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Date: Sunday, 19 Aug 2007 19:18

Mladen Prajdic over at SQLTeam.com has created a UI to compliment SQL Server 2005's TableDiff.exe.

Download it here.

Author: "Brent Strange" Tags: "Quality Assurance"
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Date: Monday, 13 Aug 2007 00:59

I haven't talked about HTTPWatch since version 4.1 but last week I had a chance to work with the  5.0 version and I have to say once again: I LOVE IT.  These guys keep me hooked with the simplicity, new features, and ease use with their application. What I'm loving the most in 5.0 is the quick visual of traffic activity (blocked, DNS Lookup, connect, send, wait, receive, TTFB, & network):

image  

The second thing that caught my testing eye was the grouping by page feature which allowed me to expand/collapse by pages:

image  

HTTPWatch 5.0 continues to impress. It's still by far my preferred tool for viewing HTTP traffic while testing Web applications. You just can't beat the usability, quick availability from within the Internet Explorer window. And to boot, it has an interface for use with Web application automation! Give it a try for free here.

Author: "Brent Strange" Tags: "Quality Assurance"
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Date: Sunday, 12 Aug 2007 06:59

Scott Hanselman has posted about testing a Silverlight application using the Web application testing tool Selenium. Check it out here. Congratulations on your recent move to Microsoft Scott!

Author: "Brent Strange" Tags: "Quality Assurance"
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Date: Saturday, 21 Jul 2007 18:59

A while back I posted a few thoughts and discoveries on automating a Silverlight application. Since then, there has been a bit of head way in that area with WebAii and TestDriven.net.

Michael Kelly pointed out to me that WebAii allows testing from within the browser while TestDriven allows testing at the class level.

Have you tested a SilverlIght application? If you have, I'd like to hear your thoughts. Have you used WebAii or TestDriven.net? Post to the comments please!

Author: "Brent Strange" Tags: "Quality Assurance"
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Date: Sunday, 24 Jun 2007 22:44

Two Web Service experts, Ted Neward and Adrian Trenaman, battle out the pros and cons of Contract First and Code-First here. Ted and Adrian touch on the good and bad points of each. If you're testing Web Services then this is an enlightening 5 minute read.

In the past I was part of a team that tried to implement Contract-First with a large and complex .NET Web Service and it failed us miserably. It turned out to be a manual administration nightmare...That's my experience.

Author: "Brent Strange" Tags: "Quality Assurance"
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Date: Wednesday, 13 Jun 2007 13:37
saguaro_cactus_blossom

I've been saving up all my change for about 6 years, and now I'm going to spend it all in one lump sum. 

It wasn't long ago that decided to move out of my comfort zone by deciding to move the wife and kids to Gilbert Arizona to be closer to wife's side of the family. Today marks the first official day of that change, today is my last day at Corillian which recently became a part of CheckFree. I'm sad to be leaving such a great group of people, but really excited to do something different. Different as in living in a new state after living in the NW all my life, different as in living in our 1st brand new house, and different as in going to work for GoDaddy.com!

Stay tuned for a brand new testing and QA adventure...in the thriving desert.

Author: "Brent Strange" Tags: "Quality Assurance"
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Date: Tuesday, 12 Jun 2007 03:46

Over the course of the last few months Rosie Sherry and I have had a few conversations where we exchanged thoughts and ideas on testing and QA. I have to say that she is quite the go getter, is plum full of great ideas, and is hell bent on finding ways to bring together us tester and QA folk. Her latest idea, an online Software Testing Club provides us testing types with a social network that has forums, videos, news, test links, and photos.

Rosie has shared a few ideas with me lately, and what I like the most about them is the fact they are small and consumable. Yes, StickyMinds.com is a similar forum, but it's sooo huge it's hard to use and hard to consume. StickyMinds is BIG. (side rant here: I asked to submit an article recently and was asked to fill out this huge, multiple page form to be considered. It would've taken me nearly as long to complete the form as to write the article. Suck. Forget about it. BIG = Red Tape).

Small vs. Big...

I think an analogy for my attraction to the smaller forum is:

A person can attend a church that has a HUGE congregation. It's hard for that person to feel like they are a part of that huge group because there are so many people and its hard to get the attention they may need or desire. How do large churches solve this problem? By encouraging people to join or form a small prayer group.

Don't go unheard or get lost in the noise of a large group. Join a club. Give Rosie Sherry's Software Testing Club a try. When the club gets too big for your liking, start your own!

Author: "Brent Strange" Tags: "Quality Assurance"
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Date: Sunday, 03 Jun 2007 23:11

Ernie Booth has written a plug-in for Reflector  that allows you to do reflection on a SilverLight Web application. This will be a helpful test tool for those who don't have access to the source code. Go checkout and download the plug-in Reflector Silverlight Browser for your test or development needs.

Reflector Silverlight Browser

Author: "Brent Strange" Tags: "Quality Assurance"
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Date: Thursday, 31 May 2007 08:40

Not long ago our vacuuming robot, iRobot Roomba, aka "DK" (Dyson Killer, don't get me started on how much I hate Dyson vacuums) stopped working and my wife and I had to pack him up in his original box to take him in for an exchange. My 2 1/2 year old son was devastated; he cried and sobbed heavily while we carefully packed him up. I realized while watching my son break down, that over the course of a month DK had found a place in our home and hearts. He had become more than just a vacuum to us. DK had personality, he was cute, he was intriguing, he was smart, and he could vacuum consistently and more often than us.

Why do we humans have a primal instinct to name, love, and care for our robots?

How can we not love and care for the robot that does our tedious work for us?

This behavior reminds me of a similar phenomenon found in software automation: Automation engineers that tend to focus more on the automation framework (robot) than the tests (vacuuming the carpet).

Google's Harry Robinson points out the same issue in his presentation on How to build your own Robot army. Harry's automation approach is to build many small robots instead of one large robot. I can agree and disagree with Harry, I understand his point, and his point is helpful when trying to avoid falling in love with your robot. However, I thought his advice can be a bit misleading and relative. Although Harry didn't go into the technical details of how he creates many robots, I had the feeling he was trying to tell me that I couldn't have one robot and be successful. I could be wrong, maybe Harry was just using the word "robot" a little loosely.

At Corillian, I have one robot. My robot is the master controller of all my tests. He houses the entire framework that drives all the underlying tests. A framework that monitors and tracks test status, houses utilities, and allows me to reuse very much code. I can add to the intelligence of my robot and use that intelligence within all my tests. Just one robot here. One robot that works well too!

One robot, or many, they are all loveable and are to be proud of.

So, how does an automation engineer manage the pride of his shiny robot and focus on the actual tests?

The secret to focusing on the automated tests and not the framework is....get ready to soak in some great wisdom here...

Self Discipline

Yep, you heard it here first. Don't forget it: Self Discipline

  • Budget framework building time
  • Only add things that add value to the tests
  • Only add things that make testing and reporting more efficient
  • Don't make the framework bigger than the tests

Love your robot, just don't love him too much, you're liable to lose touch with what you're being paid to do: Test more than a human.

Don't worry, DK and his predecessor DK2 are doing just fine. Turns out my issue with DK was user error, so DK was traded in wrongfully. We love our Roomba and highly recommend it. We're so impressed that we are thinking about adding the Scooba to our robot army.

Author: "Brent Strange" Tags: "Quality Assurance"
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Date: Saturday, 26 May 2007 11:27

Amit Agarwal, analyst, geek and professional blogger has created for us an Adsense Sandbox. This Google Adsense Preview Tool allows you to type in keywords and see 25 contextual and geo-targeted Google Adsense ads.

I can see this to be helpful if you're trying to target a specific ad, or trying to get a specific ad off your page. I'm not too Adsense savvy, so I suppose there are other good uses too.

Author: "Brent Strange" Tags: "Blogging"
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Date: Friday, 18 May 2007 04:38

I found two more lists of user-agents for browsers, spiders, bots, RSS readers, devices, etc. If you're looking to track down who/what a specific user-agent is or are looking to spoof a user-agent using the User Agent Switcher extension then these four lists should be helpful (newly discovered are on the top):

  1. http://www.user-agents.org/index.shtml
  2. http://www.botsvsbrowsers.com/
  3. http://www.tnl.net/ua
  4. http://www.pgts.com.au/pgtsj/pgtsj0212d.html

I've also updated my User-Agent list xml import file for User Agent Switcher to include a few WAP devices and toolbars.

*WAP*     
Nokia 6630
Nokia 6100
BlackBerry 8703 
*Toolbars*     
Google Toolbar 4.0
Hotbar 4.4.2   
AskBar 3.0      

Download it here: AgentStrings20070517.xml (18.07 KB)

Author: "Brent Strange" Tags: "Quality Assurance;Web Browsers"
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Date: Thursday, 17 May 2007 04:12

There is a new Software Testing forum out on MSDN. Despite its location, it's not soley about testing apps that are or use Microsoft products. Check it out and introduce yourself.

Author: "Brent Strange" Tags: "Quality Assurance"
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Date: Wednesday, 16 May 2007 03:35
Microsoft Silverlight Recent Silverlight rants encouraged me to dig into it to help better understand exactly what it is, and how one would automate the technology. My fear was that since it's a Flash killer, it means that it's like Flash, and automation would be near impossible. My hunch is correct, at least for now.

I did a little exploratory research to better understand Silverlight and knowing that it uses JavaScript my thought was that maybe it could be driven through the function calls available in application's exposed JavaScript functions. No success. In IE7, when trying to simply redefine a JavaScript defined variable from the URL bar I get the following error:

Internet Explorer cannot download .
Unspecified error

Similar attempts with FireFox and the FireBug addon didn't get me any further.

Today, the Braidy Tester mentioned a new software testing forum, and I spied it as a great opportunity to post my concern with Microsoft testers listening. Brian McMaster gave us a little insight to where automation of Silverlight is at and the possibility of it's future:

Brent Strange wrote:
I'm a little worried about how we test automation engineers will be able to pull off the automation of a Silverlight application. What are your thoughts? Is there a plan for a supporting automation library? Is there any information available regarding this?

Brian McMaster wrote:
I understand your worry.  Right now, it's pretty much untestable from the traditional out-of-proc UI testing perspective.  I'm a Test Architect at Microsoft, and I'm struggling with the same issue.  We urged the Silverlight team to implement Accessibility for this release, but there just wasn't time.  I can assure you that Silverlight will support MSAA and/or Windows UI Automation on Windows, and Silverlight intends to support the Mac AXAPI on the Mac.  Thus, any existing test tools that support driving UI through Accessibility will be fully enabled to automate Silverlight applications in a future release.

For now, you pretty much would need to do some in-proc testing of your application using the object model.

It looks like Microsoft intends to do the right thing, it's just too early in the game. How could they not? Without the possibility of automation, Silverlight will never find a snug little home in a world class business Web application. Confining tests to only manual would cost way too much. I can't imagine companies sacrificing cost for a pretty UI.

...Well, at least not the quality conscious companies.

Author: "Brent Strange" Tags: "Quality Assurance"
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Date: Saturday, 12 May 2007 13:28

This defect was pointed out by my co-worker and friend Philippe.

Read the ingredients. Chocolate covered SQL anybody?

I'd be interested to know how this came about.

Let's hope that the chocolate is better than the packaging quality control!

Author: "Brent Strange" Tags: "Defect of the day"
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Date: Saturday, 12 May 2007 13:17

Corillian (where I work) is currently looking for an experienced QA Engineer to work in the Corporate Security group at our Corporate Office (Hillsboro, OR).

Check out the job description here, or check out other jobs at Corillian here.

Experience in Performance Testing with Silk Performer, and being able to write C# is a huge plus.

If you're interested, contact me (bottom of the page) and I can any answer questions about the job or Corillian.

Author: "Brent Strange" Tags: "Quality Assurance"
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Date: Tuesday, 08 May 2007 03:52

A recent writing of mine (written in the car on the way to Arizona) made it's way to StickyMinds.com and their What's New Gram.  If you missed it on this blog, then check out the article at StickyMinds. Here's your teaser and link:

Article: Is QA Better at Writing Product Specifications?
Brent Strange
Is QA better at writing product specifications? Learn how a movement toward a more agile process that includes QA involvement with specification writing can increase product quality.

Author: "Brent Strange" Tags: "Quality Assurance"
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Date: Friday, 04 May 2007 13:57

It's a great time to be a Tester-Developer...I've been getting a ton of job offers that turn into requests for help to find Senior Tester-Developers. If you're in the Portland area and are looking for a change, please shoot me an email and I'll tell you what I know.

Author: "Brent Strange" Tags: "Quality Assurance"
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Date: Friday, 27 Apr 2007 10:30

I've been using Shower Shock Caffeinated Soap. After a couple weeks of using it in the morning I realized that it truly invigorated me and that it was really nice to have my morning caffeine intake (2 cups) before I even got out of the shower. I was clean, caffeinated, bright eyed, and didn't have coffee breath. During the two week trial I noticed that the Caffeinated Soap also accelerated my body hair growth. Whoa. What the?

How to use such a powerful concoction...

Hmmm...

Hmmm...

The hair on my head is thinning.

Okay. Thinned.

ALRIGHT. I gotta a HUGE freakin' forehead with no hair on it.

It's not my fault, I'm pretty sure it's the radiation from the 20 CRT monitors surrounding me in a 100 foot proximity.

Back to the brainstorm...

Caffeinated soap causes hair growth. EGADS! Caffeinated shampoo!

I'm a genius. You don't even know. Well..you might. But just act like you don't. I don't want people to know.

Needless to say, another 2 week supply of Shower Shock Caffeinated Soap was promptly ordered. It arrived. I've been using it... On my head. Being careful not to get it on my ears, nose, eyes or teeth. Hairy ears, eyes, nose and teeth is not attractive.

FRANKLY, HAIRY EARS, NOSE, EYES, and TEETH IS WEIRD.

Here it is two weeks later after the shiny, caffeinated soap/shampoo arrived on my doorstep via next day air. I have hair on my forehead. My life is changed. Co-workers ask me to take my wig off. I laugh at them and ask them to take it off for me. THEY CAN'T, BECAUSE IT'S NOT A WIG. Girls do double-takes when I walk by. Guys do double takes when I walk by. People yell at me on the street "GET A HAIR CUT YOU LOSER!" People ask what product I use to get that lustrous look for my hair. I smile, wink, and say Shower Shock Caffeinated Soap

THIS SOAP/SHAMPOO IS A FREAKIN'  MIRACLE. Check this out:

YEAH. The real deal. I'm not even joking. FOR REAL.

WARNING: Results may vary. Possible side effects may include but are not limited to:

Hyperactivity. Hair loss. Anxiety. Depression. Sneezing. Hives. Boils on the legs. Shirt hem unraveling. 101 degree temperature for 21 days. Green skin. Receeding gums. Vomiting. Hunger. Insomnia. Mouth sores. High blood sugar. Low blood sugar. Heart palpitations. Accelerated finger nail growth. Eyelash loss. Varicose veins. Feet itching. Excess ear wax. Sweating. Thirst. Blinking. Loss of mobility. Greed. Lust. Vanity.

Author: "Brent Strange" Tags: "Creative Venting"
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Date: Wednesday, 25 Apr 2007 03:30

Today was "Administrative Professionals Day". My wife is an Administration Professional, and once again her boss did not acknowledge her. This pisses her off, yet year after year she secretly hopes that her boss (old or new in the job) will suprise her with some act of gratitude. Keep hoping dear, us men have a hard enough time remembering our anniversary and your birthday, how can you expect one to remember Administrative Professional Day?

I want a "QA  & Test Professionals Day". Please make it a point to ignore me by not writing defects, providing clear specifications, and writing robust unit tests. Thats all I ask.

QA & Test Professionals Day is May 4th. The day before Cinco de Mayo. Don't forget.

Author: "Brent Strange" Tags: "Quality Assurance"
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Date: Wednesday, 25 Apr 2007 03:03

When uninstalling a program from Add/Remove Programs that was installed using Installshield you will get no related logging. This is a serious testing and development problem when there is a problem with the uninstall of the program.

How can you output logging to troubleshoot Add/Remove uninstall issues? Mimic the same behavior of Add/Remove Programs from the command line using the following example:

“Test Installer Setup.exe” /uninst /s /v“/qn /Luie \"%TEMP%\Uninstall for Test Install.log\””

Understand InstallShield command line parameters here.

Understand .MSI command line parameters here.

On a side note, uninstalling from Add/Remove programs versus uninstalling via running the installer again can have different results. Make sure you have test cases for both.

Thanks for the uninstall tip Matt.

Author: "Brent Strange" Tags: "Quality Assurance"
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