Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Litmus: Friend or Foe


I use Litmus quite extensively for cross-browser testing. We have done some email testing with it, but not nearly as frequently as we use it for basic site testing.
In general the concept is great. Simple, easy to use, clean. When it works, it provides useful screen-shots from almost any browser of your choice

Its email testing client is also awesome. This service feels more robust and has been improving in the past year and a half or so I’ve been using Litmus. ( in fact, I wrote an earlier review of Litmus when I first started using it- but as time went by, I felt I had more to add to a review of the tool than I did initally) It seems to me the company may be moving in this direction. While I do like the email tests, I hope they don’t abandon page testing all together.

starting a new page test for cross browser testing

 

But on the Website testing front, can litmus be used reliably for cross browser results? My biggest complaint is that anything on staging loads so slowly, that often whole sections of the page don’t display properly. It also only clears one level of basic auth, so sites that require more than that will not run.
I think with a few tweaks and clean ups, it could offer a much more robust service to what is already a useful too.
For example, I can send a link to the screenshot result, but I can’t annotate it. Wouldn’t it be great to be able to point out specific areas of concern to developers in a neat, clean way?

Not all browsers offer full page scrolling. That means that sometimes, only the top of the page is visible on the test result.

Offer better support for mac browsers. For some reason, mac browsers always come back with an error and you have to run them multiple times to get them to work. This limits the effectiveness of the test suite.

Overall, this is a useful tool, and I haven’t found anything better to get in full cross-browser testing. However, it does have a few short comings that make working with it more cumbersome and less useful than it could be. It does seem to be getting updates and developing- so hopefully some of these issues will get addressed.

Does anyone else use this tool? If not, what have you found for cross browser testing and do you find it effective?

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New Year, New Site

So for 2011, this blog will be getting a makeover. New title, new theme, new posts and last but not least- a new address. I have decided to try hosting my own blog. Does one successful Rails class and an automated test suite qualify me to host my own blog? I guess we’ll find out!
I spent the last weekend settling on a domain name, Everyday QA, migrating my old posts and comments over and learning some basic html editing. I will be setting up forwarding from this site once I’m ready to do the big switch. For now, head on over to the new site- http://www.everydayqa.com/ and let me know what you think! I’d love feedback on how it looks and what should be changed.

I hope you all enjoy the new site and I look forward to getting lots of new posts and information up!

Ruby: A non-programmer’s foray into a programming language.

In high school, English was my thing. (What does this have to do with Ruby? I’m getting there.) I loved picking up a pen and chasing down words to discuss novels or detail moments or to wax poetic about the political structure of  Rome. Have you ever watched someone make pottery on a wheel? Their fingers sliding over wet clay, pressing in slightly and urging a shape where moments before there was only a glob. All the while, their feet work steadily, finding the right rhythm to keep everything moving. Sometimes, their lips move just a little, as though they were whispering to the clay the way one might whisper to a lover or share secrets with a friend- they seem to coax out beauty and share instructions with the clay, until it bends softly and forms the way they want it to. I was never any good at the pottery wheel, but  what I witnessed as other people worked was how I felt when I wrote in English class. I could grope around whisper to an idea and then keep my hands and pen moving rhythmically along until some essay appeared, fully formed on my page. It was was natural.

Then I started taking Spanish. Spanish did not come naturally to me at all. I remember this blind feeling of knowing what I wanted to say, but needing to look up not only the words, but the tense and the grammar and the punctuation. I’d get little phrases slightly off, I’d forget an accent mark or make a masculine verb feminine and then the whole sentence sounded wrong.  My teacher would carefully correct them, handing back a red stained piece of paper for me to go over again. I’d pull out the dictionary and go over each word, waiting for the moment when the words could flow effortlessly out of me and be magically correct on their own. When a phrase or sentence would “sound wrong” to me the way English does when there is a misused word.

Now, I am trying to learn to program. As I slog through lines of ruby, I get that same feeling I had in Spanish class. Learning to program is, of course, a foreign language. But it is also a language with a different set of rules.    I am not just trying to turn my english verbs and nouns into Spanish ones, I am trying to learn the very structure and sound of verbs that computers understand. Flowing descriptive sentences are chopped and spliced- removed of ambiguity and flourish and left as a series of commands strung together with a punctuation that is not dictated by the pauses and breaths of human speech. Again and again, my rake commands are greeted with lines of red errors detailing my every mistake. I grab a book and settle in, going over the code word by word one line at a time, and feel somehow super human (if only for a moment) when I clear an error. Then, when I get stuck, I show someone who actually knows what they are doing, and my super-human feeling completely vanishes as I watch them lay their fingers gently on the keyboard. They see instantly what “sounds wrong” and know exactly where to place the punctuation, when adjust a word or a space and how to clear out the red errors. And in the middle of it, some times I see their lips moving just slightly, coaxing the code to bend in just the right way.

I have a long way to go and a lot to learn. But with each error I start to recognize and each problem I figure out, I catch just a glimpse of that rhythm. One day when it, too, is natural, perhaps I will argue in praise of the art of  Ruby’s simplicity, its ease. For now, I fumble in the dark, waiting for the moment I can intuitively “hear” or feel how it is supposed to be and perhaps, even to whisper words of encouragement as the code takes shape.

Where to begin

What is a tester’s place in an agile world?

How can we learn to be effectively integrated into a development team?

When is testing complete?

Where do I go for more information?

What are the best practices for testing?

I hope this blog will be a place where testing professionals can share ideas and learn from each other.

I’ve worked as a tester in large, waterfall environments before, but I am currently setting up a new testing department for a small, agile company.  I will share my experiences, challenges and discoveries along the way.