The “403 Forbidden” card game

There is a subtle but very important difference between naming something and explaining something.

I’m sure you’ve heard people use the phrase “technical work” in lots of different situations but have you ever stopped to question what it really means? Could you explain “technical work” to someone else in plain, simple language? Could you do it without using the words “technical” or “work”? Now how many of these familiar-sounding terms do you think could you explain to a friend in 90 seconds?

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Naming URL and JSON components

These are some simple visuals I quickly threw together. I hope they will help to improve conversations which will lead to better-informed decisions. In IT we have a habit of using multiple names for exactly the same thing which frequently leads to longer and more confusing conversations! I hope the visual breakdown of URLs and JSON objects into their constituent parts will be of benefit to newbies and non-techies alike.

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Creating test data with Calabash

On returning to my old iOS team after a brief stint working on our services team, I wanted to implement what I had learned there and improved the stability of our Calabash scenarios. I wanted to shift away from our dependence on test data stored in config files and databases and create test data at the same time as executing our Calabash scenarios.

The whole process was surprisingly simple and straightforward. We used the “Rest-Client” gem and then called some simple data manager classes by using cucumber’s built-in hooks.

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Annotating Test notes

I’m lucky in my current role to the independence to test how I see fit. I don’t have somebody forcing me to use a tool that doesn’t work for me. After weeks of plaguing my boss to pay for a JIRA Capture licence, I eventually got my way!! I have used JIRA Capture Test Sessions briefly at a previous company and found it to be a simple but very effective tool for capturing testing notes.

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MVP in a graph

The project I’m working on has an end of August deadline and over the last few weeks I’ve noticed the term MVP being thrown around with increasing frequency. Back at the start of the project, a developer dropped the ‘M’ bomb in a meeting. Before he could finish pronouncing the letter ‘P’, one of the project stakeholders very politely but forcefully interrupted the dev to remind everyone that “we are not building an MVP!”. Continue reading

Scheduled releases and the importance of Regression Testing

Michael Bolton first highlighted the difference between testing and checking. The output of checks are binary results (true/false, on/off, black/white). Checks can be executed by humans or automatically by machines. The output of testing is questions, facts and information. Tests can only be executed by humans. Unfortunately, a lot of people continue to use these words interchangeably which can lead to confusion and mistakes. To become better testers, I believe we need to start with the basics; our vocabulary. Continue reading