Better Software Magazine Archive: Sep/Oct 1999

IN THIS ISSUE

Automating Testing
By Brian Marick

Brian Marick gives a simplified history of test automation tools and provides a list of test automation links.

An Effective Technique for Verifying Software Design
By Linda Hamm

While working at a telecommunications company, Linda Hamm had the task of developing and automating tests in a very short time with high-quality expectations. One of the projects was a rule-based expert system for switch maintenance. To help nail down the requirements, the group wrote state diagrams. This article is about what they are and how the group used them.

A Look at McCabe IQ: Metrics Analysis and Code Coverage
By Gedaliah Friedenberg

Gedaliah Friedenberg encourages developers and development managers to use the McCabe IQ tool to enhance their development process and deliver better software to QA.

Learning from Pathfinder's Bumpy Start
By Steve March

Steve March discusses problems experienced by the Mars Pathfinder. He imparts the following lessons: 1) design defensively in the face of complexity; 2) design defensively for post-shipment problems; and 3) beware of best cases.

My Summer as a Hacker
By Pete TerMaat

Pete TerMaat shares some valuable lessons learned from a summer with "hacking legend" Richard Stallman. He learned that attitude, passion for one's work, was most important. Reviews, coding standards, porting guidelines, bug hunting advice, and other measures can fall flat without a passion for clean code, for "getting things right."

Techniques for Recruiting and Retaining Testers
By Jack Cook

Are you challenged with having to hire people when your budget is limited, time constraints are tight, and the testing effort is overwhelming? Many of us have faced these situations. In this article, Jack Cook shares some techniques that have proven effective in recruiting and retaining testers.

A Cautionary Tale
By Brian Marick

Technical Editor Brian Marick uses a fairy tale format to warn software professionals against using easy-to-acquire numbers in place of human judgment.

Lo-Fi GUI Design
By Luke Hohmann

This article takes you from “what happens before Lo-Fi Design” (understand the user) to storyboarding (with post-it notes), through final implementation. Other steps include window design (get out the scissors) and simulated execution. This thorough, step-by-step explanation of design method is supplemented with graphics and a usability sidebar.

Building Productivity Through Measurement
By Randy Numbers

Collecting and analyzing some simple measures on your application development project will provide a set of building blocks that can be used to manage your projects. This data will improve your success rate and reduce project development risk. Here are some simple measures that can improve your development efforts.

The Top 13 Mistakes In Load Testing Applications
By Mark D. Anderson

This is a no-holds-barred discussion of common load testing errors and consequences. Load testing can and should be done long before a system has a stable or complete user interface. One reason that people often schedule load testing as a final step in a test or development plan is the confusion linking load testing with functional testing.

Lessons in Test Automation
By Elfriede Dustin

Elfriede Dustin has worked on many projects at various companies where automated testing tools were introduced to a test program lifecycle for the first time. In reviewing these projects, she has accumulated a list of "Automated Testing Lessons Learned," taken from actual experiences and test engineer feedback. In this article, she will share examples of this feedback, hoping that this information will help you avoid some typical false starts and roadblocks.

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