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I haven't had the chance to read and review any books from the Pragmatic Programmers series. I decided to change that with the book Ship It! - A Practical Guide to Successful Software Projects by ...
-Thomas "Duffbert" Duff
.. it is a really special feeling when you give someone a book and it changes the way they think and act. So I'm really pleased to have just finished reading a book that I know I'll be handing out ...
-Jeffery Fredrick
If your shop has trouble shipping quality software on time -- and let's face it, most do -- then this book is for you. If you're a manager, I'd say that doubly so.
-Ernest Friedman-Hill "JavaRanch Sheriff"

Test Automation Class in Virginia (Aug 26)
The first scheduled class for the NFJS One venture is now official! And we don't even have the website live yet. :)

This class will be a good mix of the "Why" as well as the "How". The goal is for you to leave the class with a different perspective on test automation as well as the practical tools to be effective. The target audience is developers who want to understand how test automation can help them, as well testers who want to dive. We'll cover enough material that a coding background isn't required, but you'll get more out of it if you do.

Register here.

Here's the course description.

Good test automation is like a good exercise routine. We all know we should have one, but most of us don't. This class provides the tools and information you need to jump start your testing efforts. We'll show you what's worked for us and how we've used test automation to keep projects on time and under budget while making developers and testers more effective.

A solid testing effort shortens the debugging cycle for developers, frees interactive testers up for more involved testing, and prevents bug regressions from derailing your project.

Make sure and register today for the Test Automation Training course offered by Jared Richardson & No Fluff Just Stuff on October 8-10th.

Training Session: Test Automation Training by Jared Richardson
Dates: October 8-10, 9:00 - 5:00 PM Wednesday - Friday
Location: Chantilly, VA
Venue: Hyatt Place - Dulles South
Pricing: $1,450/person, Special $50 UG Discount (use promo code:nfjsone50ug)
Early Bird: Above price good thru 9/26/08, after $1600/person
Registration Fee: Includes 3 Day Training, workbook, wireless internet, beverages & lunch daily
Requirement: You will need to provide your own laptop for the course.
Sponsored by: No Fluff Just Stuff -

Topics covered in the class include:

  • Proven test coverage strategies you can use today
  • Hands on training with several popular free testing tools
  • Best practices for creating solid tests that run on your desktop and the server
  • Unit, package, Mock Client, and integration testing
  • How to make testing a normal part of your team's ecosystem
  • The role of continuous integration in testing
  • The proper role of test coverage metrics
  • Static code analysis as part of the testing process
  • Domain Specific Languages (DSLs) as a testing tool
  • Creating and re-staging your test environment
  • Using machine virtualization to manage your testing environments

This class balances the practices and the principles to give you the tools you need as well as an understanding of why you should use them.

Day One
Testing strategies: creating culture and easy wins
Continuous Integration with Cruise Control
JUnit: An introduction
Practical unit testing
Test coverage with Cobertura

Day Two
Package level testing
Mock client testing
Environment re-staging with Ant and dbUnit
Mocking versus live code
Static code analysis with FindBugs and CPD

Day Three
Testing web UIs with Selenium
Creating robust GUI tests
DSLs leverage your testing expertise
Shared resource rules
Fearless change: testing and refactoring
Virtual Machines to manage environments with Virtual Box

Category: Misc

NFJS Alumni Google Group (Aug 5)
Dave Klein, frequent NFJS attendee (who also works behind the scenes from time to time) started an NFJS Alumni group. If you've ever attended NFJS (or thought about attending), I'd encourage you check it out. It's brand new now, but should grow.

If I can speak for Dave (he created the group during one of my talks), the intention was to give people a way to extend the experience and discuss the talks, etc after the show. Maybe even discuss them with attendees from different cities, see what talks are hot this year, etc.

NFJS Alumni


Category: Misc

The iPhone (and Tech Toys) in Perspective (Jul 11)
Ouch. I feel guilty.

The Joy of Tech on 3G iPhones

Category: Misc

Nginx Logging Format and Awstats (May 24)
When I set up my stats I looked around a few times for some examples and never found anything. I finally got mine working recently, so I posted my formats as much for my own reference as anyone else.

First, this web server is nginx. Changing the log format is trivial. My nginx.conf log_format block looks like this:

    log_format  main  '$remote_addr [$time_local] "$request" '
                      '$status $body_bytes_sent "$http_referer" '

Then awstats has to consume the log. Of course it doesn't use the same configuration language, but it's not too bad. My awstats.conf looks like this:

LogFormat = "%host %time1 %methodurl %code %bytesd %referer" 

No rocket science here, but maybe it'll save you some time figuring it out for yourself. I haven't run this format long enough to be sure I won't add something to it. If I do, I'll update here.

Quick update, I forgot to add, to get nginx to re-read the config files on the fly, use this:
kill -HUP 1234
where 1234 is your pid. You can have nginx recreate the log files (if you've moved them during your debugging cycle) with
kill -USR1 1234

I pulled the quotes from the return code. doh!

Category: Misc

Trip It is an Awesome Web Site (May 22)
First, Trip It has no relation to Ship It! :) Seriously.

Trip It is a great web site that aggregates your travel itineraries. You can forward them (at your Orbitz confirmation (or hotel reservation or car reservation, etc), and they'll automatically parse it, and put it in your account. They attribute itineraries based on the email account you send the notice from.

The first time I realized this has a "must have" service was a trip to Boston. Someone in Boston wanted to pick me up at the airport, but lost my flight information. While I was in the air, they called my wife, she logged into Trip It and pulled the info. She had my flight number, arrival time, etc.

Then I realized that Trip It also lets you add contacts and shows you 'near misses'. If you and a friend are in the same city, it'll notify you and you can see about scheduling dinner. I'm slowly adding friends and colleges to my contacts. No near misses yet, but I'm still hopeful.

They finally won me over completely when I sent them a format they didn't parse, and they took the time to add in support for an entirely new travel agency. Just based on one user!

They're still in beta, and free. If you do any travel, I highly recommend it. And if you're a friend of mine, add me as a contact. Maybe we'll share a meal in Milwaukee!

Category: Misc

Career 2.0 at RTP JUG tonight (May 19)
I'm giving the Career 2.0 talk tonight at the RTP Java User's Group. It's got a lot of material feeding into the book of similar name.

Please come out and let me know what you think. Here's the description.

Has your career been a random product of your manager's whims or company's needs? Never rely on your company to keep your skills current and marketable. Take control of your own career with a proven strategy. These are solid, repeatable steps to get your career in the trajectory you want. The first step is deciding where you want to go. We'll walk through creating a long-term plan, then break it down into manageable steps. Learn to lead within your own company, then stretch out to your local, regional and national community, building your reputation as you go. From coding to writing to speaking, each step will move you closer to where you want to be: in a position of having options and in control of your career.

A number of people have asked me if the talk is about quitting your job. Absolutely not. It's about keeping yourself up to date so that you have options, inside or outside of your current job.

Category: Misc

El Cormino (May 5)
What happens when a Corvette and an El Camino have a baby?

The El Cormino, of course!

Category: Misc

New Version of Virtual Box Available (May 4)
Virtual Box competes with VMWare and Parallels, but it's open source. It's a very decent virtualization product. Sun bought them a few months ago, and this is the first major release since then.

This blog entry (Sun xVM VirtualBox 1.60 Just Released for Ubuntu Hardy Heron and other Os's!) does a good job of summing up the new release.

Visit the VirtualBox homepage for more info.

Category: Misc

Cool Scala Story (May 3)
This is a nice story about how a developer sold management on a Scala solution, put it in production, and handed off the maintenance to other developers.

For All You Know, It's Just Another Java Library

When you wanted to follow the advice of the Pragmatic Programmers and learn a language every year, you had to do it at home. You couldn't bring your new learning language into work.

Today it's a different. You can learn dozens of different languages and run them on top of the JVM or MS' CLR.

Also, if you're going to learn a new language, make sure it's hard enough to hurt. If you know Java, pick something very different, like Erlang or Scala. Learn to think in a new way.

Category: Misc

BarCamp RDU Returns in 2008 (Apr 25)
ll be on the road and miss this one again (sigh), but if you're in the RTP area, you should make sure you catch Bar Camp!

BarCamp RDU

It's a great way to learn and network. You'll meet some amazing people.

If you don't have one locally, start one!

Category: Misc

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