Test Information Space

Journal of Tech, Testing and Trends

Archive for May, 2009


Posted by cadsmith on May 31, 2009


Consider whether an ideal tester can emerge from a distributed repository such as Test Info Space, or what a utility of this nature would be like. The effort might lead to a knowledge base to support development and validation efforts, if not as straightforward as a spell-checker for an editor, then at least to assist in browsing, documentation or presentation. A private cloud or internal network might add or replace web content.

Assume that the purpose of the tool is for debug, test and diagnostics. It would have some form of search, e.g. keyword or semantic, a Q&A ability or directory, recommendation generator, a logging mechanism for tracing or reuse, and scripting for automation. It is a composite of sources including history, state of the art, and research. Users can lookup concepts to find descriptions and supporting links, or test cases to match solutions by example. It can provide comparisons by similarity, counter, or uniqueness. This might be done at a high level of methodology or fine-tuned by fields, domains, characteristics, indications, and tradeoffs, or deduced from issues such as data, analysis or symptoms. Rankings can be sorted by title, author, editions, style, level of difficulty, citations, prerequisites, mathematics, and so on.

The present wiki includes pages for each title showing authors, publication date, category, tags, links to content, external links, possibly a book site, other media, and user comments. Sources usually have some combination of table of contents, glossary, index, notes, hyperlinks, bibliography, code and exercises. These may be in any of various formats, e.g. PDF, HTML, hardcover, paperback, flash or e-reader. External pages or bookmarks may provide a booklist linked to the wiki pages. There may also exist other reviews or a synopsis. Authors have biographies, publications, blogs, organizations, teams, social networks and feeds. Tools have sources, possibly open-source, vendors, costs, and dependencies or chains. Projects can be active or archive.

New wiki pages include Guernsey 2009 on databases, Ogrinz 2009 on enterprise mashups, Resig 2006 on javascript, and Newkirk 2004 on test-driven development (TDD).

Image: TIS topic list

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Test Distance

Posted by cadsmith on May 24, 2009


Popular media is awash in sci-fi. Summer is an optimistic season. The final year of the decade is seen as a pivotal manifestation of change in approaches to issues. Human history is treated as a runaway which various groups are scrambling to deal with in order to define and position themselves for whatever is ahead. Depending upon perspective, one may simultaneously be experiencing growth on the order of multiples of previous levels of experience, as well as a disconcerting collapse of structures which had previously been relied upon for responsibility. In a time series, this can be portrayed as a changing of the guard, or alternatively considered as transition from nationalist vertical to globalized flat, or other domains may see length of time shift to height of relevance, or orthogonal rotation of moments, and so on. The next decade may attempt to maintain part of this through economics. Optimistically, an inclusive balance sustains the good, realistically society continues to cater to a market of might, and pragmatically, correlations of ideas across previous boundaries connect various people in unexpected ways.

Titles from the reading list were Hibbs 2009 and Pezzè 2008 on software testing, Singer 2009 on military robotics, Wolf 2008 on VLSI design, and Aezel 2001 on quantum physics.

Image generated using GIMP 2.6.6 on original compass logo darkening background, filtering map/fractal trace, and uploaded as twitter background image.

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Sharper IM Age

Posted by cadsmith on May 17, 2009


How do we figure out where to look for answers amid the offerings from computation, search, wikis, social networks, semantic web, and so on? Datasets differ. Would be nice to handle user preferences, history, context, word-based problems, voice, and local state of knowledge. Caches allow them to provide up-to-the-minute FAQs. Timestamps are able show historical answers. Text-driven user input can be cut, piped to functions, and the answer returned or posted somewhere, e.g. an editor. Questions can be sent to all and merged or integrated, or the APIs can make them recombinant. The hardware scales from cells to chips. Cloud-based services seek to be more platform than killer app because various industries each have idiosyncracies, so there will likely be multiple solutions. Also started a basic wolframalpha experiment as way to observe learning curves for utility and user. There seem to be more variables than controls initially, so will need to characterize what is (un)settling and how.

Human-based textual image parsing this week included Farrell-Vinay 2008 on test management, McDonald 2008 on QA, Burns 2007 on security, Holzmann 2003 on SPIN model checker, Krepinevich 2009 on futurism, and Oreilly 2009 on the microblog.

“When you have eliminated the impossible, then whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth.”

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Posted by cadsmith on May 9, 2009

Tools evolve and drive inventors to new efforts. The wiki is probably no exception. It can be used to comment software and track bugs. Static content pages can be translated to wiki format using automated keyword hyperlinking and tagging. It seems to be the case that, by adding a few simple additional field types, they can be made more active. For example, a selector entry might be switched between values to use different other pages. So we enter the world of wiki-based computing. Documentation applications handle system descriptions, designs, metadata and statistics. It is not impossible for them to add operation and debugging. Each page is a memory snapshot or state of a set of values which can include hyperlinks and tags. A series of these can be used to drive activity just as a set of source code modules can be an instance of an algorithm, or machine components can be an engine. These modules are versioned and there can be a selector field parameter to string the correct choices together. This gives some flexibility in either pre-specifying order of execution, or allowing a test-driven approach to exercise combinations until a result is obtained. Automated editing or refactoring is more complex; this can be content-driven or result-driven. It may be possible for the wiki to edit itself to adapt to some external context or usage. A processing medium would have the ability to execute from wiki description or code to binary. This implies a ware descriptor language. Applications might be imagined for emulation, virtualization or hypervisors. This allows digital experiments to compare implementations prior to production. A wiki can also then become an operational component of a system. Pieces may be upgraded to other media or machines. Consider the wiki OS, model, processor, grid, and infrastructure. These are based on a built-in CMS, alerts, activities, artifacts, and abstractions. Analyzer output can generate wiki pages which may also be used as input to resume from. Dimensions of page relationships include hyperlinks, timestamp, writer, as well as content matches under search patterns, and other rules. Set the clock and see what establishes domains for the entry title.

Recent reading list Barrett 2008 on mediawiki, Ford 2008 enterprise s/w, Souders 2007 performance, Hamill 2004 unit testing, Crispin 2002 extreme programming, and Peck 2009 on Gimp.

New socnet test activity started on Daney’s SaRnet.

Image: MediaWiki

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Final Term

Posted by cadsmith on May 3, 2009

Answer engines indicate uptick, e.g. Wolfram Alpha or IBM DeepQA to augment expertise.

Search now yields Google profile. Added a site to Ning which features social networking, pictures and videos.

Recent reading list composed of Nilekani 2009 on future of India and IT, Ash 2008 web performance, Weilkiens 2008 SysML and UML, Andrews 2006 testing web security, and Beck 2002 about test-driven development.

Twine upgraded to Sprint 36. UI looks more like feed reader sorted by topics which can be ordered by preference. Each twine’s view indicates items that have not been read yet and can be sorted by type (e.g. all, bookmark or comment). Authors are not obvious so dialogue swarms seem to be less frequent. Can bookmark or subscribe to feeds of particular twines or members to follow, or pipe to Twitter or its newly imitative complements, Facebook and Friendfeed.

ComboFix security was useful to cleanup self-reinstalling adware processes.

Image: Dr. Eldon Tyrell

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