Sunday, July 27, 2008

Getting out there

AMSTERDAM, NETHERLANDS - FEBRUARY 9: In this h...Image by Getty Images via DaylifeAfter much deliberation, I eventually completed an article targeted specifically for publication. Amazing to me StickyMinds allowed it through their filtering process. While it has been a while in coming, I have managed to get an article in a real location.

The idea for the article actually stemmed from a blog posting. The blog posting arose out of doing a little training of folks on QTP. A seemingly varies path but I'd have to say that it does help to clear things in your own mind by pointing them out to others.

The idea for another potential article now needs to resolve itself into a bit of action. The idea for this one arose out of the writing of the other - not so much a sequel but another on clarifying a concept in test automation.

In putting up a list of the things I've done, I see that there are only a few and they are pretty far apart. They also seem to be based on a theme. At least I've done a few things...

Zemanta Pixie

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Scripting Customizations in Quality Center

Photo of first computer bugImage via WikipediaHP's or ex-Mercury Interactive's Quality Center is a test management tool. This means it provides a central storage area for test requirements, test cases, test execution records and defects. Great huh? Well it might be but for the fact that testing is meant to identify as many bugs as possible within an application. The problem with all test management tools is that there is a focus on the management aspect with a loss to the target purpose of performing testing. This is a wonderfully general statement.

Today I was asked to look at a customization bug in QC. I sympathize with developers... how can a tester write a bug report without explaining the problem. I actually had input from four different people about the problem and in the end still couldn't tell anyone what the problem was. In the end I looked at the project and tried a few things and my best guess was that the field change rule on a new defect was not being activated while it was being activated on editing a defect.

Having at least found a problem... I then looked at the script. Having helped out before I knew that I was heading into a realm of badly coded hacked together copy-paste nightmares. It may have a VBScript backend but that is no excuse. Today's function was the worst I've seen. The entire block of code under the new defect customization was a copy of the field change customization. Besides the fact that the fields are blank and so changing the some entries to prettier strings is a futile exercise, all the code is hidden within a "one error resume next" block.

Herein lay the problem. The problem I uncovered was another instance of attempting to set a value in a field based on the entry in another field which is blank and has to be on a new defect and so is happily caught by the on field change customization. I caught the error by simply including the error description in a message box. Fixed the error and ran it again and received a different error. This second error was the annoying one. A half hour later with everything in the function commented out and an error reset command prior to the msgbox, I was still getting the error.

My conclusion is that the function customization in QC are not scripted through a clean interface as they trigger an object does not support that function error. So much for knowing whether or not the code has problems.

Zemanta Pixie

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Information Transfer

It would seem that besides wanting to be free, it seems that information has trouble presenting itself in a way that can be easily assimilated. There are a lot of ways of presenting data:
  • Lists
  • Maps
  • Tables
  • Graphs
  • Diagrams
  • Paragraphs
The question is though what works best. The context is an obvious starting point. It does not make much sense to use a paragraph when noting which items need to be bought at the store. Lists may be a convenient way to capture a large amount of information, but do they enable easy information transfer?

It seems that the easiest means of passing information on to another person is to present to them in a standard form. A colloquial conversational type of document is more likely to transfer information than any of the list-based mediums.

Lists are hard. They take a lot of effort to process adequately and the longer the list the worse this gets. This is because there is no flow of ideas. My personal experience is that I skim lists and go back to them and treat them as independent entities. Lists cannot contain information that is critical to the view being expressed.

Tables may be an efficient way of consolidating information. The problem is that they can't be read. The association between the various cells is via the header of the column and the row. There is a discontinuity.

Information is transferred by the story it creates as it moves through the various stages. The critical feature of the story is the progress. I can't say for sure, but I'd recommend a growth in complexity of the topic as the story progresses. This builds on the information already imparted.