Better Software Magazine Archive:

Mar/April 2002


What a Tangled Web
By Linda Hayes

Web applications provide platforms so wide open that they defy the very structure and predictability that make test automation feasible. Object names are optional, can be duplicated, and may change at a moment's notice. Page layouts can change between and within builds. This wicked combination makes test automation even more difficult, if not downright impossible. Linda Hayes explains the importance of unique, consistent object names in Web development.

Is There Light at the End of the Tunnel?
By Stefan P. Jaskiel

Losing your job is never easy, but the way you handle the experience has a direct impact on the results that you'll be able to achieve. Being laid off can make you question your abilities, but you have to roll with the punches, and enjoy your time off while you're looking for the next opportunity.

A Look at a Test Data Generator
By Pat McGee

When Pat McGee couldn't find the right tool for the job, he and his team wrote one in Visual Basic for Applications for Microsoft Excel. They used Excel for all the data entry and calculations. Several groups in the project ended up using the tool–including testers, developers, and database administrators. Read how they did it.

Hidden Risks in Web Code
By Rich Brauchle

A look at the HTML source code behind Web sites can often reveal security issues that would never be uncovered by those blissfully ignorant of the code. This bug report will examine two common methods of maintaining state and passing data in Web-based systems–hidden form fields and the HTTP GET method–and demonstrate some of the associated security risks through an examination of HTML code.

Ken Schwaber on Agile Processes
By Ken Schwaber

Agile processes are founded on an empirical model of process control theory, and they deliver value iteratively and incrementally. Customers and development teams collaborate to wrest the greatest value from advanced technologies and emerging requirements, which practitioners call "value-driven" software development. Here, the developer of the agile process Scrum gives his recommendations for sources on agile processes.

Tinkerable Software
By Brian Marick

In what ways should software be like a house? In a recent issue of STQE magazine, Technical Editor Brian Marick’s musings about the concept of “tinkerable software” generated some interesting discussion about the very nature of software design. This week’s column runs a portion of that piece so that our Sticky-minded readers can sink their thoughts into the concept.

Telling It Like It Is: Test Status Reports as Tools for Change
By Pete TerMaat

Producing regular test status reports makes your progress—and problems—visible to those outside your group. Here's how spending a couple of hours a week on gathering and reporting results can be crucial to your software development team's success.

Use Cases, Ten Years Later
By Alistair Cockburn

Use cases have experienced a long and sometimes rocky history. Look back on the evolution of use cases to better understand how to use them today.

Release Criteria: Is This Software Done?
By Johanna Rothman

For any project, the big question is: "Is this software ready to release yet?" Explore how to answer that question with confidence, by learning how to define success and how to gain consensus on release criteria.

Karl Wiegers on Humanizing Peer Reviews
By Karl E. Wiegers

How serious are you about the quality of your work? Learn how to set aside egos and start benefiting from the experience and perspective of your colleagues.

A Lesson in Scripting: Improve Your Testing with Programming Skills
By Danny R. Faught

You can write simple programs to help with your daily testing tasks using Perl or other scripting languages. Here's a primer on scripting languages and programming skills for testers.

Gathering Users for Great Requirements
By Kelley Schmidt

If you buy a hammer, you are not considered a master carpenter automatically. The same holds true for tool knowledge alone solving requirements problems. Kelley Schmidt shares the biggest lesson she learned on a project: commercial process and tools alone cannot lead to project success.

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