Tuesday, July 02, 2002

Update. I am still behind on final release of the content in our sister weblog, Postcards from the Revolution. I should have it up to date and released within the next day. I appreciate your patience.

Issues. That word has multiple meanings in this context. One meaning is that we have all been obviously busy these past six weeks, which means that we've been dealing with a plethora of issues, with more to come. Another meaning is that new issues of two of my favorite magazines are out.

The magazine that I most look forward to is CrossTalk, The Journal of Defense Software Engineering. Since we've been so far behind I failed to report on the past two issues - a situation I am going to rectify now:

Each of these issues contain other articles outside of the main themes, and both are well worth reading. The full list of back issues between 1994 and present are worth bookmarking.

The other magazine I make sure I read as soon as it comes out is The Data Administration Newsletter. In the most recent issue, Issue 21.0 - 3rd Quarter 2002, you'll find a fresh set of papers and articles, and the insightful feature columns that are written by genuine industry experts.

Also noteworthy are the following new issues of newsletters that I read:

Yes, I do a lot of reading. Until tomorrow, enjoy these resources and have a wonderful day.

Monday, July 01, 2002

Magic? Mystery? Why have five weeks worth of entries suddenly appeared? Answer:we've been adding the content, but didn't release it until a few minutes ago. Among the reasons for this are work, my trips to Florida and Texas, and Linda's busy schedule which includes frantic preparations for her OCP examination and a plethora of other issues.

Appreciation. One gentle voice who encouraged us to release the backlog of entries is Nikhil Joshi of Pune, India. Thank you for your support and encouragement Nikhil, and rest assured that we will try to not get so far behind again.

But ... The content for Postcards from the Revolution is going to take an additional day before we're ready to release it. Please be patient.

Quality and Testing. Rarely do I stray far from these topics, and the reason I am back in this entry is to share an excellent book titled Software Quality and Software Testing in Internet Times.

This book is a collection of papers that address the full spectrum of testing issues and challenges in rapid development/rapid deployment environments. Although the title implies that this book is about quality and testing of web applications, many of the papers go well beyond that narrow scope.

The papers are divided into five categories:

  1. Managing for Optimal Time to Market. This categories contains an obligatory paper on high-speed web testing, which does address the key challenges. However, two of the papers are exceptional: Using QA for Risk Management in Web Projects drives home the relationship between QA and project risk, and Establishing Quality Procedures for Incremental Software Development is essential reading for anyone who needs to integrate testing into methodologies such as the Rational Unified Process or any other incremental/rapid development approach.
  2. Processes. This section of the book has papers covering topics ranging from how to use Extreme Programming to manage project risks to adapting test processes to web applications. In many respects the papers in this section capture the essence of the book's theme.
  3. Testing from the User's Perspective. This is my favorite section, especially the papers on business oriented testing for e-commerce and the paper titled "Strategic Testing: Focus on the Business". All of the material here reinforces my own experience and observations, and clearly shows the relationships among meeting business requirements, quality and project success.
  4. Technical Testing. Test professionals will get the most from this section because it provides techniques. My favorite is "Securing E-Business" because this important aspect of testing is usually given superficial treatment (if it's covered at all) in most testing books. Another paper I liked in this section is "The Back-End Side of Web Testing: Integration of Legacy Systems", which is applicable to enterprise application integration and e-business system testing. In addition to papers on testing techniques, other aspects of quality are covered in this section, such as performance monitoring (more aligned to capacity planning and performance management than testing, but certainly applicable to quality and service level management).
  5. Test Automation Techniques and Tools contains a single paper titled "Automated Testing of mySAP Business Processes". If you're involved in web-enabled ERP or portal quality this paper is a treasure.
Although this book is an anthology, the topics and editing make it coherent and focused. It is not a book that covers quality or testing as a unified methodology. If you're seeking such a book read Quality Web Systems: Performance, Security, and Usability by Elfriede Dustin, Jeff Rashka and Douglas McDiarmid does go into details and is one of the best books on end-to-end web systems quality.

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