Recently I am playing the following technologies (toys):

  1. Tornado Web – Not sure how long will Apache + PHP last. Time to learn Python.
  2. Tokyo Cabinet & Tyrant – Another one of my long term plans to step away from SQL.
  3. PHP API for Tokyo Tyrant — I decide to write my own because I cannot find a good one.
  4. Moving my development platform from Windows to FreeBSD. My servers have been already on FreeBSD for many years. I think now is a good time to move my desktop systems to FreeBSD as well. Why not Linux? Oh Well…
  5. LUA – I may pick up Lua if time is permitted.

Looks like I will have a busy time other than shoveling the snow this Winter.

–Derrick

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Today, my co-worker found that the web-application he developed worked only in Firefox, and it didn’t work in Internet Explorer(IE). He immediately asked me if we should ignore the IE users or not.

I know that he was working on JQuery(Javascript). It is not surprised that IE does not support the standard JQuery. However, it doesn’t mean that we can simply remove our support to IE users. In fact, IE still have more than 55% of market share today, while Firefox have around 30% only.(See here for more information) It’s too early(and not responsible) to ignore such a large user group.

So, after he complained about how fxxking the IE was for an hour, I tried to find out that the problem. I found that the problem came from his code rather than from IE. He had an extra tag in his code. Firefox was so smart to catch the error and ignore it. That’s why it only worked in Firefox, but not in IE.

So, here are what I’ve learned today:

  • The error catching function introduced in Firefox is so good. But at the same time, it makes some developers lazier by not verifying the quality of their works. They will think it is your problem if you are using IE.
  • IE sucks, but it is not an excuse of leaving the IE users behind.
  • Complaining has nothing to do to improve the problem. Talk is cheap, do it.

Next time before you complain to your manager about how fxxking the IE is, think twice.

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Recently I developed several projects using Ruby on Rails.  One of the cool features of it is the built-in test tools. With this amazing tool, I can test my web page such as data validation in few seconds by myself. It reminds me the time how a software was tested in the company I worked for previously.

In the formal company I worked for, they had a very well Quality Assurance Team for testing the software functionality(The ratio of developer to QA is about 3:2). Usually we (developer) need to come up many test cases for them (e.g., testing the data field with positive, negative or invalid value) because the QA team does not have any technical background. Other than that, the QA team would only focus on the GUI level testing, such as whether this control is aligned with the label or not etc. One of the key components that has been ignored is the stress test.

I still remember that I developed a resource-consuming feature, and I was worrying about its impact of overall performance when many uses are using this feature at the same time. So I talked with my QA and see what he think. Initially I expected that he would run a stress test (e.g., simulating 100 thousands of users to use the feature at the same time), and guess what his answer?

I can schedule an appointment with the rest of the QA team, we can sit down together and try to use your feature at the same time.

No, this is not a joke. In fact, about a month later, someone from other application team really does something fancy about it. They sent out a mass email and ask people to sign up. They end up having about 900 uses to use the application at the same time. That’s about 1/3 of the whole population in the company!

I think it is kind of stupid to ask 1/3 of the whole company to do a simple test, which can be done using computer automatically! Think about how expensive is the test:

900 people x $40/hr x 2 hour = $72,000

With this amount of money, they can probably hire one to two QAs to work on the test for a year!

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