Combined or subsumed



‘Years ago (before online resume submission), the mailroom delivered a box to me. When I opened it, it was a large origami crane, with a note — ‘Unfold me.’ It was a resume.’
Debunking common job-search myths

Have we reached a stage already, where positions such as developer and tester are feeling like holding onto the past? Are they yet another role where the tasks to be either divided, combined or subsumed?  The CV has be largely hailed as out of date, but nothing cohesive to replace it as yet. Perhaps we are in same state for how we think about people in the workplace, and we can’t yet exist without the pervasive labelling in company structures. We will be forced to change soon, however we personally feel.

WordPress and georss

How to create georss from your wordpress site feed. Firstly, you will need to ensure that your posts have post meta values for latitude and longitude. Geonames provide extensive amount of worldwide geolocation data Plugins can do this work, but this is an exercise to remove dependncy from googlemaps wordpress plugins (which add overhead and sometimes unecessary complaication with wordpress and/or theme upgrades. I was using geo-mashup plugin which was excellent, but I realised quickly I was only using about 5% of the functionality it offered – overkill!
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Behaviour Driven Development

Following recent experience with Agile Methodology BDD – I was impressed by how this appraoch provided tighter bond between user story and resulting code.  And with maintenance in mind – every time a new story added or amended, these changes propogate down through to source code level.  BDD also provides the clear scope for testing, and by using scenrarios as basis for a complete regression test set.  A lot in Agile is relaint on the quality of User Stories (as in fact any methodology is reliant on quality of requirements).  The BDD approach does ensure that user Stories are firmly in forefront of the SDLC.

Once a user story is defined, should we assume that is final and that if issues occur outside of its borders, they should be ignored? Test planning based on user stories is a constantly evolving documentation – only through continued development and testing is some issues arrive that weren’t considered in original scope. That is normal. Exploratory testing aims to catch these type of issues before they cause endemic problems in the system. What the stakeholder wants is important – but they are not going to be impressed by pedantic attitude of “well, you asked for it, so you got it”. To test firmly within boundaries is a risky business, becasue you are making dangerous assumption on the quality of user stories/requirements. I was always taught that you test requirements too. And you raise bugs against them if necessary, which in the days when business anaylsts were commonplace, was standard practice.

BDD (Behavior Driven Development) tools such as, and Cucumber can help with exploratory testing, as with these tools, the person designing user stories will be more conscious of the requirement to code flow. BDD approach helps avoid the need for out-of-scope exploratory testing, as outside case scenarios can be addressed and included in earlier stages. The creator will be more aware of cases outside of their scenarios, as code generated can be reviewed as user stories as worked on. These tools encourage earlier reivew between analysis and development, but generating pseudo code based on user story input (which of course means requirement to code is traceable and more likely to be accurate to begin with. There is an overhead in planning/design stages, but less issues will be result. These tools developed from lessons learnt in Agile – the path from user story to code must be smooth and efficient, and if the user stories are properly integrated into the SDLC, then less basic mistakes will happen.

In specflow, this is how a user story is defined and broken down into scenario (which is turn can have 1 or more scenario outlines). This is nothing new fundamentally, but because the BDD workflow focus is heavily on the user story -> coding path. A major area of failure.

User story for a user dashboard, using Specflow’s BDD approach (the tables are decision tables – identifying test data prerequistes, and also examples of input/output).

Feature: Status Lights
In order to quickly view Section status
As Client User
I want a traffic lights type system to represent Section statuses

Given I am logged in as valid user
And I am on Homepage
And there are Sections and Sub-sections following the criteria in table below

| Type | Status | Worfklow |
| Sub-section | grey | Sub-section should be marked as no longer applicable |
| Sub-section | grey | Section marked as no longer applicable |
| Sub-section | tick | Final step in workflow has been signed off |
| Sub-section | green | Final step not signed off, and due date > 30 days away |
| Sub-section | Amber | Final step not signed off, and due date 7 days away |
| Sub-section | Red | Final step not signed off and due date 30 days away |
| Section | Amber | Step not signed off and due date 7 days away |
| Section | Red | Steps not signed off and due date <= 7 days away |
| Section | Red | Steps not signed off and due date already passed |

Scenario: Status Lights
Given has Section(s) in various statuses
And I am logged in as preparer or reviewer
When I view Company Status
Then Company Status displays according the Section(s) status

Scenario Outline: Company Status Lights Change
Given A Section contains "”
And Section has “” at either Sub-section or Section workflow status
When I view Company status
Then Company Status displays the lowest “” of “” of any Section

| Status | Rank |
| Red | 0 |
| Grey | 1 |
| Amber | 2 |
| Green | 3 |
| Tick | 4 |

Scenario Outline: Section Status Lights Change
Given A Sub-section contains “”
And Sub-section has “”
When I view Section status
Then Section Status displays the lowest “” of “” of any Sub-section

| Status | Rank |
| Red | 0 |
| Grey | 1 |
| Amber | 2 |
| Green | 3 |
| Tick | 4 |

Page vs Post

I have lost count of the amount of times I have heard WordPress (and other “blogging” CMS’s) dismissed, as they “just do blogs”.   Though there is commercial sense in confusing the consumer 😉 it an also prevent them discovering very good solutions to eb management problems. The crux of the argument is page vs post, and is there actually any difference between a web page and a web post.

Well, yes, as they are generically different templates – and there lies the key – templates. A good CMS has a lot of flexibility in design, and full control of templates is one essential area.   There can be crossovers, so is there any real difference as far as user is concerned. The difference is blurring to point of whats the point? Post/Page, one and the same.

Blog posts are displayed by date and show on the home page of the blog (depending on the date or tag filter defined).  Blog pages support the same options as blog posts but do not show on the home page of the blog; instead, you must link to them directly through a blog post, a link in the sidebar, or via search results.


This quote goes some way to illustrate a proves a point – terms of posts/pages are wholly irrelevant when thinking about customisation – there are generic guides to the differences, but a website is essentially based on templates, not page/post style.  Learning to seperate out the technology and the terminology is especially relevant here.

CURL in Testing

If you have access to XML config files, CURL is great testing tool, if you are happy at the command-line. In a nutshell, CURL effectively means of changing values on the fly (using PUT/GET commands), and this method is the basis for many test tools (notably Selenium). The main advantage (once you get up to speed with CURL) is speed. As with most tools, the more bloated the application, to slower it becomes. And therefore most potential for errors based on tool performance, rather than application under test. CURL takes advantage of data storage in XML format, rather than a DB. Here is an example of a CURL command used to create test scenario.

curl -d “subscription[end_date]=2008-12-31 15:57:00” -X PUT


This command is populating the “end_date” with a value in past (to test system reaction to expired subscription). How your XML config files may/will be differently structured, but that URL is pointing to Subscription record 20 for Subscriber id 22. This is a basic example, but if you have access to XML config files, this is a fast, easy way to test critical functions of a system, especially subscriptions, registrations and user account activity.

Some examples of uses of CURL in testing:-

Curl for Testing Web Applications
CURL and Ruby on Rails

curl is a command line tool for transferring files with URL syntax, supporting FTP, FTPS, HTTP, HTTPS, SCP, SFTP, TFTP, TELNET, DICT, LDAP, LDAPS and FILE. curl supports SSL certificates, HTTP POST, HTTP PUT, FTP uploading, HTTP form based upload, proxies, cookies, user+password authentication (Basic, Digest, NTLM, Negotiate, kerberos…), file transfer resume, proxy tunneling and a busload of other useful tricks.

E.ON – Power and Gas

Although the English service record has always been particularly poor, utilities companies seem to employ people with part of their brains missing.  I recently moved into new flat, and dutifully informed Eon of the change of tenant.  I now get two bills regularly twice a week – one billed to The Occupier for bill prior to me moving in, and one also addressed to “The Occupier” for subsequent bill.  Now it seems to me that they have obviously received my details, as the date up to, and date from, on the bills tallies.  Maybe they are hoping I will pay both bills to save them administration.  Must be so complicated changing one name to another – obviously is for a UK company, especially lazy inept parasitic ones like Eon.

BT also step up to the mark on this one, but in a manner intended to confuse and worry you enough to pay up regardless.  They are a far more shameless bunch of idiots, and in process of taking them to court, as we cannot allow companies to feel they can bully – that is simply plain cowardice on their part.

Actually I am missing the point – you want to screw more money out of your customers – apply unreasonable inflation-busting charges, keep the intimidation letters flowing, and hire idiots to administer – pure credit-crunch brilliance!  It worked for The Tube, National Rail, etc.  Incompetence should be rewarded, and now is in the UK – welcome to world of “Nathan Barley”, an oft referenced comedy from the very astute Chris Morris (and Charlie Brooker).

I am not too churlish not to wish all a happy new year, so Happy New Year Eon and BT! ….. you bunch of morons.

PR And The Media 2008

PR And The Media 2008

Theme: PR And The Media 2008

Begins: Tue, 26 Feb 2008 at 9:00 AM

Ends: Tue, 26 Feb 2008 at 5:00 PM



No.1 Bank End

London, London SE1 9BU


Registration fee: 629

Last date for registration: Tue, 26 Feb 2008

Last date for paper submission: Wed, 20 Feb 2008

Organizer: Haymarket (Professional Events)

Link: PR And The Media 2008

Eighth consecutive annual conference examining the future of media relations, the impact of media fragmentation and the mutual benefits of a combined journalist and PR partnership. Guest speakers include ‘media gurus’ Roger Alton (editor, Observer), Parminder Bahra (executive editor, Times Online) and PR and communications experts including Tim Johns (vice president global media relations, Unilever).

Learn how to use social media technologies in context at the PR industry’s definitive annual event.

Tags: social media,pr,web 2.0

PR And The Media 2008PR And The Media 2008629Haymarket (Professional Events)Eighth consecutive annual conference examining the future of media relations, the impact of media fragmentation and the mutual benefits of a combined journalist and PR partnership. Guest speakers include ‘media gurus’ Roger Alton (editor, Observer), Parminder Bahra (executive editor, Times Online) and PR and communications experts including Tim Johns (vice president global media relations, Unilever).

Learn how to use social media technologies in context at the PR industry’s definitive annual media,pr,web 2.0PR And The Media 20082008-02-262008-02-202008-02-26T09:00:002008-02-26T17:00:00