Test Yourself Before You Wreck Yourself

CS SERIES (14)Testing, testing. I may need your approval on this article I read by Software Testing Magazine on Approval Testing. Approval testing, as defined by this article, is a way of software testing that results in presenting the before and after of an application for a user (ex: software development team) to review it and potentially approve it. It’s more of a visual representation of testing and one of the major cons is how the results have to be checked manually.

Some testing tools mentioned include: Approval Tests, TextTest, Jest, Recheck, Automated Screenshot Diff, Depicted (dpxdt), and etc.

The main purpose of the software testing tool, using TextTest for example, is checking that the text output after running program from the command line in different ways.

What I found interesting is how a user can see that a test technically could have “passed” or “failed” but still decide to mark it as the other because they choose what feature they are looking for in the end. This makes it a little more flexible to use approval testing as it is more of a guide or guideline for a user instead of only seeing one word and then a short description of what could have gone wrong. I think this process is much more transparent or descriptive with a user about what could have gone wrong or what went right.

One way the content has changed how I will think about the testing is how there are so many more types of software or programs out there than we can imagine which help us better code or create our own software and programs. This one is especially good for visual coders and testers who like to see their results firsthand to compare what they are expecting with what they actually got.

Overall, I found this article was useful because it introduced me to thinking about a better way of logging the differences between what the reference result is versus the actual result. I did not disagree with any of it since it showed us how we can use approval testing to our advantage while still being honest about its limitations.

Article: http://www.softwaretestingmagazine.com/knowledge/approval-testing/

Top 5oftware Architecture

CS SERIES (13)When using architecture patterns, how will you know which one to choose? Peter Wayner, an independent author for TechBeacon takes five architectures that the majority of programs today use and broke them down into their strengths and weaknesses. Through this, it seems like he is hoping to guide users to selecting the most effective software architecture pattern for their needs.

If this article does not clear up enough information, Wayner also brings up a book, Software Architecture Patterns by Mark Richards, which focuses further on architectures commonly used to organize software systems.

The fives types discussed in the article are:

  • Layered (n-tier) architecture
  • Event-driven architecture
  • Microkernel architecture
  • Microservices architecture
  • Space-based architecture

The one I found most interesting is space-based architecture because at first when I thought of space, I was thinking of the other kind. The one with the sun and the stars and the moon. But then I realized–what does that have anything to do with software architecture? Space-based architecture is listed as “best for high-volume data like click streams and user logs” and I think this one is pretty important, especially during times like Black Friday and Cyber Monday. I personally experienced the frustration of not being able to access a site (adidas) due to high volume and it really does not help a business.

Another architecture I found thought-provoking is micro-services architecture because of the way Wayner introduced the concept, “[s]oftware can be like a baby elephant: It is cute and fun when it’s little, but once it gets big, it is difficult to steer and resistant to change.” The author providing an example of this made me think about how a site with so many users and things happening at once actually just had many different separate services but they were put together as one. I was a little surprised to think of Netflix in that way after all the times I’ve used it but it makes much more sense now.

Overall, I found all of the information pretty useful and clear to understand as Wayner described what they were and then listed the caveats and what they were best for. I would recommend using this as a reference or quick review of common software architecture designs if someone needs it.

Article: https://techbeacon.com/top-5-software-architecture-patterns-how-make-right-choice

Nice Demete[r] You

CS SERIES (12).pngThere are lots of “rules” we must follow in object-oriented software development and the article The Genius of the Law of Demeter by Javadevguy summarizes how they are useful. From what I put together, it seems like the Law of Demeter took abstract concepts and basically put them into a universal set of rules for Object-Oriented code.

I thought that the law of demeter must be a big deal if someone decided to sit down and write a lengthy blog post about it. This content ended up being interesting as it tried to convince readers why they should obey this “law.” The Law of Demeter basically paves the way for what users can do to a given method. It is kind of like considering the restrictions or possibilities based on the method. One of the takeaways I got from this is how there is a lot of focus on communication between two objects.

Sam CS (18)

The rules listed in the article are as follows–noting that it says “For all classes C, and for all methods M attached to C, all objects to which M sends a message must be”:

  1. self (this in Java)
  2. M’s argument objects
  3. Instance variable objects of C
  4. Objects created by M, or by functions or methods which M calls
  5. Objects in global variables (static fields in Java)

Another useful takeaway I got from this article came from observing the code examples Javadevguy included; how Rule #1 covers that any method can be called on the current object. I also noted when there would be an instance where the law would prohibit something is not “sending a message” to any already existing object that is held in instance variables of other classes.

This will affect the way I continue to do work as an Object-Oriented developer. I mean, in life when you learn there is a more useful or structured way to help you achieve more effective results, you would want to try or follow it, right? For my future use, I will acknowledge (like other blogs and articles) that the Law of Demeter is less of a law and only a suggestion or a guideline.

Overall, I would say that the content has helped further solidified my understanding of some Object-Oriented coding concepts. I agree with the content as it is trying to help people become better developers or better understand the Law of Demeter in general.

Article: https://javadevguy.wordpress.com/2017/05/14/the-genius-of-the-law-of-demeter/

Is Your Interface Two-Faced?

CS SERIES (11).pngWhen coding, users always have to be conscious about the way their code may be implemented or used in the future by different services leading to potential misuse. After reading Code Health: Make Interfaces Hard to Misuse by Marek Kiszkis, it made me think about how important communication between testing code is.

I found this content useful because Kiszkis featured some examples that can show how an interface could be misused easily. The examples included:

  • Requiring callers to call an initialization function
  • Requiring callers to perform custom cleanup
  • Allowing code paths that create objects without required parameters
  • Allowing parameters for which only some values are valid, especially if it is possible to use a more appropriate type

Sam CS (17)It is also good to remember that at the end of the day, code should be defensive but not too defensive to the point that complexity is increased and performance overall is reduced. Kiszkis says “it is not always practical to have a foolproof interface” because there will be situations where some requirements are things that cannot be expressed in an interface.

After seeing so much content based on being careful about what you code it is surprising how this article says it is not necessary to plan too hard. I kind of understand why Kiszkis would say this but personally, I kind of disagree with this. The reason why I disagree is because if someone does happen to end up with more time to work on something than expected and they know it will make something more efficient, then why not go for it?

Overall, I appreciated what was shared in this article in terms of encouraging users to try and see issues that can arise with their code when it comes to interfaces. The main takeaway for me is that if something is brought up, or triggered by undefined behavior, a user should try and make it impossible for this to happen. A way of doing so is by adding things where necessary, like certain slots in his example. It does not have to be too specific but detailed enough so that it covers different aspects, similar to how we try to prepare for everything when it comes to equivalence class testing.

Article: https://testing.googleblog.com/2018/07/code-health-make-interfaces-hard-to.html


[W]in Tech

CS SERIES (9).pngOver the weekend, I had the chance to sit down and listen to another podcast episode by Developer Things. The title, Women in Technology (with Megan Horton), caught my eye as I am always on the lookout to learn about other women’s experiences in technology.

The podcast series’ goal is for people to learn new developer things each time they listen so here’s what I learned on the career side related to software construction, design, and architecture:

  • The stigma of “nerds” begins in elementary school so girls start to stray away from STEM even in the limited amount of programs there already are for computer science in earlier education years. This eventually results in the number of females in CS in universities–like mine–is so low along with the numbers of those who move onto the software development workforce.
  • There are jobs out there like writing software for watering fields based on whether the sun is up or down or varying weather conditions. It reminded me a bit about how we used duck stimulator as an example to learn UML diagrams and had different actions performed for each duck.
  • Career advancement is not always a straight path. People tend to switch into computer science as a major or switch into technology when they want a career change. I’d like to point out how the host of this episode took the opportunity to say Horton came from the funeral business to killing software bugs.
  • You won’t always have to write code: there’s so much out there–you could have a passion for anything and do something tech-related in that setting.

The content has caused me to think more deeply about what I will do in technology, I mean of course I’m going with software development or software engineering but what is the overall goal throughout my career timeline going to be? What kinds of companies will I end up working for? What projects or passions will I follow along the way? Overall, I enjoyed the podcast with Horton as she discussed the ups and downs of being a female in technology and her experiences in the industry so far.

I don’t think I was there for the time when people would be kicked off the internet because someone needs to use the phone as discussed in the episode but I do experience times when my connection isn’t consistent. It really makes me sit back and think about how technology relies on constant power and a steady internet connection.

A major takeaway that I continue finding myself writing about is how we will always be learning something new in technology as things are always changing–as long as the power is on.

Podcast: https://stackify.com/podcast-women-technology/

Hey Siri, Google This

CS SERIES (8).pngImagine being several years into your role as a developer; you’ve had a long week, a big project to push tomorrow and suddenly… you’re stuck on something. And you’ve double-triple-quadruple checked to make sure everything is working by code review but you cannot put your finger on how it is not quite perfect. What’s wrong? Let’s find out.

This is the first course-related podcast I’ve listened to for a blog post and if this is one of the only podcasts you will listen to, I recommend this one.

Jonathan Cutrell started off the podcast by saying “If there’s one thing that makes developers self-conscious it’s probably their googling history–more specifically things that they google that they forgot how to do.”

People can talk about code for days but they do not talk about the toll of what a developer thinks of themself when they are stuck on a part of their code or need to rely on the internet for something. This honesty makes it easier for university students and entry-level developers to understand the pace they are learning at is their own and that not everyone is perfect at coding even after years of experience.

Something that changed the way I thought about this is how important it is to know the pattern or routine of a concept. Things Cutrell says great developers care about is how understanding patterns and principles transfers but not necessarily the actual code itself. “Great developers” focus on the overall concept instead of wasting time on the small details of a language.

Due to this thinking, I realized I never considered how a developer can be the best of the best in one language but if they had to convert it into another language, the translation would be a little different. The real life comparison to this would be if someone were speaking with broken English. This does not mean they are not smart in any way, it’s saying that they are focusing on the main idea instead of a small detail they are trying to get through. They use their time more efficiently by moving on to a big concept instead of worrying about the syntax that they can easily google.

Overall, I appreciate what this article brought up as I was expecting it to be about just googling things but it dug a little deeper and mentioned what a good developer should focus on.

Podcast Episode: https://spec.fm/podcasts/developer-tea/204292

WWJD? What Would JUnit Do?

CS SERIES (7)A few weeks ago, I was introduced to JUnit testing in my Software Quality Assurance & Testing course. The blog post tutorial linked below is one I would recommend to those interested in learning about assertion. Reading this post has helped me review the concepts I have learned and I will share what helped me better understand the topic of writing basic assertions with AssertJ.

I found this content useful as it started off by covering whether a user had Maven or Gradle for declaring the dependency and then we get to dive into scenarios when a certain feature would be used. Some examples of what you can test with assertions includes: boolean values (true/false), whether or not something is NULL, comparing the result with a number or string (EqualTo()), object references, and arrays that are equal.

There is a walk-through of what we want to test with a basic scenario of when we would want to use it and this information makes me appreciate how much this kind of testing helps simplify things. It adds more structure to what we would like to do and by being able to import it, saves us so much more time in the end.

Honestly, in class I tend to spend more of my time trying to follow steps instead of absorbing what the material is and this article really helped me realize things like “oh, so this is why we use this line of code” or “so that’s why this is always there.” As a visual person, I appreciate the articles which actual include code examples for us to see what’s being used or added to explain a concept which was very helpful in this case. I do not disagree with any of the content provided as it is much more technical and there is reasoning behind each part of the process.

Overall, I would keep this article bookmarked and may come back to use it as a reference whether it be for a future testing assignment or just for trying to refresh this in my memory. As a side note, installing gradle on our laptops in class enabled us to run our tests through the terminal which was a pretty cool experience.

Article: https://www.petrikainulainen.net/programming/testing/junit-5-tutorial-writing-assertions-with-assertj/