Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Day 1 of 40: TESTHEAD BOOT CAMP: Superfly Web Ninja in 40 Days?!!

No, I'm not offering a Charles Atlas "Build Your Body in 7 Days" type of deal, but I am looking to do something dramatic in a self-imposed (well, OK ,maybe not ENTIRELY self imposed) time period, and if you would like to come along for the ride, you are welcome to.

If one thing has been made abundantly clear to me over the past couple of weeks working through How We Test Software at Microsoft, I have decided that I must overcome my aversion to and phobia of coding. I can read code, I can write code, but it's just not something I'm all that totally psyched about doing, so it often ends up low on my priority list. It's like saying I dig epic Greek poetry, but won't open or try to read the epics in their original Greek. I can still talk about them, I can still appreciate them, heck I can even criticize them, but unless I can open a book with the original Greek and sound out and savor those words, I'm doomed to a second rate experience, doomed to have others savor the richness that I cannot. Thus, no more excuses, it's time to get into shape!

What's going on inside my brain at this very moment, in Godinese (Seth Godin speak), is my Lizard Brain screaming at the top of its lungs, and The Resistance working all of its magic on me. In the past, it has often succeeded, but now the time has come to shout it down, and since my "credibility" is my ultimate accountability (see Monday's blog for my comments on that :) ), it's time to do what I often find the most effective way to really commit to doing something... shout like a fool from the rooftops and give regular updates. So that's what I'm going to do!

Thus, starting today, I hereby challenge myself to become a "supa-fly ultra-modern web ninja tester" and I will give myself 40 days to do it!

WHOOMP! There it is!!! (stands cockily with arms crossed and head cocked to the side for semi-thug-geek comic relief).

No seriously, I have an initiative that requires that I freshen up my web testing skills, like big time. No more excuses, no more Lizard Brain, no more Resistance, it's time to get serious and it's gonna happen publicly, and you can follow along. For the next 40 days, I hereby commit to a DAILY commentary (or as close to daily commentary as I can so that I can meet this goal, or at least get as close to it as I possibly can). What's more, I encourage those who want to follow along and practice with me to do so. If I highlight books, resources, tutorials, or anything else, I'll reference them here and I'll let you see the thrills of my victories and the agonies of my defeats.

The goals: implement Selenium, Cucumber, Firebug, Rails and Agile methodologies, learn and implement tests with a unit testing framework, create projects to practice these technologies, explain what I do and have learned, share my pain points and be willing to share in any way what pearls of wisdom I learn along the way.

TESTHEAD BOOT CAMP is now officially in session.



testerab said...

Sounds great - I'm in with Selenium but not Cucumber. Firebug, but not Rails.

Are you adding CSS/HTML/XPath etc to the list, or are you already comfortable with those? (I'm not, not enough anyway, so CSS is drifting towards the top of the heap of "stuff I should learn real soon now").

I'll throw in a book rec if you're looking at Rails: if you need to pick up Ruby, then Brian Marick's "Everyday Scripting with Ruby" is a really great book.

If you're learning Selenium, then I'll also suggest a couple Firefox plugins:
Xpather (really handy when playing around with Xpath trying to find a less fragile way of selecting an element)
Firefinder (ditto for CSS)

And if you haven't looked at eviltester's blog yet, get over there now!

Marlena said...

Are you actually wanting to do some coding or just trying really hard to avoid relatives over the holidays?

Joking aside, I'm in the midst of learning a lot of that stuff too. We did some ruby/watir/cucumber stuff for WTANZ which was a great intro, but I'm also going through html/css/javascript as well. It will be interesting to see the perspective you gain on these.

It's been overwhelming at times, but very exciting. Good luck to you :)

Michael Larsen said...

Thank you Anna and Marlena, I'm excited to learn more about these technologies, though I must admit "The Resistance" runs strong at times. SideReel does a lot with the entertainment aspects of the web, so they are really on the cutting edge of many of the options out there, hence my need to learn a lot and quickly (LOL!).