Thursday, April 27, 2006

Thanks for the missing phrase!!

A sharp eye pointed a missing bit so we have posted the modified document again here


Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Bootstraping during the spring is a good thing!

I am close to the end of TAOTS, making progress on the marketing section of the BP, and improving the main white paper.

It's hard to accomplish all of these because spring is here! Days are longer and really pleasant. I will post some views from around here later.

The natural progress for us is to set up a solid bootstrapping process once the BP is in shape, so I will head down the bootstrap road next.

The link to the new white paper is here, any comments, suggestions, critiques are welcome and appreciated!


Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Good Ol' Bean Counter, where art thou:

There is this study published few years ago by Cap Gemini Ernst & Young which states the following: 65% of the in-memory image of a software program belongs to software developed by a third party.

Put this figure together with the NIST stats (80% of a project is testing and debugging) and the magical number is 52%. Any software project could use up to 52% of its resources (time, people, etc) executing somebody else's software.

And doing the marketing research update for the BP, I ran into Mercury's QTP 8.X.

This tool allows users to continue using capture & replay through another layer of indirection (their ActiveScreen feature)

So a capture & replay user just interested in:

button1_clicked(because is the only logic that she/he can modify)

has to wait for the tool to execute who knows how many screen repaints, OS and specific tool calls (all of which are third party) to get to the real test target:

the fabled "button1_clicked".

How many more tests could be executed instead? Aren't we always short of time for quality?
Are we using the time we have wisely?

On the same token, if we could get rid of the extra layers of indirection. Could we test everything all the time?

The Mythical Man Month considered this not economically/physically feasible. But back then the computing power was in its infancy and most of the production of software was done manually. Is it possible now?

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Friday, April 14, 2006

Software Development & Europe, a mirror

I am about to hit the BP again but could not stop thinking an exchange that I had with someone on usenet. This person who also teaches proposed that automated testing is not relieable and the only solution is manual testing (not exactly with these words but that's the only conclusion that could be drawn)

But when confronted with the economic reality of the fixed physical throuput capacity of humans got into trouble: what to do with a growing codebase? was he going to force people to move their hands and eyes faster? So his only solution is to use more inputs to produce the same good?

This is bad lesson in economics 101. It should take less inputs to create a good over time. That is in essence efficiency.

This is the same approach as "pair programming": adding more people to see if they make it work. If recent ship date delays are a guide, adding people to a flawed process just does not work.

So here we are several years after the tech bust we are, in short, running to stand still:

Manual testing advocates think they can get it right after 25 years.

Traditional testing tool companies have "somewhat fixed" the problems they created (quoting a Forrester report) But what about non PC gadgets? Can they run inside a Pocket PC?

An XP advocates think that the solution is to add more people to:
  1. Ask developers to write their tests, as if they had time to write their own code.
  2. Ask developers to add special code so they can write their own tests.
  3. Ask testers to write code that is going to become useless in the next round of refactoring.
And then came France and its PCE (first employment contract, or close enough) the students and the unions kept the PM from turning PCE into law. The PCE was an attempt make France's laber market more fluid and create jobs.

PCE is not a law which may have been a bad law but France and Europe in general need something along the changes that are needed in the software industry:

The population is growing old, so more immigration or more natality is needed.

In 2004 just Spain had positive demographic growth.

According to the OCDE, just 2 european universities are among the top 20/top 50 in the world. The rest are in USA, Japan, India, etc.

These two are english. According to a survey published recently when Europeans emmigrate, they mostly choose England because of the jobs and pay.

With China and India growing into world powers, what is Europe going to bring in the future to the table of big decision makers?

Education? Job opportunities? a healthy work force?

Anyways that business plan is waiting...

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Monday, April 10, 2006

Dynamic Array Manipulation Snapshot!!

Slowly but surely the dynamic array manipulation through DevRiot's gui is coming together.

This will allow the user just concentrate on the most important things, in this case what the array contents should be. The for loops, etc, etc, are on the house :-]

This one is short because I am about to go for an afternoon surfing session.

Copyright José Cornado (c) 2005-2006

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Wednesday, April 05, 2006

TAOTS, Alter Egos, and other mumblings:

I finally got into The Art Of The Start. I would have to say that the book is worthwhile reading and has plenty of useful pointers. I specially liked the chapters about positioning , bootstraping, and BP.

In fact I am working on the market research and analysis sections of the BP, I am enjoying thinking exclusively in business/marketing terms.

A couple of days ago I was exchanging some ideas on usenet and one of these extreme programming (XP) evangelists attempted a Karl-Rove like attack on my views. He should be more thorough with his thought process. I am still waiting for the counter reply. Anyways, he is like the alter-ego of somebody I knew a while back.

I particularly think that the MS and Nokia delays should put a big "NOT VIABLE ANYMORE, please rethink" stamp on XP and outsourcing.

The current way QA is handled reminds me the way native polynesians dealt with the diseases misionaries brought with them: the natives dug themselves in the beach shores to reduce the the fever (efect) but did not elimnate the diseases (cause).

The eclipse/java product is coming along. I am working on array data generation. It will go through the GUI also, even for multidimensional arrays...


Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Moving follies: The Epilogue

Well, Our things arrived. Delivered by a truck, even though we were charged sea-shipping in our invoice. Gotcha # 1, but there is little one can do after the household leaves home.

The nice english lad that delivered the household had the second hint: "the way we do it is by counting the number of items on the shipping list" The shiping list is the one that the people who picked up the goods signed with you. It is pointless to try to match the items in the list with the real items.

This is the key: the pick-up guys are not there to be nice or help you. They are there to list every single box into a book box (which is billed at a higher price than other types of boxes)

And also to pack as fast as possible, whether you are paying them or not. Given the way they packed our stuff, it is a miracle that half of the stuff did not break. They simply threw a lot of household inside boxes, period.

So if we were to do this again, we would have at least 2 or 3 people looking over the shoulder of these guys. They are not there to serve you but to serve the shipping company.

BTW, our "shipping" company was Echo Transworld. They are based out of New York City.

Never use them. We have plenty of pictures to document their work.