Monthly Archives: April 2010

St. Louis Visual Studio Launch Event

I’ll be speaking at the St. Louis Visual Studio Launch Event on May 5th here in St. Louis. I’ve got an hour to tell the ALM story which for anyone who knows me is nowhere near enough time. 😉
My abstract is…
Improving Software Development Across the Lifecycle with Visual Studio® 2010
High-functioning software development teams are all the same—explicit integration of functions, measurement of flow improvements, common ownership of problems and action on improvements, all traceable to customer and business value. Of course we all aspire to work on, or lead software development teams that can be described this way.  In this session you’ll learn how Visual Studio 2010 enables teams to improve their software development processes throughout the entire lifecycle by making it easier to understand and implement changes to an existing code base, drive tighter team collaboration across roles, stay on top of critical metrics with better reporting, and take action to mitigate issues early – all to ensure you are solving real business problems and achieving customer expectations.
Translated this means, I’ll be covering:
  • the new Architecture tools
  • the new testing tools
  • the new reporting capabilities
More information can be found here: Unfortunately, it’s all sold out! However, I can guarantee I (and others) will be speaking about the new features again at the St. Louis Day of .NET 2010.

Test Roles

There are several people involved in the development of software and several of them have quality assurance responsibilities. Job titles in our young industry are poorly defined, but I will try to list and define the roles as I see them.

Test Author

Test Runner


Developer in Test


I don’t remember when I first heard of the test author and test runner roles, but I’ve always like the idea of these specialties. A test author designs a test plan describing the approach used to test an application. They will often compose all of the test cases to be executed to ensure code coverage and fit to the lab environment. Test authors are highly experienced in testing software. Test Runners, in turn, are responsible for executing these test cases and, subsequently recording the test run results and any discovered bugs. Automated UI tests may be created by other role depending on their complexity.

Developers love to write code (and little else), but this doesn’t mean they shouldn’t be concerned and responsible for its quality. It is unfortunate most developers don’t understand the value of testing. In my opinion, developers must be responsible for writing automated unit tests to verify their code works as desired. Writing good automated unit tests requires knowledge of a testing framework and a testing mindset. It is a rare thing, but some companies have tackled this by specializing developers in writing code to test others’ code. These ‘developers in test’ have added a quality assurance mentality and master of testing tools to their development skills. I believe this is a growing trend as organizations continue to struggle with software application quality and maintenance. A developer in test works with QA in order to create frameworks to test difficult scenarios and generally speed up the execution of the more tedious test scenarios. It is important to note a developer in test is not just using an automated UI recorder or script. A developer in test is writing applications, frameworks, and coded tests in order to efficiently and sufficiently test an application. Additionally, a developer in test will create tests to verify and measure non-functional requirements like load, stress, capacity, and performance tests. Ideally, they can use these applications, frameworks, and tests across several applications.

In future posts, I will try to itemize the responsibilities of each of these roles.

STL Users Group & VS 2010

There are a couple of great events coming up here in St. Louis to help make developers aware of the features in Visual Studio 2010.
Mark Mydland is in town the evening of the official launch date (April 12). He’s an expert in the testing tools, which I believe are really compelling in the 2010 version. I feel very lucky that I will get him that morning at Scottrade for a few hours to speak to my dev team and others.
On April 29, the guys from .NET Rocks will be in town. I listen to their podcasts frequently on my Zune while driving to work. They are also celebrating the VS 2010 launch by driving around the country. They promise to have a special guest, invite an attendee on to the show, and give away a bunch of cool stuff!
Find more information here: