Exploration Through Example

Example-driven development, Agile testing, context-driven testing, Agile programming, Ruby, and other things of interest to Brian Marick
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Tue, 30 Mar 2004

Better Software Magazine: writers needed

[Update: tried to clarify "upgrading testing skills".]

I'm a technical editor for Better Software magazine, formerly Software Testing and Quality Engineering. In its older incarnation, the target audience was testers, test leads, process people, and managers. In the newer incarnation, the emphasis will broaden somewhat to capture more people (while hanging on to the original audience). We hope everyone who spends time thinking about quality (in its various manifestations) will subscribe.

That especially includes programmers. To that end, for example, we've recently had an article on remote work (from Andy Hunt, Christian Sepulveda, and Dave Thomas). It had a programmer slant, even though it contained advice for all types of people. We'll soon be having an article on FIT-first development from Dave Astels. Our Tool Look section will soon take a look at the popular IDEA IDE. Etc.

It's foolish that I've never solicited authors on this blog. Here are topics we're looking to cover. And here are instructions about how to get started writing for us.

We'll be having an editorial planning meeting April 1 and 2. We'll add more topics to the list. Mail me if you have suggestions.

In particular, here are topics we need covered in the September issue, with a first draft deadline of May 12:

  • Development realities for managers. What do managers need to know about development today? What significant changes have happened? In what ways are managers out of touch, technically?

  • Usability design.

  • Upgrading testing skills. Dave Thomas writes to programmers:

    The industry is changing underneath us, and most developers seem oblivious, preferring to blame the recession rather than face an awkward fact: we're never going back to the easy life of the late 90's. Instead, every developer is increasingly going to have to fight to stay attractive, working hard to develop the skills needed as the industry matures and more and more of our work becomes commoditized.
    This Front Line piece will be written by a tester who followed Dave's advice. For example, the author might describe how she added a scripting language to her manual testing portfolio. Or she might say how she studied anthropological fieldwork and applied it to interviewing users.

## Posted at 10:13 in category /misc [permalink] [top]

A debug dump

[Update: Spolsky's article, mentioned below, is here. Thanks, Joel.]

Dave Liebreich on debug dumps:

Ask for a debug dump command to be included in the system, and make sure programmers and testers know how to invoke it, grab and decode the information, and expand the command to include more information.

The most debuggable system I ever had a hand in writing was the virtual machine for an implementation of Common Lisp. My motto was that no bug should be hard to find the second time. So part of fixing each tricky VM bug was adding code that would make bugs like it shout out "Here! I'm here!" Over time, the system got quite debuggable.

Inspired in part by that, I later wrote a set of patterns for ring buffer logging. Joel Spolsky wrote an article for Volume 5, Number 5 of STQE on remote crash reporting. The most interesting bit was that his programs "phone home" with very little data. He finds he doesn't need enormous detail.

## Posted at 07:24 in category /misc [permalink] [top]

About Brian Marick
I consult mainly on Agile software development, with a special focus on how testing fits in.

Contact me here: marick@exampler.com.




Agile Testing Directions
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Working your way out of the automated GUI testing tarpit
  1. Three ways of writing the same test
  2. A test should deduce its setup path
  3. Convert the suite one failure at a time
  4. You should be able to get to any page in one step
  5. Extract fast tests about single pages
  6. Link checking without clicking on links
  7. Workflow tests remain GUI tests
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Design-Driven Test-Driven Design
Creating a test
Making it (barely) run
Views and presenters appear
Hooking up the real GUI


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