it is all of those three E's. )

It's been a manic few weeks, now it's calming down and time to enjoy the challenges ahead.

Monday, 26 March 2012

Bish Bash Bosh

Friday March 23 was The Test Bash, the first conference organised by the Software Testing Club. Quite a momentous day for those of us involved in the site - 4 years after starting the STC it has its own regular newspaper, The Testing Planet, and has now organised and held its own mini-conference.

Rob Lambert has already done an excellent write up of his thoughts about the day, I'll try not to repeat him.

It was a nervous start to my day when I opened the curtains to find mist but the travel was fine and I arrived at the venue in good time to find Ministry of Testing Test Bash logos outside.

An international attendance - Markus from Germany, Huib Schoots from the Netherlands and Brindusa Gabur from Barcelona

It was a great day. Excellent speakers - see Markus Gartners site for blog posts.

Will Amazon see a spike in orders for 'The Art of Seduction' after the Evil ( Eeeevil ) Tester recommended seducing people into letting ET be used rather than selling it to them ?

Will managers and executives get a better picture of the quality of the product after testers implement some of the Visualising Quality ideas from David Evans ?

Quote of the day from Steve Green explaining that exploratory testing had a plan and structure - "Stanley and Livingstone didn't just pack sandwiches and charge into the jungle"

Thanks to Ranjit for being my first ever testing pair, something I need more practice at

Great to be able to meet so many people that I'd only known through Twitter.

Really great to finally meet Rosie Sherry 4 years after getting involved with the site.

Awesome to read the tweets from people enjoying the conference - and hearing the feedback afterwards that it had been an enjoyable day.

Cambridge seems a beautiful place, I'll have to try and get back there for a walk around

Lots to think about and a great day to look back on.

Monday, 5 March 2012

Being active

A few posts ago I wrote about how people were doing testing practise after I started a thread on the STC

Today I found that Rob Lambert had turned a conversation I'd had into a No Test Case No Bug blog post which contains a great little video.
If you haven't see it, go there straight after you've finished reading this.

And after finding out that Markus Gartner was reading The Lean Startup book I asked if he would do a review when he'd finished - which he now has and has posted his thoughts

This week I'm going to be trying out Pomodairo after reading this post from TESTHEAD If I don't like it then I can try out the Procastinator tool from @alanpage

and I'll be trying to get through my book pile which grows ever higher thanks to recommendations I get from the community.

Of course if you're reading this then I'm preaching to the converted.
There's a lot to be gained from being an active part of the community

Friday, 2 March 2012

One Thread Can Make A Suit

I noticed on Twitter last night that there was going to be a 'Tester Mega Gathering'. Wanting to know more, I followed the link and found it was going to be part of the Let's Test event.

The blurb for the Mega Gathering says:
"We at Let’s Test are very proud to announce that Tony Bruce, the organizer of London Tester Gathering, will be the head of the Tester Mega Gathering at the conference. He comes with his expertise and experience in arranging these kind of networking events and hopefully this event will inspire more people to arrange Tester Gatherings in their home towns"

Sounds great and Tester Gatherings seem to be happening more often and in more places. Reading this, and knowing Tony Bruce for a while, got me searching through some old threads and I dug up this one from SQA Forums from July 2008.

In it, Tony was proposing a pint and chat in London for 1st August 2008. On the night itself I think there were around 6 of us. Mark Crowther was also part of the thread discussion but he didn't make it on the night. I've still yet to actually meet him in person but I am still connecting with him online and helping him with Ruby.

I don't think that when we had those pints just 3 1/2 years ago that Tony thought he would go on to become known as Mr Gathering. Full credit to him for taking this idea and making it happen.

Nor did I think that a few years later I'd be attending Tester Gatherings in Grand Rapids, MI, USA

Neither of which might not have happened if Tony hadn't started that thread and I hadn't replied. Which reminds me of another blog post I recently read The Work of Being Lucky

Wednesday, 29 February 2012

Testing Turtles

"I was born not knowing and have only had a little time to change that here and there."
Richard Feynman

My mornings browse of Hacker News led me to a blog post on how A Complete Understanding is No Longer Possible.

The post gave the example of someone wanting to master a Mac Air - and as a result would have to read the 7 volume set of hardware documentation from Intel, the 5069 pages Application Kit Framework Reference etc etc

but that's only scratching the surface....

A recent post to the STC was from someone wanting to know what programming language to learn.
So you can suggest something like Ruby and a book like Everyday Scripting with Ruby.
A decent start

If all you're doing is throwaway scripts that might be enough
Probably not though.
Keep things organised and safe ?
Time to learn yourself some Git

Want your scripts to be efficient ?
Time to learn some programming concepts, maybe some Design Patterns

and you're working with the devs on ATDD/BDD/XDD so maybe an understanding of RSpec and/or Cucumber would be useful. There again, some people like Fitnesse, do you know enough about the options to be able to choose the most suitable one ?

and now you know some programming, maybe help out the devs and do some code reviews ?
Not so fast, sonny - the devs have moved onto functional programming
So time to Learn You a Haskell for Great Good or some Clojure
( warning, this stuff scrambles your brain on first/second/third reading )

Judging by the volume of questions posted to SQA StackExchange a lot of people are trying to use Selenium and it's likely you're doing browser testing in which case you'd better add that to your toolkit
So if you don't want to spend your time asking questions and waiting for answers there then you'd better learn yourself some CSS, HTML ( oops, better add some HTML5 into the mix as well ), how to use Firebug

Hmmm, you're most probably using a database, how's your SQL knowledge ?
Pretty good ? You can cope with Oracle or SQL Server or MYSQL ?
and you'd be OK if the data solution is in memory like redis ?

Worried about the bad guys - can you explain to me how you've tested against XSS and MITM attacks ?
Are you OK with using Fiddler to mess around with the network packets ?

There, that's the techy stuff covered...
Except I've just read Adam Knights post about Testers Developing Their Technical Skills and realised I need to chat with the system admins and do some playing around with the operating system tools

Happy with your testing ?
You're fully aware of all your biases and know the part that emotions can play ?
And you're also aware that at times you are Thinking Fast, other times Slow and you've become pretty good at Critical Thinking

What about reporting your test results ? Perhaps worth learning how newspapers deliver their news and see if you can learn any lessons from them

Ready to ship ?
Of course you've run the usability tests and understand the difference between usability and user experience

and if you're not a lone gun tester then it's likely you have some junior testers working with you - do you know how to coach them ?

That's the day job sorted.
( which was done efficiently as you've learned to use a Personal Kanban system )

But in these times, no job is secure so you'd better put some work into having an online presence because professionals should be blogging

I did suggest doing 100 hours of testing practice.
I did state that was 100 hours in a year.
I think I meant week

If you want to play along ( and want to try and get something past The Captchas From Hell which apparently Blogger now uses ), what's missing from this list ?
( VMs and mobile are obvious ones )

Friday, 24 February 2012

Whaddya Think ?

A recent blog post by Alan Page about Learning is Dead has been gnawing away at me the last few days.
Especially the phrase:

"I wonder if anyone knows how to think anymore. Knowledge is much more than learning or regurgitating facts"

Sure, I have a big stack of books I'm working my way through, everything from how the designers at IDEO work to a biography of Captain Cook. So I could tell you all about Cook's upbringing in Whitby or how IDEO won a soapbox derby but what have I really learned from these books ? Was I just taking in information and facts and amusing anecdotes rather than learning ?
( Disclaimer: books can just be read for pleasure and you don't have to be learning 24x7 )

I also read a lot of blogs. I often leave comments - I like to let the authors know that their work is being read and appreciated. Being a good member of the community.
But leaving an "Interesting post" message is now giving me that same gnawing feeling. It's not enough, I'd like to be providing better feedback on the post, what did I think was wrong with it, why did I think it was interesting ?

I can't let Alan's post take all the credit though.
Just before Christmas I got Daniel Kahnemans 'Thinking Fast and Slow' and I'm slowly making my way through it and it's really making me aware of how I think, biases that creep in and how even my mood on the day or what facial expression I have can affect my thinking.

I'd also read a few threads asking about learning Systems Thinking so I'd followed some of the suggestions posted in reply and ordered a few books. And there I am in that thread happily recommending books and links as I know the facts, I know the books that other people recommend, I have those books myself - but do I really understand them ?

One arrived this week, a Critical Thinking For Dummies book ( OK, it was really for College ) so this went to the top of the book pile as I figured I should learn how to think before reading any more of my book pile.

The book gets off to a good start by showing what a critical thinker does

  • raises vital questions and problems, formulating them clearly and precisely
  • gathers and assesses relevant information, and can effectively interpret it
  • comes to well-reasoned conclusions and solutions, testing them against relevant criteria and standards
  • thinks opemindedly within alternative systems of thought, recognizing and assessing as need be, their assumptions, implications and practical consequences
  • communicates effectively with others in figuring out solutions to complex problems

Hmmmm, pretty much covers what a good tester should be thinking like.

Next step in the book is the stages of development as thinkers
The Unreflective Thinker
The Challenged Thinker
The Beginning Thinker
The Practising Thinker
The Advanced Thinker
The Master Thinker

I'd put myself at Stage2/3 - I'm starting to become more aware of my thinking and am starting to take up the challenge of learning to grow and develop my thinking.
The rest of the book should take me through the stages so time for some serious reading.

As I was writing this blog, I read an article linked from Hacker News about leadership

This had a section on thinking:
Multitasking, in short, is not only not thinking, it impairs your ability to think. Thinking means concentrating on one thing long enough to develop an idea about it. Not learning other people’s ideas, or memorizing a body of information, however much those may sometimes be useful. Developing your own ideas. In short, thinking for yourself. You simply cannot do that in bursts of 20 seconds at a time, constantly interrupted by Facebook messages or Twitter tweets, or fiddling with your iPod, or watching something on YouTube

Jeesh, has he been spying on me ?
Instead of having one or two true friends that we can sit and talk to for three hours at a time, we have 968 “friends” that we never actually talk to; instead we just bounce one-line messages off them a hundred times a day. This is not friendship, this is distraction.

He has !!

So time to find myself some quiet for my reading

and then those of you with blogs, be prepared for some insightful comments :)

( picture at the top of the page ? Alien Brain Hemorrhage Cocktail )

Thursday, 16 February 2012

The Adventure of the Recurring Analogy

The keyboard at 221B Baker Street fell quiet.

"What is the matter, Holmes ?" I asked "I told you to keep away from those Linked In forums with their endless discussions of best practices for sleuths. It's worse for your blood pressure than one of Mrs Hudsons fry-ups"

"I haven't visited that damned site for months" replied Holmes "but I've just made a very important discovery.

"You know when I do that vanity search on Google, I always find those software testers reference me ? I refer you to
Testing Lessons Learned from Sherlock Holmes!, More on software testing detectives... and Skilled Bug Investigation and Sherlock Holmes --- SeniorQA analyst "

"That's quite some list, Holmes. If only you'd been able to copyright the analogy we'd be able to retire"

"What I have found, Watson, is that it's not just testers that are taking me as a role model. Designers are doing so as well. Come look at this"

I walked over and peered at the monitor. And indeed it was there:

What user researchers can learn from Sherlock Holmes
The parallels between good research and good detective work are striking. In this article we take a close look at what user experience researchers can learn from the investigative methods used by detectives. And, in the spirit of all the best detective stories, we draw an important conclusion: if you want to become a better researcher you should learn to think like a detective

"Read further, Watson - look, they like to ask questions
'Which do you find most interesting, questions or answers? It’s no contest — the question always wins'
They collect the facts. And they use one of my favourite quotes as their conclusion
'Never, ever, ever, act on assumptions. Search out the facts and act on those.'

"Funnily enough, Holmes" I replied "but I also did some vanity Googling and found that UX designers think that Holmes needs a Watson"

"Remarkable, Watson. I think there's more to these designer chaps than meets the eye. Time to start a new chapter in that book of yours"

To Be Continued...

Wednesday, 15 February 2012

Mr Pot meets Mr Kettle

In my mails today I got a newsletter from Electronics Weekly and it had a section that pointed me towards a blog that seemed interesting.

Made by Monkeys - Great Ideas, Bad Execution

Highly evolved engineers know it's always better to learn from somebody else's mistakes. Electronics Weekly's new Made by Monkeys Blog aims at helping you avoid bungling your own designs. But we won't just focus on what went wrong. We'll talk about what the monkeys that made this stuff could have done -- should have done-- to make their products better

Sounds promising although QA Hates You and Joe Strazzere with his Perhaps They Should Have Tested More have more than enough material.

Not wanting to miss out on this source of information I clicked on the 'Register for newsletter' link.
Oh dear, it took me to the Site Map page and a
'We are sorry but the page you are seeking was not found.'

Seems Electronics Weekly employs monkeys...and can I suggest they run a link checker to make sure their links are valid ?

Monday, 13 February 2012

The new zombie wave

When I'm off-duty from being The Terminator on the STC and want to switch off then something like Plants v Zombies is good. Just when you think you've finished a level though a message comes up
"A Huge Wave Of Zombies Is Approaching"

I was reminded of this when browsing the discussions on Linked In.
( I should stay away, a recent Tweet called them "Dante's Infernal LinkedIn Testing Group" )
Seems the 'test is dead' meme of last year might be activating a fresh new wave of test zombies.

A question was posed:

Is it possible to fully automate all QA and testing?
I have heard differing opinions on this topic of late. So I'm wondering if there's any general consensus on this - Is it realistically possible to lead a departmental Company wide transition from Manual testing to 100% Automation Testing? And if not, why not?

A little more probing about this revealed this gem:

recently during a discussion with a client of mine (a Test Manager), he stated that the goal within his organisation was to achieve 100% automation across all software projects, and furthermore, that they had already achieved this on some of their web projects by firstly scrapping HP QTP and moving to a mixture of Selenium and Cucumber, and secondly, by employing dedicated Software Developers specifically to maintain and develop the automation frameworks and scripts

and more probing
( a bit like the 5 Why's - or descending further into Dantes Inferno )

The reason this topic came up initially was that the client in question had attended a talk with James Whittaker (Test Director at Google) who asserted that apparently Google have done away with the idea of a Test Analyst or QA Analyst. Instead they have started to use this idea of having Software Engineers in Test, as opposed to dedicated 'Testers' in the traditional sense. Apparently, taking this approach has led to the idea that it is possible to automate 100%

Lanette Creamer (a.k.a. Testy Redhead) seems to have had a similar experience

So we move on from having zombie testers writing manual test cases with managers making sure the count per day is the Industry Best Practice norm to a new wave of testers writing their Selenium scripts making sure they make their count of page objects written per day.
(if you watch the video linked to in Lanette's post the presenter says they have 3000 tests and asks if that is a lot, what sort of numbers do other people have )

Test forums used to populated with requests for test case templates, now it's requests for help because their Selenium test to go to Google and check that searching for "tutorial" is failing at the first step and throwing an exception.

Plus ca change
Plus c'est la meme chose
The more that things change,
The more they stay the same.

Circumstances, Rush

( as I was writing this post I noticed another blog post about unthinking Zombie testers - this one from Brent Jensen. At least the Zombies are being noticed - and I finished my game so the Zombies can be defeated )

Wednesday, 8 February 2012

Putting the hours in

In January last year I started a thread on the STC about 100 hours of testing practice ( I had read Gladwells Outliers book and was going for a less ambitious 100 hours of practice and not 10,000 ).

The discussion proved to be popular and it's been amazing to see at least two people this year not only pick up on it but put it to practice.

First was Mark Crowther who blogged about it here and has been posting regular updates to the STC site. His practice is also giving me some practice and I was able to help him out with his problem of getting Ruby to print a £ character.

Then I found that a blogger named Arborosa had also read my post and was committing to doing 250 hours this year. He seems to have got off to a great start in January

It's going to be interesting following these two to see if they can keep it going for the year - and what they feel they have got out of it at the end.

And all from a post of mine - that's pretty awesome.
Anyone else doing it ?

Monday, 6 February 2012

The Good, The Bad, The Ugly - and The Pretty

Two recent blog articles on the Atomic Object Spin site got me thinking and are leading me into new areas to explore and understand.

First post was Are Designers More Valuable Than Programmers ?
This can't be good - testers are already Second Class Citizens and now we're going down the pecking order to be third-class.

Second post was Understand Design or Fail.
Another Gulp.
Another Eeek.
I didn't know anything about Design, never mind understand it. Was I going to fail ?

What these posts did do was make me realise that I didn't understand what a designer did - or how they did it. It wasn't just about making things look pretty and adding rounded corners to buttons.

It also made me realise that after working for eons in the IT industry I had never really worked with a designer. Most interfaces were built by us programmers dragging buttons and widgets out of the tool palette in Visual Basic.
We'd then pass it onto sales/support saying 'please can I have feedback on how this looks', sales would see that they now had a 'finished' program and send it straight to the customers so the crappy looking prototype ended up as the final product.

Even when I worked on projects that supposedly had a 'uasbility testing phase' built in or used the UAT phase to 'get feedback from users' it was all done too late in the process to actually make any significant changes and the project was usually late by at least a year anyway so further delays were not going to happen. Any usability changes could be done in V2...

Time to start learning so I asked the designers for book and web recommendations and got some great recommendations.

Currently working my way through two books:
The Art Of Innovation: Success Through Innovation the IDEO Way
The Ten Faces of Innovation: Strategies for Heightening Creativity

They're proving to be great reads and generating lots of thoughts and ideas - and future blog posts.

The design websites I've visited are also good resources and I'm learning that there is a lot of common ground with testers and designers.
For example, one site I've found with a ton of great material is User Focus and their February newsletter has this as their User Experience quotation of the month

“I cannot imagine any condition which would cause this ship to founder. Modern shipbuilding has gone beyond that.”
— Edward John Smith (Captain of Titanic).

Just the sort of quote a tester loves :)

- and just as I was writing this blog post, Rob Lambert posted a blog post about observing and testing and looking to see how people are using technology.

UX and usability do seem to be becoming more prominent, maybe because a certain company seems to be very succesful based on it's attention to design...

Monday, 16 January 2012

There's Always A Book

So in my last post I'd got my book list ordered and under control.

Then I went on Twitter and noticed that people were self-publishing some very interesting books using Leanpub

First to catch my eye was The Leprechauns of Software Engineering
How folklore turns into fact and what to do about it.

Downloaded the free preview and was hooked - the book looks closely at some of the “ground truths” of software engineering - such as the “software crisis”, the 10x variability in performance, the cone of uncertainty - and looks at the source and the evidence behind these ideas.
Eagerly awaiting the rest of this book and it's already got me thinking about what testing leprechauns there are...

This was soon followed by Elisabeth Hendrickson( @testobsessed ) tweeting about whether there would be interest in her doing a book. Happily myself and many others said 'yes' so a few days later her book There's Always a Duck was out. ( read how she did it here )

Her blog was one of the first I found when I got into testing so it was a real pleasure to re-read the articles again. Not that it was simply a re-print, she had updated many of the posts. Now I have them readily to hand to dip into whenever I want.

It was also great to see a namecheck for Atomic Object in the article about her accepting the Gordon Pask award in the section of the book on Community

All of which reminded me of Ajay Balamurgadas and the 2 books he had written. Order placed and 2 books of a testers experience and tips available to be read.

Cost of the books ? A few dollars each.
Thoughts and experiences contained within them ? Invaluable

Wednesday, 4 January 2012

Reviewing the book list

There was an interesting post from the prolific TESTHEAD about Reviewing his bookself - spending 15 minutes a day every day going through his library and doing a Reference Review.

Seems like a good idea, small problem at the moment is that currently I'm still in the US and my library is back in the UK. It's definitely a good idea for me to sort through and decide which books I'll need to pack and which I can get rid of.

In the meantime I did a mini-review of my current reading list:

Thinking Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman
After reading some great reviews and tweets about this book I ordered it. Currently 1/3 of the way through it and really enjoying it. I can see this leading to some useful blog posts and discussions and thoughts so keeping this close to the front of the queue

Poke the Box by Seth Godin
Free book from a giveway by Matt Heusser. Very small book so should be able to read it in a couple of hours. Should also help with giving 2012 a kickstart so expecting to have read and posted a review in the next week.

Captain James Cook - a biography.
Thought it would be good to read about some real life explorers and see if any lessons could be taken from them for use in testing. It's an interesting book anyway so will be used as my leisure reading.

The Cucumber Book
Now that I'm looking at actual projects that use it I'll be reading this closely over the next month.

Technical Blogging
My blogging was hit-and-miss last year and I'd like it to be more focused. I also now have a company blog that I'd like to write for. Had a quick flick through the book and it seems to have some good ideas. Will dip into this book over the next few weeks.

Build Awesome Command Line Applications in Ruby
Still building up my Ruby knowledge so I'll put this on the back-burner for the moment.

Gamestorming: A Playbook for Innovators, Rulebreakers, and Changemakers
Got this after a great review from Rob Lambert. Seems to have some interesting ideas in it but i think it could be more useful when I've moved to the US and am interacting daily with the rest of the company. Putting to the back of the pile.

The RSpec Book: Behaviour Driven Development with RSpec, Cucumber, and Friends
As with the Cucumber book, now I'm looking at real projects and code I can see the use for this. Will read it along with the Cucumber book

The Leader's Guide to Radical Management: Reinventing the Workplace for the 21st Century - Steve Denning
Halfway through this but as I seem to be working for a company who seem to be already following a lot of the thoughts in it then I'll put it towards the back of the pile.

Myths of Innovation by Scott Berkun
This seems like it will be a great read but not a priority at the moment. Putting it at the back of the pile.

That was easy - dont think sorting out my full library will be as simple...

Halfway through writing this blog though I noticed this discussion on the STC, "Tacit and Explicit Knowledge" by Harry Collins seems like a book I really should be reading...
As does Qualitative Data Analysis A.User-friendly Guide for Social Scientists by Ian Dey which John Stevenson refers to in the comments to that post.
Doh, only January 4 and any resolutions of keeping my Amazon Wish List under control are disapearing...