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Showing posts from January, 2008

How modern Web design is conducted

Via the 40. (with egg) blog, a time breakdown on how Web design is conducted in our day and time. Hmmm...maybe there's room for allocating some slice of that pie to testing, using Firebug for example. UPDATE: I meant debugging with Firebug and testing with twill and Selenium of course :-)

Checklist automation and testing

This is a follow-up to my previous post on writing automated tests for sysadmin-related checklists. That post seems to have struck a chord, judging by the comments it generated.

Here's the scenario I'm thinking about: you need to deploy a standardized set of packages and configurations to a bunch of servers. You put together a checklist detailing the steps you need to take on each server -- kickstart the box, run some post-install scripts, do some configuration customization, etc. At this point, you're already ahead of the game, and you're not relying solely on human memory. However, if you rely on a human being going manually through each step of the checklist on each server, you're in for some surprises in the guise of missed steps. The answer of course is to automate as many steps as you can, ideally all of them.

Now we're getting to the main point of my post: assuming you did automate all the steps of the checklist, and you ran your scripts on each server, do…

Stay away from the AT&T Tilt phone

Why? Because it's extremely fragile. I got one a couple of weeks ago (sponsored by my company, otherwise I wouldn't have shelled out $399) and after just 2 days I found the screen cracked in 2 places. It's true I carried it in my jacket's pocket while driving, and it probably jammed against my leg or something, but I've done that with other phones and didn't have this issue.

Of course, calls to the store, AT&T warranty and the manufacturer were all fruitless. The store won't accept it back because it's not in 'like new' state, and AT&T's warranty doesn't cover cracks in the screen. My best option at this point is to send it to the manufacturer for repairs, which will run me another $190. For now, I'm just using it as is, but I just want to tell whoever bothers to read this that I'm not happy -- not with the Tilt, and not with AT&T's customer service. There. Take that, AT&T.

Joel on checklists

Another entertaining blog post from Joel Spolsky, this time on some issues they had with servers and networking equipment hosted at a data center in Manhattan. It all comes down to a network switch which had its ports configured to automatically negotiate their speed. As a result, one port was misbehaving and brough their whole web site down. The conclusion reached by Joel and his sysadmin team: we need documentation, we need checklists. I concur, but as I said in a recent post, this is still not enough. Human beings are notoriously prone to skipping tests on checklists. What Joel and his team really need are AUTOMATED TESTS that run periodically and check every single thing on those checklists. You can easily automate the step which verifies that a port on the switch is set to 100 Mbps or 1 Gbps; you can either use SNMP, or some expect-like script.

In fact, at my own company I'm developing a pretty extensive automated test suite (written in Python of course, and using nose) that v…

MySQL has been assimilated

...by Sun, for $1 billion. Bummer. I shudder whenever I see companies at the forefront of Open Source being gobbled up by giants such as Sun. I still don't know what Sun's Open Source strategy is -- they've been going back and forth with their support for Linux, and they seem to be pushing Open Solaris pretty heavily these days, although I personally don't know anybody in the OSS community who is using Open Solaris. UPDATE: Tim O'Reilly thinks this is a great fit for both Sun and MySQL, and says that "Sun has staked its future on open source, releasing its formerly proprietary crown jewels, including Solaris, Java, and the Ultra-Sparc processor design." Hmmm...maybe, but Sun has always struck me as being bent on world domination, just as bad as Microsoft.

Update 01/18/08: Here's a really good recap on the MySQL acquisition at InfoQ. Most people express a warm fuzzy feeling about this whole thing. I hope my apprehensions are unfounded.

In other acquisiti…

Looking to hire a MySQL DBA

If you're based in the Los Angeles area and are looking for a job as a MySQL DBA, send me an email at grig at gheorghiu dot net. RIS Technology, the Web hosting company I'm working for, is looking for somebody to administer MySQL databases -- things such as database design, replication, data migration, SQL query analysis and optimization. The position can be either contract-based or full time. Experience with PostgreSQL is a plus. Experience with Python is a huge plus :-)

Testing Tutorial accepted at PyCon08

"Practical Applications of Agile (Web) Testing Tools", the tutorial that Titus and I proposed to the PyCon08 organizers, has been accepted -- cool! Should be a lot of fun. The list of accepted tutorials looks really good.

Here's the summary of our tutorial

Practical Applications of Agile (Web) Testing Tools
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Have Web site? Need testing? Bring your tired (code), huddled (unit
tests), and cranky AJAX to us; we'll help you come up with tactics,
techniques, and infrastructure to help solve your problems. This
includes integration with a unit test runner (nose); use of coverage
analysis (figleaf); straight HTTP driver Web testing (twill); Web
recording, examination, and playback (scotch); Selenium and Selenium
RC test script development; and continuous integration (buildbot).
We will focus on techniques for automating your Web testing for quick
turnaround, i.e. "agile" test automation.If you have an application that need…

10 technologies that will change your future

...according to an article in the Sydney Morning Herald (found via the O'Reilly Radar). Personally, I just want a chumby.

What's with the rants?

Some stars may have been aligned in a particularly nasty way on December 31, 2007, which might explain some rants that were published on various blogs. One of them at least has the quality of being humorous in a scatological sort of way: 'Rails is a Ghetto' by Zed Shaw, the creator of Mongrel -- although I'm fairly sure it doesn't seem humorous to the people he names in his post; and BTW, make sure there are no kids around when you read that post. I'd like to meet Zed one day, he's an interesting character who sure wears his heart on his sleeve.

I didn't find much humor though in James Bennett's rant against a blog post written by Noah Gift. I did find many gratuitous insults and uncalled for name-calling. As somebody said already -- chill, James! The comments on James's post are also revealing in their variety. Good thing the Python community also contains people like Ian Bicking who are trying to inject some civility and sanity into this.

For the re…