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!