ChromeWatir release 1.0.0

Every now and then we discuss ways of better automating the manual tests which accompany our web applications. This is especially poignant right now as both the development and test teams have been recently reduced in size. We have had some success with Watir in the past, but it was always dependent on Internet Explorer …

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Television and Online Communities

There are lots of online communities, filled with active and passionate people – exactly the sort of people TV would like to court, both as consumers and as providers of (cheap?) media content. However, most attempts by TV companies to engage and participate in the on-line culture have been pitiful. How is it that organisations …

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Options for developing mobile apps: PhoneGap, Palm Pre, etc.

Mobile application development is certainly a hot topic at the moment. People seem to be climbing over one another to produce iPhone apps, and Google’s Android is never far from the tech news. But there are also other players, and several want to enable a more familiar web development experience on mobile devices. SitePen Blog …

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A structured way to work with user stories

For someone steeped in the traditional idea of requirements and features, working with agile user stories is often hard to handle. I have invested a lot of time over recent months attempting to build a good understanding of what a user story is, and how it differs from a feature, a change or a requirement. …

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Who needs Flash? Having fun with Canvas and SVG

Ever since the dawn of the web, the lack of a symbolic graphics format has been a glaring omission. I’ve never been very comfortable with the only option being to step outside the browser and use a plugin such as Flash, Silverlight, or a Java applet. Now, eventually, it seems that support for, adoption of, …

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High-energy stand-up meetings

For a variety of reasons, this morning’s stand-up meeting was a bit of a lifeless affair. I can recall times in the (relatively recent) past when such meetings were an invigorating start to the day. Sarah Taraporewalla has some suggestions for adding a bit of energy to morning stand-up meetings. Sarah Taraporewalla’s Technical Ramblings » …

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Martin Fowler dislikes rules engines. I’m not so sure

There’s no doubt that a generic rules engine can sometimes be a solution in search of a problem. The work to implement and manage both the rules and their interfaces with external systems can often completely dwarf any work which might be needed to implement the same behaviour in a regular programming language. Martin Fowler …

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How to Write a Spelling Corrector

A while ago someone asked me for an estimate on adding “did you mean …” spelling correction to a search facility in some software. I replied with a bunch of hand-waving and weasel words about different approaches and the need for more detail on customer requirements and then ran away to lunch. Later, I spent …

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Managing large stories on agile projects, our approach

In theory, an agile story is a simple and obvious thing with many purposes. A description of some desired usage; a token for discussion; a prompt for acceptance tests; a grain around which to gather more detail. In practice, a story can sometimes be more like a traditional feature requirement, or more like a delivery …

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Monkey testing

I love this idea. Pseudo-random test cases to simulate mass usage by “realistic but sometimes thoughtless” users. Especially when augmented with audit trails so that failures can be easily repeated for fixing. DanNorth.net » Monkey business value This impatient monkey – dancingmango

Test-Driven Development of HTTP and REST interfaces with Mojasef

Test-Driven Development (TDD) of HTTP and REST interfaces can be tricky. This post contains some examples of how to do it using the open source Mojasef toolkit. I was prompted to write this post after recently finding and fixing an irritating bug using just this technique. First, let’s set the scene. In TDD the rules …

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5 Trends That Will Change Media in ’09

One of my areas of interest is sales and delivery of mobile content. Sometimes it feels like a dead market, but my opinion was enlivened by reading an article from Steve Rosenbaum which puts a distinctly positive spin on the whole area. Steve Rosenbaum: 5 Trends That Will Change Media in ’09 Maybe there are …

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The Correct Ratio of Agile Testers to Developers? It Depends.

A hot topic in software development circles at the moment is the interaction and demarcation between “developers” and “testers”. Development uses an agile approach but it’s sometimes hard to see how this sits with the testing folks, particularly as most stories seem to move snappily through development then pile up in testing. Sometimes it seems …

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Tactics, Strategy and SOA in the cloud – conflicting views

I’m in two minds about Service-Oriented-Architecture (SOA). On the one hand it seems obvious that future systems will need to inter-operate increasingly in order to gain business benefits without requiring complete software development projects. On the other hand, I am distinctly under-impressed by the current approaches to SOA, and even by the emphasis on services …

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More Cloud platforms: Hadoop, Eucalyptus, 10gen

A lot of the cloud computing hype is grabbed by Amazon and Google, but alongside those giants of the field there are a lot of smaller projects and organisations trying to push and grow cloud concepts. Here are a few which I have bumped into recently. Cloud platforms of the future: Hadoop and Eucalyptus | …

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Searching for the perfect project hosting

I’m still searching for decent project hosting. I now have several projects on the go, and several others bumping around in my head, and the fuss and bother of tying together all the various bits of a distributed software project development is making my head hurt. All the bits I need are available separately, but …

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Deliberate Practice and Talent is Overrated

I was very interested to read mark Needham’s thoughts on a book “Talent is Overrated”, in particular the aspect of deliberate practice. Talent is Overrated: Book Review at Mark Needham For me, participation in open source projects – particularly the ones I initiate myself – serves a very useful purpose as deliberate practice. While it …

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