What Matters Most

I read a whole issue of a testing magazine tonight. There was one article that stood out in my mind. It was an interview with a guy that had started as a junior tester in his company, and worked his way up to CEO. They asked him what is key for a tester to succeed. He had some very specific guidance.

A tester must know what the end user needs. The tester must also be aware of what the user wants as well. You got to know the business. You get this by getting involved with operations. Some other important traits include strong analytical skills.

This advice matches what I see on my own project. We have a bunch of GUI applications. There are some programs that run on the server that do loading and computations. Add on a couple back end programs that do communications and you have our system. There is nothing special with this layout. However the business knowledge is king. If you can somehow figure out what the heck the users are trying to accomplish, the system makes a lot of sense. Otherwise you will be totally lost.

The Trouble with ASP.NET

It is great if you can automate testing of software with unit tests. This is not too easy with ASP.NET from Microsoft. ASP.NET is a web development framework. There are multiple issues making matters difficult.

The first setback is that testing web sites requires transmission of HTTP requests, simulating browser clicks. The second trouble is the output. It is all HTML which is messy.

How do a lot of testers deal with web site verification? They end up clicking around looking for problems. Ouch. Microsoft's answer to the woe is ASP.NET MVC. So far I have no experience with the technology. However Microsoft is pitching it as the way to simplify the testing of web apps. We shall see.