2017 In Review

As it has become a yearly tradition I will summarize the most popular and important articles I’ve written over the year along with some other forward-looking (and likely wrong) statements mixed in with past reflections.

You can find previous years here: 2016 | 2015

The Five Most-Viewed Articles:

  • 18 Github Projects for Testing – A simple list of 18 or so Github projects that might be useful for testing and/or testers. This includes a number of tools like Bug Magnet, Form Filler and PICT (a combinatorial tool), Libraries and Frameworks.
  • 9 GitHub Lists for Testing – Another a simple list, this time made of other lists that might be useful for testing and/or testers.
  • How do I test this? – At some point last year I realized I wasn’t communicating the way I wanted to. Using the wrong words could have (potentially) been lowering my credibility by implying I was looking for someone else to tell me how to test something. I like suggestions on what to test, what changes to consider without actually insinuating I want someone to tell me how to test.
  • Testers, don’t be afraid to make Production Changes – Also one of my favorite posts of the year. We may find bugs that have such low risk and/or low priority they aren’t ever fixed. Sitting in this position can be annoying and unless you are pairing with a developer and/or have the knowledge yourself many of these things don’t get fixed. I started fixing them myself and I encourage others to do the same.
  • Practice Using Selenium Now – It’s possible to start learning to write UI automation with Selenium WebDriver by following the great tips over at the Elemental Selenium newsletter. This is a complied list on how to do that.

A few other Important Articles:

  • Don’t be afraid to make Production Change – As I said above one of my favorite articles and a trend that continues to develop for me as I learn how to impact quality by making my own fixes.
  • Contributing to GitHub is for Everyone – My first conference presentation ever, co-presented with Matt Heusser. It was an easy topic for my first presentation and I hope to build on it with a few other OnlineTestConf presentations.
  • Being a Distributed Tester was hard – I enjoy(ed) working from home but being on a distributed team in a non-distributed company was difficult and challenging. The scars are still there but I wouldn’t rule out trying this again. Turns out it helps to talk about it.

Highlights:

  • I’m proud to have published a tip called How to Run Your Tests Headlessly with Chrome, #72, on the Elemental Selenium newsletter. When I was learning to write Selenium tests I leaned heavily on these resources, so to be able to write my own tip was pretty satisfying. I don’t really write much outside of this blog so it’s kind of a big deal
  • I managed to write and publish more than one article per month for a grand total of 16. This seems like a reasonable volume with some fluff(ier) pieces, some short pieces and some longer pieces. Continuing this pace for 2018 seems doable.
  • Started a new job and expanded our family. It’s been a fun ride with some very fuzzy and sleep deprived moments.

The Future:

  • I’m running AST’s webinar program and we have our second speaker lined up for the year. Alan Page will be talking about the (AB)use and Misuse of Test Automation in February. Sign up here.
  • My work is pushing me deeper into our rails application forcing me to learn more about our integration and unit level tests which is all fascinating and challenging. I’ve failed in a few attempts but I seem to have room to try and grow which is both scary and amazing at the same time. Turns out co-workers who always want to help and pair on things is very special.
  • Finding ways to use data to understand quality seems like a fascinating trend I intend to learn more about. I don’t know what this means yet but it sounds promising. I wonder if I can get someone to do a webinar on it..?
  • Stale posts seem inevitable as technologies and concepts change and my overall understanding evolves. Having said this I’d like to be able to update articles and maybe republish them as necessary. I have a few in the backlog that could come out in the next few months.
  • Maybe I’ll get to my first in-person conference in the last few years. Maybe I’ll even present at it.

I’m bad at long-term career planning. If you ask me where I see myself in 5 years, I can’t. For that reason I’ve probably never tried. Perhaps it’s being a father or just wanting a better designed life, but it now seems appropriate to find the time to develop both a plan and feedback system to do this instead of relying on luck.

Cheers to (the rest of) 2018!

mid-January Updates

Some random thoughts as I sit here at mid-January of the new year:

  • I’ve been reading Walter Isaacson’s newest book Leonardo da Vinci and it’s a fascinating look at how mastery in one discipline or craft such as painting can evolve and become better based on studying other disciplines.
    • Based on Isaacson’s own research including Leonardo’s own notebooks, we are presented with the breath and depth of Leonardo’s self teachings. For example Leonardo often considered himself a scientist, engineer, and weapons designer before a painter. He studied birds and flight, motion, water movement and also dissected animals and human cadavers to learn about muscle movement and skeletal structure. All to learn more about the world around him.
    • All of this cross discipline research influenced and improved his art. I highly recommend the book!
  • I have a Now page, be sure to check it out!
  • Late in December I posted on TestingConferences.org the 2016 & 2017 Conference videos that are free to watch. It was interesting reviewing all of those past conferences and then surveying which ones posted public videos. In the /past list we have a variable called “Event Videos” where we post these. For easy reference:
  • The State of the Testing Survey is now available. There’s a lot of room for interpretation of the results (and questions) but this is by far the best survey of the testing industry. I always fill this out and I hope you will to!
  • The first webinar I’m hosting for AST is coming up. Join us if you haven’t already!

Rebooting the AST’s Webinar Series!

Last year, after failing in my bid to become a Board Member, I agreed to run the AST’s webinar program. Funny thing was I already had a small list of people and topics I wanted to learn more from / about based on conference and podcast talks. (When something intrigues me I take notes to research later.) Now I have an opportunity to track down those people and ask them to (generously) share their time with the wider world of testing!

Since the AST is a non-profit with a goal of building and developing a community of skilled testing craftspeople, anything that falls into the large arena of software testing could become a topic for discussion. It doesn’t always have to apply to an aspect of test automation which is good and should give us a larger pool to draw from. This is going to be a challenge for me. Logistically challenging but also about being inclusive of interesting topics and presenters that I might not be aware of.

For 2018 the goal is one webinar per month. I have no idea if this will be a sustainable pace or if all of my presenters will be able to deliver but that’s part of the challenge.

Anna Royzman is our presenter for January so be sure to sign up. Alan Page will present in February and after that? Who knows!

Having said this, I’m always looking for presenters and topics. Got an idea? Contact me!

A few of the past webinars the AST has hosted are available online: