Posted by admin on Oct 22, 2010 in code
Again this is another note to myself, however it may be useful to others.
Yesterday I was attempting to run a Ruby script to check for ASP .Net Padding Oracle problems on a site and I got the following issue.
undefined method `lines’ for #<String:0x240d448>
I had looked at the Ruby Source code and all looked ok however there was still the issue when running the script.
It turns out that in Ruby Versions prior to Ruby 1.8.7 String doesn’t have a lines method and hence the error received. I was running Ruby 1.8.5
So the fix was a simple upgrade to the latest version of Ruby and then to run the script again and voilla the error is no more an issue.
Hope the above tip helps, if your receiving the same error.
Posted by admin on Oct 4, 2010 in code
Visual Studio 2005
Yesterday I brought into work an application that I had developed at home. The application was written in VB.Net using Visual Studio 2008.
My work Development environment is Visual Studio 2005 and I needed to update the source code so I tried to load up the solution file and I received the error “The Selected file cannot be opened as a solution or project. Please select a solution file or project file “.
I know from past experience that .sln (solution) files are just text files with references to other code and the development environment.
So if you ever receive the above message and your moving code from Visual Studio 2008 to 2005 then load the sln file in a decent text editor (Notepad ++ will do)
change the top to lines from
Microsoft Visual Studio Solution File, Format Version 10.00
# Visual Studio 2008
Microsoft Visual Studio Solution File, Format Version 9.00
# Visual Studio 2005
save the solution file and now open it in your 2005 development environment.
You may have to refactor some code if you have used new objects or syntax which are new to 2008.
However you should be able to to just code as normal.
Posted by admin on Jul 22, 2010 in Interviews
Landing a Dream Job
I’ve recently been interviewing for a Lead Tester to join my Team and I’ve been a little dismayed about how unprepared some of the candidates are for interviews be they telephone interviews or face-to-face interviews.
So I’ve decided to put together a few little hints and tips to hopefully help candidates in the job market land their dream job.
- Firstly make sure you customise your CV for each job you apply for. Never send a generic CV to a company and expect it to be good enough. Look through the job specification and list of requirements and tailor your CV to match what they are looking for. Go through your past roles and pick out the parts of the role that matches what you think match the Job Specification.
- Now lets take a look at the cover letter. They do have a bearing on if you will get noticed and virtually all potential employers will look at your cover letter before they look at the CV so make it count. It needs to be about you on a personal level as the CV will tell them all they need to know on a professional level. Hopefully you’ll be like myself and have a real passion for testing if that’s the case then you need to make sure that it comes across in the cover letter.
- Do your homework on the person who you be looking at your details and also the department where you would like to work for. Doing your homework on the company alone is not enough. Anyone can visit the company website and read the blurb however you need the edge so research as much as possible and then use all of that research to let them know you’ve taken the time and effort to find out more than the average Joe about what they do.
- If the Company in question has a Careers or Job offers page or sub site then make sure you register and upload your details before sending in your CV. Not only does it show your interested, it will also show them that your serious about working for them and you are not just sending in your details to every company that comes along.
- If you go to a Careers Fair make sure you have your customises CV with you. It should be no more than 1 page of A-4 you may use both sides if you must however try and bullet point to one side. This CV version is just for the company staff member or Test Manager to see if they think they would like to know more.
- At a careers fair tell them about you and not about your CV they can read the CV however what your CV will not say is what type of person you are and what things excite you.
- Make your CV results oriented. It will mean more if you state I did this and the positive result for the business was this, over I this this.
- Please show some emotion. You may not believe it, but it’s hard work interviewing all day. It makes it much easier on the both sides if the interviewer can see that the interviewee is excited about coming to work for their company.
- Remember not to be so nervous, I always tell interviewees that an interview is a two way process and that they should be interviewing us to see if we match up to their ideals as well as us interviewing them to see if I think that they would be a good fit into my Testing Team.
- Keep a note of who you have applied to and if you had a Telephone interview then during the conversation make sure you note down any keyword which you think may be relevant. You can relate these back to the interviewers in a face to face interview.
- Look into Forer Effect Statements / NLP / Confirmation Bias and Subjective Statements. However before you attempt to use any of these techniques make sure you know what your doing as they can work against you if you do not know how to use them correctly. Once mastered you’ll find them indispensable not only in interviews, they can help out also in every day business.
- Look for yourself in a Search Engine and make sure that what you find is suitable. This means that if a potential employer Googled you, would they get a positive result or not?.
- Salery Negotiation – Make sure you know how much it would take for you to leave the place you are currently working and if asked never answer with an “Urmmm” or “I’m looking for something around” . Let them know how much you would like and have a reason why you think that you are worth that amount.
- The most import and last one is BE HONEST.
Posted by admin on Jul 20, 2010 in code
How to fix the-selected-file-was-generated-by-mysqldump-and-cannot-be-restored-by-this-application error.
This post is here more of a reminder to myself. However I’m hoping that others will find it useful also.
I was testing out a piece of code which needed a new MYSQL InnoDB restored.
I had a slight issue ad when I attempted to restore the DB via the MySQL Administrator tool I got the following error message.
“The selected file was generated by mysqldump and cannot be restored by this application.”
This error is given usually when the Backup was taken via a batch job (or just a user who is using the command line).
Because of this the only way to restore the DB is again via the command line.
So carry out the following steps.
Firstly make sure that your .SQL backup file has the Database at the top
so it should read
find the MySQL.exe file, (this will usually be stored in the installation bin folder)
then run the following using the command line.
C:\Program Files\MySQL\MySQL Server 5.0\bin>mysql.exe -uusername -ppassword < “C:\DB Backups\nameofbackupfile.sql”
The -uusername should be something like -uroot
and the -ppassword should be something like -psecret
Hope it helps.
Posted by admin on Jul 5, 2010 in code
Visual Studio Webtest Logo
I use Visual Studio Team Testers Edition everyday at work and one of the things that seemed really strange to me was that Microsoft had missed so many tricks when they decided to release it.
Maybe they just decided to build in reasons for users to upgrade, knowing that there will always be another version of VSTS around the corner.
One of the things which is sorely missing is the ability to verify HTML source code against a datasource. Sure you can load a data source and then verify what is returned on the page when that row of the data-source is called however there is no functionality to check that the value of the row that you have submitted is returned somewhere in the HTML source (known as the response in VSTS).
So as per usual when you need something doing then, do it yourself, and hence I wrote a small piece of code that looks at the source code and then checks the value of the datasource row to make sure that the item you are submitting is returned in the HTML response.
All the data is dynamic from your source so you can’t just hard code validation rules, as there could be thousands of rows.
For an example take a Google search test. Imagine I want to check that my datasource of 10,000 records is retuned on every response.
So if I search for “System Testers” as a parameter value
“Parameter Name = q” and
“Parameter Value = Google DataSource.Directory_03062010#csv.SearchParams”
In the above QueryString Parameter you can see
the Datasource is called “Google DataSource”
the Actual FileName is “Directory_03062010″ (and it’s a CSV file)
the Column name is SearchParams
I’ve commented my code to make it easier to understand however if you need any help just ask.
‘Author = Martin Hall
‘Purpose = To load text from a DataSource and then to compare that text
‘ against the source code on the page your testing.
‘Date = 07th June 2010
Public Class RegressionAllHeadingLocationsRule
‘ Specify a name for use in the user interface.
‘ The user sees this name in the Add Validation dialog box.
Public Overrides ReadOnly Property RuleName() As String
‘ Specify a description for use in the user interface.
‘ The user sees this description in the Add Validation dialog box.
Public Overrides ReadOnly Property RuleDescription() As String
Return “This should Compare text from a datasource parameter in a CSV file against the page sourcecode.”
‘ The name of the expected string
Private ExpectedStringValue As String
Public Property ExpectedString() As String
Set(ByVal value As String)
ExpectedStringValue = value
‘ Validate is called with the test case Context and the request context.
‘ These allow the rule to examine both the request and the response.
Public Overrides Sub Validate(ByVal sender As Object, ByVal e As ValidationEventArgs)
Dim result2 As String
‘we only want request2 to match the source code on the returned web page.
‘the SourceCode could be different on the other pages.
result2 = (e.WebTest.Context(“Google DataSource.Directory_03062010#csv.SearchParams”).ToString())
‘This should check the response for text
‘The text in question is the ParamValue we are supplying as new fake
‘parameter name and value
If e.Response.BodyString.ToLower.Contains(result2) = False Then
e.IsValid = False
e.Message = (“fail – - “) & result2
If e.Response.BodyString.ToLower.Contains(result2) Then
e.IsValid = True
e.Message = (“pass – - “) & result2
Catch ex As Exception
The above script is in Visual Basic.Net and it should work for you and if you need any help in how to install and run it then either send an email or reply in the comments.
One last thing to mention is that the values from the data source are loaded in a fake Parameter Name (Just make one up) which will be ignored by the Website however it will show as a Context Name in the Visual Studio Web Test, so we are really just comparing two Context Names
Posted by admin on Jun 2, 2010 in Testing
Why we need testers
As I promised in my last blog post, here is the presentation that I gave a couple of years back on why we need testers in development teams.
please note that everything about this presentation is rough as it was never meant to be publicly shown or distributed, it was created for a small in-house audience.
I’ve posted the headline text for the slide-show in this blog post and then link to the powerpoint file below. You’ll have to fluff out the main text as it’s only main headlines so I knew what text was coming for which slide.
DOWNLOAD THE POWERPOINT PRESENTATION
If you wish to make a similar presentation in the future you’ll have the slide-show above and the headline text below to refer to.
Text for the Slide-Show =
QA – Why we need Testing and Testers
2) Jigsaw story or why developers shouldn’t test
3) What is Quality and how to measure it?
Well we sometimes take quality to be subjective and we expect that others will know what we mean when we say that a product has quality.
But in an example of an car one user may say that the car has quality because of leather seats and air con – yet another may think otherwise and base the quality upon the engine specifications etc. However quality can universally be measured by the way a product meets its specifications.
If a finished product meets its design specs 100% then it can be argued that it is a quality product as it has been built exactly the way it was supposed to be built.
4) BAD CODE = Creating poorly written code
Even after decades of advancement the software industry, the quality of software produced remains one of the biggest problems. This coding bad practice started mainly during the dot com boom as new start ups rushed to produce a working example of the “next big thing”, Even in today’s market we have a large focus on “time to market”, not only this but also the sheer growth and volume of software being developed, and the amount of amalgamated new technologies to absorb, it really is no surprise that software development houses still continue to face quality problems. There are two main sides to these quality problems: high defect rates and lack of code maintainability.
5) ROI – Return on Investment
Speeding up Development time and less cost.
Almost every organisation in the world be they schools – governments or Nasdaq/FTSE100’s rely on software to help them with their daily processes. A vast majority will depend upon the software industry for product development, production, marketing, support, and services.
Spending on software development is very costly but there is a great way to partly reduce that cost and that it efficient testing processes. For example if there is going to be more that 3 iterations of software then it will usually be financially viable to start an automated regression testing process.
Better company image.
There can be nothing worse than using a piece of software and it crashing in front of a user. Especially if it does it in a messy way (losing data etc.)
Imagine buying a piece of software and having it fall over constantly because you put an apostrophe in a name field (O’Donnell for instance). This type of thing will happen on badly coded systems with SQL back ends (SQL Injection).
But with through testing the system should never fall over in front of the user and if it ever does the error should be captured and the user given a helpful message. With wide spread use of the internet its also possible to have automated bug reporting built into programs so that they not only provide the user a decent message and close correctly but they will also automatically report the bug to the software house with a small process tree list and provide the user with a defect ID.
This goes back to the car and idea of a quality product. If it does what it says on the tin then it should be OK.
But of course we can’t just test using this “on the tin” approach we have to try and break our product by first doing what it says “on the tin” (the design specifications) and then by doing everything else (lookup equivalence partitioning).
This can include buffer overflows. Out of range integers – non syntax types – e.g. text in a date field etc.
6) But I said we need testers before I mentioned automated tools so can’t we use these test monkeys find these bugs?
Well the answer is NO –
Bugs are found during manual testing based on a testers desire to deliver quality product. Verification is conducted while the testers are operating the applications and comparing the actual results with the results they expect. However, some bugs are still not detected with manual testing. Therefore, it is desirable to automate as many of the manual testing tasks as possible.
But these automated tools lack the common senses of a human being. Manual testers are still needed to test the high-risk areas of the products.
Test monkeys however do have a purpose and are often used in addition to human tests. Test monkeys are automated tools. Their testing actions are randomly performed without a user’s bias.
Benefits of them can be
1) They will run and run until they crash a system (fuzzing being my favourite kind)
2) They can be put on an old or slow system
3) They don’t get bored or care if they GUI has changed. (they can run test scenarios for days on end non-stop)
4) Microsoft said that 20% of all its defects found were by using monkeys.
Not all automated tools are dumb monkeys in fact the majority of tools used are partly AI based.
7) The Perfect tester
What makes the perfect tester? In my opinion it’s the same hacker mentality of Steve Jobs, Steve Wokniak, Bill Klaxton and Bill Gates the old school hackers who helped to create the systems we use. They took a look at what systems existed (virtually everything back then was IBM or listed as IBM compatible) and wanted to change those systems by making them better.
It’s wanting to know how something works and wanting to see if you can beat it.
This beating it for me is finding a bug.
If any of the above is used in any presentations then I’d love to see/read your take on why software needs testers.
Posted by admin on Jun 1, 2010 in productivity
The Testing Jigsaw
A couple of years ago I was asked to present a talk at a testing conference.
I did a whole presentation that I will post up to the blog in a week or two. The one part of the presentation that seemed to grab everyone’s attention was a story I told about the Developer / Testing Jigsaw.
I think the reason it was so widely accepted was because its given in the form of a story, and we all like a story right?
So if your all sitting comfortably then I’ll begin.
There was once a small boy and his father sitting down together one Sunday afternoon. The father said to his son I have a small surprise for you. I’ve made you a little jigsaw puzzle, its of a tree with grass and sky as the background. Wow, said the little boy as his face lit up, can we do the jigsaw now please?.
Of course said the dad.
So the dad tipped out all of the pieces onto the mat and begun attempting to put the jigsaw together. The son asked his dad if he could help by looking at the picture on the box and advising his father on where he thought the pieces were meant to go.
However his father said “no need – I created this puzzle so I know exactly how it should go together”.
The father struggled on for another 3 hours and wasn’t really any closer to getting the puzzle finished. He then got in a mood and said that he gives up and some pieces must have got lost.
The son then took over and compared each piece to the box making sure that he was putting the pieces where they were meant to go. He did the smart thing first by putting all of the corner pieces where he thought they should go. He looked at the box once more and thought to himself that blue is the sky, the green is the grass and the brown is the tree. So he separated the coloured pieces in 3 piles
He eventually finished the puzzle in about 45 minutes.
There is an obvious key to what is happening above in this story.
The Son is the Tester
The box is the Functionality Specification Document.
The Dad is the Developer.
The jigsaw is the piece of software that has been developed
Yes developers can test code, in fact I encourage it (peer reviews of other developers code and Unit tests), however they should not be the sole testers of code, especially if the code is written by them. Going down that route is a recipe for disaster.
The son who had never seen the jigsaw before managed to finish it in a faster time than his father and also in a more methodical manner.
Testing is a mindset. It’s an art that I, and many others spend every day attempting to perfect. Developers spend most of their day writing code, (also testing their code – Unit tests etc.)
I’m all for test driven development, however lets not forget that with specialisation comes speed and efficiency savings.
Posted by admin on May 10, 2010 in code
This little piece of MySQL Code I wrote a month or so ago.
I had a defect and was trying to provide some decent feedback to the developer on Test-Track (our defect logging system).
I knew that the defect was in a stored procedure and to attempt to run profiler in Mysql can be a bit of a pain so I figured that I’d work out a way to search in every Stroed Proc for the bit of code causing the error.
I knew that the error was caused by the peice of code calling “Videos”.
I looked around on the net but I couldn’t find anything that suited. I did find one other piece of sample code but I found that that only search inside the first 256 chars of the Stored Procedure and I needed something that would search inside the whole of the procedure no matter how long it was.
Once again it’s a nice and simple piece of code.
– Author : Martin Hall
– Date 09th April 2010
– Search for Text inside a MySQL Stored Proc
– MYSQL Version
– See the Like Query for an example of Use.
SELECT * FROM INFORMATION_SCHEMA.ROUTINES
WHERE ROUTINE_DEFINITION LIKE “%video%”
Order by Routine_Name;
Hope you find it useful.
any issues then let me know.
Posted by admin on Apr 12, 2010 in code
You may remember that about three weeks ago I posted a handy script to search for the names of Tables and Columns in a Microsoft SQL database.
Well now today it’s the turn of MySql.
Just a nice and simple script as before however this time there are two seperate scripts one for tables and one for columns names.
– Author : Martin Hall
– Date 09th April 2010
– Search Table or Column for text
– MYSQL Version
– Top query for Table Names and bottom query for column names
SELECT * FROM INFORMATION_SCHEMA.COLUMNS
WHERE TABLE_NAME like ‘%users%’
Order by table_name asc;
SELECT * FROM INFORMATION_SCHEMA.COLUMNS
WHERE Column_NAME like ‘%video%’
Order by column_name asc;
Posted by admin on Mar 30, 2010 in code
OK so just like the post below about searching for columns or table names. This post is all about how to search inside Stored Procedures for strings / text.
This can be really useful especially if you know a piece of code is called but your not sure which stored proc calls it.
As before we are going to use the ‘users’ string to keep consistency.
I had searched high and low for this code on the internet but couldn’t find anything. All of the examples I found only searched in the first 255 characters of stored procedure which is OK if its a declaration your looking for however not too good if your stored proc has unions and has declarations half way down the procedure. So I decided to write my own.
Anyway on with the script. (really nice and simple)
– Author : Martin Hall
– Date 17th February 2010
– Search Stored Procedures for Text. (see Definition like)
WHERE OBJECT_DEFINITION(object_id) LIKE ‘%users%’
Hope you Enjoy