Top Testing Tweets Of The Week! #softwaretesting

To usher in the much-anticipated weekend, here’s a fun Friday post containing the wittiest testing tweets of the week from the top testing minds around. Enjoy!

@michaelbolton — “Like exploratory testing, Agile isn’t a thing you do; it’s a way to think and work. A means to an end, not an end in itself.” 

@lanettecream — “I’ve noticed that the longer I practice agile, the less tolerance I have for my own hoarding. Agile: not keeping sh*t in case.”

@zspencer — “OH: Definately not. If they run, they might fail. We don’t want to fail.” Context: asked to run the tests :).”

@sbarber — “Advancements” in software testing often degenerate into “tired cage matches” between old- and older-school? When do we get a *new* school?”

@qahatesyou — “Actually, I’m not in a particular school of testing. I got expelled from them all.”

@FionaCCharles — “Softwaretesting isn’t a service. Software development is a service. Testing is integral to the collaborative process of sw development.”

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Get Ready To Taste, I Mean Test, Ice Cream Sandwich

I’m talking about the Android Ice Cream Sandwich (ICS) – the fourth major Android OS version – which is growing closer to its release! Google is urging developers and testers alike to get ready for it, so consider yourselves forewarned. For now, what’s most important is to make sure your apps work on large screens AND small screens as this “cool” release is going to run on both tablets and smartphones.

According to CNET:

“Developers who created their apps specifically to run on Honeycomb-based tablets will need to tweak their APKs (Android packages) to either prevent or support their installation on smaller-screen devices.

The [Google Android developers] blog also offered some recommendations for tablet app developers on how to ensure that their design of the Action Bar widget works on smaller handsets.”

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uTest Goes BIG at TechCrunch Disrupt

As you may have read on Monday’s blog post, uTest launched a new informational campaign to promote http://www.inthewildtesting.com.   The web site – and associated social media channels, including a Twitter profile – are intended to educate forward-thinking technology leaders about the necessity, benefits and real use cases of in-the-wild testing. 

We decided to launch it at TechCrunch Disrupt in San Francisco because the very concept of in-the-wild software testing (versus traditional methodologies) is, well…disruptive. 

Sure enough, TechCrunch Disrupt turned out to be the perfect event!  There were more than 2,600 innovative, entrepreneurial-minded techies, investors and exhibitors (35% more attendees than expected) filling the halls of the Design Concourse Center from Monday to Wednesday.  In its usual fashion, the conference itself attracted top industry-leaders such as Reid Hoffman of LinkedIn, Marissa Mayer of Google, Vinod Khosla, and even Ashton Kutcher.

uTest hosted a ton of terrific activities over the course of the event:

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Steve Jobs’ Advice for Software Testers

Actually, in this 2005 commencement speech for Stanford University, Steve Jobs offers timeless advice for people in all professions. But seeing how this is a software testing blog – and seeing how Jobs has recently stepped down as Apple’s CEO – it seemed fitting to post these words of wisdom with our testing audience in mind.

My favorite quote from this speech: “The only way to do great work, is to love the work that you do.”

Happy testing!

uTest & Veracode Join Forces To Protect Against Security Breaches

Every few weeks, it seems like there’s another major security breach to the website, gaming system or native app of a big global brand.  And that doesn’t even include the hundreds (thousands?) of hacks into the properties of smaller enterprises, SMBs and startups that consumers may (or may not) hear about.

In fact, a few months ago we wrote about The Top Security Hacks of 2011, and referenced that the attacks on Playstation were estimated to have cost Sony $24 billion dollars– nearly 10x their revenue for the same period.

So here’s the point: Would you rather look back and say your company overshot and used too many systems for security testing?  Or get that nauseaus, sinking feeling in your gut when your CIO wakes you at 2:00am and says the company has spent too little?

That’s why– as the cornerstone of uTest’s showstopping announcement yesterday– we announced the launch of uTest Security Testing that leverages the talents of new and existing white hat security professionals within our crowdsourced community.  Since we now offer the first crowdsourced, real-world security testing in the world…there’s a new kid in town to join the collective effort to protect your company, and customers’, private data.

Moreover, we’ve joined forces with industry leader Veracode to provide seamless access to their complementary, cloud-based application security verification services.  Veracode has scalable, policy-driven application risk management programs that help identify and eradicate numerous vulnerabilities by leveraging best-in-class technologies from vulnerability scanning to penetration testing and static code analysis.

As a result, companies will have access to a cost-effective, powerful combination of automated (Veracode) and real-world (uTest) testing that mitigates security risks across the entire software development lifecycle.

We’re thrilled, honored and excited to be partnering with Veracode.  And we’re certain that our joint offering– as a complement to organizations’ in-house security testing– will offer tech executives peace-of-mind at a price with infinitely fewer zeroes than $24,000,000,000.

Introducing The New & Improved @uTest: Now With Security & L10N Testing

For those who frequent the uTest website, blog or forums, you may notice a few changes around here. Yes, we had a little work done… nothing major, just going from focusing on one testing service (functional) to a providing whole range of testing services that span the dev lifecycle (functional, security, load, localization and usability testing).

For our customers, this means they can find the testing expertise they need, no matter where they are in their SDLC. And for testers, it means provide more earning opportunities for those individuals with expertise in areas like security testing, performance engineering, or localization validation. Like I said, nothing major. </sarcasm>

In all seriousness, these are exciting times around the halls of uTest. We’ve spent the past 12 months trialing new types of testing services with select beta customers. And now, we’re ready to offer them to any and all companies, on demand. A quick introduction to uTest’s new suite of testing services:

Functional testing services to help ensure your applications function as intended. Our services related to functional testing include exploratory testing, test case execution, test case creation and writing automated test scripts.

Security testing services to help you avoid launching products with common security- and privacy-related vulnerabilities. Our services include tools-based static and dynamic security testing, as well as manual penetration from trusted, white hat security testers.

Load testing services to make sure your app is ready for peak traffic, and that performance won’t degrade under heavy load. Our services include live load, simulated load and a hybrid load offering that combines cloud-based load testing with live testers.

Localization testing to validate that your app is saying what you think it’s saying. Services include translation validation from native speakers who live in-market, as well as full L10N testing that covers content translations, currency, taxes, shipping options and more.

Usability testing to help you launch products that are intuitive, clean and achieve high conversions. Services include surveys-based testing with targeted focus groups (by age, gender, education, hobbies, location, etc) or usability audits from one of our UX experts.

Special thanks to our friends at Stein + Partners for all their help with our rebranding, as well as an epic month of late nights from the amazing uTest crew. And finally, a word of thanks to our testers for their help in this launch, and the dozens of customers who helped us learn so much about each of these new types of testing. If you’d like more info about any of these new services, drop us a note.

We’ve got more on the way in the coming months. We’re not going to rest until we’ve completely reinvented the way testing services are provided in this ever-evolving apps universe.

Have a comment? Want to tell us you hate/love the new look? Drop us a comment and let us have it!

Update: Mike Butcher over at TechCrunch just took this news prime time. Seems we’re not the only ones who recognize the need for better app security testing.

Time to Party! Celebrating Our Brand New Office in Silicon Valley

Working at a start-up is kind of like having kids. You get excited about every new milestone like a proud parent, even though you know it’s not the first time any of it has ever happened in history. This time it’s yours. Your child. Your company.

For parents, new milestones usually mean posting a select, few pictures to Facebook (give or take 50) of an an event like your child sitting up for the first time. Perched like a top-heavy teddy bear, staring wide-eyed at the camera and being photographed with adoration from many, many…many angles.

For uTest, it usually means hitting the local pub and celebrating together with a pint or two (give or take).

But this milestone was special. Our company, headquartered outside of Boston, opened up our first office in Silicon Valley. Exciting stuff for our founding members and newcomers alike! Granted, with so many recurring clients out here in the Bay Area, uTest has had a West Coast team for over a year, incubating in the Sunnyvale Plug & Play Tech Center.

But to keep up with demand, we’ve expanded pretty fast and definitely outgrew the nest. So now we have a space of our own in bustling downtown San Mateo, one block from the Cal Train and smack dab in the middle of a ton of great restaurants and shops.

What better way to celebrate the milestone and break in our new digs than throw a party! With our CEO Doron Reuveni and the executive team in town, that’s exactly what we did.

Living by the quote of our CMO Matt Johnston– “We take our work seriously, but not ourselves”– we spent a warm summer night celebrating with about 75 of our investors, customers, partners, new neighbors (the good folks at Attributor), new and old friends in the industry, the Chamber of Commerce…and even Mayor Jack Matthews.  Sushi, drinks, and music in the company of some of the Valley’s smartest, funniest, and most fascinating people. It doesn’t get better than this.

In fact, we’re already thinking about throwing another party in a few months for the many who couldn’t make it to this one.  Who knows…we may have a whole new milestone to celebrate.  And cleared space on our camera.

Do Functional Testers Make Good Usability Testers?

Would you trust a plumber to design and decorate the interior of your new home? How about an auto mechanic to paint your car? Or a dermatologist to perform your root canal? If you answered no to any of these questions, then I would argue just as strongly that functional testers should not be handling usability testing for your software.

To be absolutely clear, there are some talented functional testers who are gifted in usability testing as well. However, this is typically the exception. The point of this blog post is not to minimize these exceptions, but rather to highlight the differences between these two testing types and point to the necessity of having one set of experts test your software for functionality, and another set of experts test for usability.

So why do we need separate experts? Here are several noteworthy observations:

  • Different fields of study: In general, usability testing experts come from non-technical fields of study – psychology, cognitive science, human behavior, marketing, etc.
  • Different skills required: In general, functional testers have more in common with engineers and scientists while usability testers have more in common with artists and psychologists
  • Different focus: In general, functional testers focus on “how can I break this” whereas usability testers focus on “how intuitive is this for the end customer”
  • Different persona: In general, functional testers do not need to fully understand how an end user would use the software whereas the usability tester needs to study and emulate end users
  • Different departments in the workplace: In general, usability testing lives in the product management and marketing department while functional testing lives in the engineering department

Given these differences, in particular regarding fields of study and skill sets, I would recommend against entrusting your usability testing to the typical functional tester (the opposite is true as well – entrusting your functional testing to the typical usability tester could be disastrous). There is a particular art and science to usability testing that requires an entirely different approach and mindset. So from a company’s perspective, it’s best to separate these roles and recognize their distinct value propositions.

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Uruguay Launches Collegiate Software Testing Program

The Uruguay IT Chamber has launched a new university program for software testing.  This is big news for the world of software testing, as it not only legitimizes the professional tester but will help draw attention (and projects) to the importance of testing.

TestingReflections.com has a nice write up on the news release, but it’s particularly interesting to see that there are three tiers of testing, as follows:

Software Tester: The ideal program for entry-level, junior, and career-switching software testers.  Successfully completing this credential will give you the knowledge and experience most employers expect from testers with 1-2 years of on-the-job experience – effectively enabling you to start your career needing only to acclimate to the specific expectations of the employer and demonstrate your skills at work before being acknowledged as a mid-level tester.

Software Testing Professional: For testers with several years of testing experience on-the-job who are looking to make the jump from mid- to senior-level, this program is designed to teach high-quality individual contributors how to be effective technical leaders within their testing organization.  Effectively giving the tester the new skills they need, in addition to their existing hands-on testing knowledge, to prepare them for the additional responsibilities of a technical testing manager or of a manager of small to mid-sized testing projects.

Software Testing Leader: This final step in the program has been designed for senior-level testers who desire to be successful managers or directors of corporate testing programs.  Frequently the most challenging step for career software testers is to transition from being a technical leader to a management role focused on the interface between quality testing and executive-level business value.  Successful completion of this stage of the program will give the student the tools they need to make the jump from technical leader to manager – opening the door to further advancement to positions like “Director of Testing Services” or “VP of Software Product Quality”.

Full article after the break.

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The Silver Lining to Motorola’s Comments on Android

Over the past week, there’s been some hub bub over comments made by Motorola’s CEO Sanjay Jha.  According to IDG News Service, Jha “blamed the open Android app store for performance issues on some phones,” based on his statement: “Of all the Motorola Android devices that are returned, 70 percent come back because applications affect performance.”

Even though Motorola formally stated today (see MoCoNews article) that Jha’s comments were essentially misconstrued and didn’t accurately reflect his intentions, the issue has remained a lightning rod for debate.

But for those of us in the software testing community, there’s a truly, positive message embedded in this issue:  Motorola was validating the critical importance of QA testing in the app development process.  

After all, consider Jha’s statement that, “one of the good and problematic things about Android is that it’s very very open. So anyone can put applications, third-party apps, on the market without any testing process….For power consumption, CPU utilization, some of those things, those applications are not tested. We’re beginning to understand the impact that has.”

For professional software testers, that confirms how important our work is, and actually suggests that the scope of mobile testing should be expanded.

Essentially, Jha wasn’t really referring to functional testing.  Or testing exclusively in the “clean and ideal” conditions of a lab environment.  Instead, he was describing the need for usability testing in the real-world to subjectively examine how apps and devices perform in live conditions and affect the user experience.  For instance, did the app run sluggishly?   Did it seriously tax the battery life?  These are vital questions, particularly for apps heavy on audio and video. 

At the end of the day, consumers are unlikely to differentiate whether their frustration over poor performance is caused by the smartphone or the app…or the interaction of both.  They just want to have a great experience with their new mobile “toy” or get their work done. 

Because if there isn’t enough testing on every device that the app is developed for, then (as Jha said) the smartphone gets returned and everyone– including the app publisher–loses out.