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Nightly Builds: A Tester's Early Warning System

We're all looking for an effective "Distant Early Warning" line of testing: a procedure that will minimize integration bugs, reduce the risk of low quality by allowing bugs to be caught early, make it easier to debug, and improve the visibility of the status of the system under test. One practice that meets those needs is the "nightly"—essentially a daily build and sanity test of the product.

Carla Oexmann's picture Carla Oexmann
A Look at PREfix by Intrinsa

PREfix provides a source code simulation tool that is able to perform automatic review for a wide range of programming defects that lead to program crashes. Defects reported by PREfix include de-referencing NULL pointers, using uninitialized memory, leaking memory or resources, or using illegal values. Here is an analysis of the product.

Rodney Wilson's picture Rodney Wilson
A Study in Failures

Examples of mistakes, manifestations, and problems help us understand all parts of the software. Brian Marick suggests Web resources that examine software failures.

Brian Marick's picture Brian Marick
Getting the Most Out of Conferences

Will the benefits of attending, learning, and networking at a conference outweigh the costs of travel, time, and energy? Here are some tips on how to get the most out of conferences.

Alyn Wambeke's picture Alyn Wambeke
Walking the Fine Line between Helpful and Harmful

Jeff Johnson examines user interface problems caused by designers trying to rearrange users' data. He gives examples of software that is too helpful, and concludes that software should support users in their management of displays without managing the displays for them.

Jeff Johnson's picture Jeff Johnson
A Look at Mercury's TestDirector 7i

Arne Henne looks at HP (Mercury Interactive) TestDirector and concludes that this test management tool improves the effectiveness of testing in almost any environment. It incorporates all aspects of the testing--requirements management, planning, scheduling, running tests, defect tracking--into a single browser-based application.

Arne Henne's picture Arne Henne
What Do They Pay You to Do?

Don't assume that because you have a title or a job description that you can take either one as literal truth. Do you really know what your company pays you to do? Understanding why you were hired can help you assess whether your company's expectations are a match with the personal mission that motivates you.

Johanna Rothman's picture Johanna Rothman
Facing Up to the Truth

Technical Editor Esther Derby uses examples to show that our ability to "face the truth" and take effective action rests on the ability to be in a mental state where our emotions and fears aren't in control.

Esther Derby's picture Esther Derby
Reference Point

Danny Faught recommends Testing Applications on the Web: Test Planning for Internet-Based Systems by Hung Q. Nguyen. Faught concludes: "This book does not attempt to be a general reference on software testing. What it provides, instead, is domain-specific information that helps the reader plan for testing a Web-based application. Its clear illustrations of important Web testing approaches and its extensive checklists give testers detailed suggestions for their testing, based on real Web development experiences."

Danny R. Faught's picture Danny R. Faught
The Two Bugs

Brian Marick applies the philosophical concept of "ready-to-hand" to software programming and describes two bugs that illustrate problems caused by mismatched reuse of ideas.

Brian Marick's picture Brian Marick


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