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My rudimentary approach to software testing

I’m testing the new builds of LiteSpeed and Toad.  I’m not to the point where I’m using my L337 SQL skillz yet because I take a very basic ground-level approach to testing.

I go through an entire program and click on every menu item.

Everywhere that it lets me add something, I add it, and then I go back and edit that something to see if it looks the same as what I added.  Then I delete it.

That’s all.

Sounds simple, but it takes days, and it finds a surprising number of bugs.  You would not believe the number of things that cause a program to crash just by clicking on them.  I’ve done these tests with developers in the same room, and they say things like, “Why on earth would you click there?”  Well, because you put a button there, and somebody’s going to click it.  If it’s not supposed to be clicked, get it off the screen.

In a week or two, I’ll get to the point where I’m testing advanced concepts inside the software, but for now, it’s Click City.

The other benefit of this approach is that you learn just about every piece of the software, every nook and cranny.  In the case of Toad, it’s mind-blowing.  I thought it was just a SQL Server development tool, and I don’t believe in unitaskers, but oh no – this is one serious multitasker.  I can see many Toad-centric howto blog posts in my future.

Using BrightKite.com in Houston

BrightKite.com is location-based social networking: when you go somewhere, you send BrightKite a message to check in.  BrightKite then Twitters your location, and if any other BrightKite users check in nearby, you get an alert.

Russell Holliman got me my invite yesterday, and shortly after checking in this morning at Coffee Groundz, I got an alert that Jeremey Barrett checked in there too.  I emailed him, and lo and behold, I knew the guy!  We’d both been members of the old Houston Wireless.  We spent some time chatting.  I never would have even known he was in the same coffeeshop if I hadn’t signed up for BrightKite.  (And yes, I did look around the coffeeshop when I arrived, but I didn’t keep looking around constantly to see who walked in and out.)

If you’re in Houston and you want a BrightKite invite, and if you promise to actually check in when you run around, ping me and I’ll set you up.

Great SQL Server newsletter

When DBAs ask where to go for simple, straightforward SQL Server tips, I usually point them to SQL-Server-Performance.com.  That site puts out a fantastic daily newsletter with SQL notes, questions & answers, and general tips.

I’m not wild about daily email newsletters, but this one’s a gem.  It’s gotten even better since Peter Wardy started putting a personal editorial at the top of each issue.  Here’s the one from today:

“I was tasked to buy a mattress under blanket for a bed today and who would have thought that the process would be so complicated. I thought it would be as simple as choosing the correct size—king or queen. Little did I know that the decisions were endless; from summer and winter mattress protectors to underlay blankets with wool and magnetic touch zones and prices that ranged from $60 to over $800. When I think about the purchase decision of an under blanket it is very similar to an open source database.

When I went to the shop today all I wanted was an under blanket that would protect the mattress, keep me warm and provide some comfort. Whether that was a cotton one or a wool blend with a high pile did not worry me, I just wanted something that worked. When I choose a database it is the same as an under blanket, I want a database where I do not need to make decisions about which database engine I want to use. I want an engine that works no matter what my requirements rather than having to choose a different engine if I want transactions or a different engine again if I want Foreign Key constraints. I think one of the key benefits of SQL Server is that the behaviour is typically the same whether a single user is running Express Edition or a multinational corporation is running Enterprise Edition.” – Peter Wardy

The only things that would make this newsletter better are searchable online archives and an easier-to-find subscription link.  I can help out with that last one:

Subscribe to the SQL-Server-Performance.com Newsletter

Windows 2008 with Hyper-V on a Dell Latitude D830

Hyper-VMy new work laptop for Quest is a Dell Latitude D830 running Windows XP. I gave XP another shot, and after a day I’d switched back to my Macbook Pro. I needed to use some of the XP-only apps, so I virtualized the XP image, and set about turning the Dell into my mobile datacenter.

Windows 2008 Standard installs fine, but doesn’t have drivers for:

  • Video card – NVidia Quadro 140M – go to support.dell.com and download the Vista 64-bit drivers
  • Wireless network card – still working on this one
  • Bluetooth – don’t install the Dell Vista drivers for this.  It doesn’t work.  I don’t need it anyway, but just thought I’d try it.

Hyper-V works great so far.  It’s no replacement for VMware Workstation or VMware ESX/VI.  Had a few minor problems, but nothing big:

  • Can’t easily copy a VM.  Have to export it, then import it again, and you have to be careful about how you handle folder paths.
  • Can’t make templates.  VMware handles this with Virtual Center, and I’m hoping Microsoft will come out with a similar add-on product to make it easier to quickly scale out multiple servers.
  • There’s some network strangeness when you use a laptop with both a wired connection and a WiFi connection.  It’s not obvious how to get the VMs to switch back and forth between the two.  I’ll probably need to write up a guide on this once I get the wireless adapter working, because I haven’t seen anything about it online yet.  With VMware, you can put the wired and wireless adapters on the same virtual switch, and the changes are transparent to the guests (or as Windows calls them, partitions).
  • Windows 2008 doesn’t have iSCSI target support built in.  I’d love to have this so that I could have a little farm on here and quickly switch drives inside the OS’s, but no dice.  I’ve been looking at a couple of iSCSI target add-on software packages, but it’s not worth the $200-$300 price, especially when those licenses only support a few guests.

I’m loving Hyper-V so far, though.  It’s not as good as ESX, but it’s a heck of a strong product for a first version.

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