News from the World of Software Development and QA — September 2016

It’s that time of the month where we take a look at a few of the interesting news stories September brought to the overall software development and QA world. If you are interested in checking out last month’s stories — including news about the growing outsourced testing market — simply click on this link. Hopefully, this month’s news digest provides some insight into your own programming and testing activities.

Microsoft deploying a Cloud-based Bug Detector

The growth of Cloud-based testing services has been previously noted in this blog. Microsoft continues to emphasize the Cloud as part of its business line; most notably in their Azure commercial Platform as a Service product. The company also is making available a Cloud-based automated bug detector, known as Project Springfield

Springfield is a Cloud-based “fuzz” testing system aimed at finding critical security bugs in applications. Redmond used the product internally for testing Windows, Office, and other Microsoft applications. A key component of the tool — known as SAGE — found nearly one-third of the critical security holes in Windows 7 before that operating system hit the market.

Project Springfield leverages AI routines to perform a host of “what if” tests on issues possibly causing an application to crash or to be hacked. The tool runs multiple times trying to hone it on what it feels are the most critical problems with an app.

Springfield runs on top of an Azure instance, offering the convenience of a Cloud-based application. In addition to SAGE, Microsoft includes a host of fuzz testing tools along with a dashboard and user interface making Springfield easy to use for those who aren’t security experts. It sounds like a tool worth exploring for many development shops.

Localization Bug hampers Videogame Release

Testing localization routines remains important for videogame developers offering their products on a worldwide scale. Last week, Atlus released a game for the Nintendo 3DS called Shin Megai Tensei IV: Apocalypse which contained text untranslated from the original Japanese language. According to the company, the QA testers were so good at the game; they didn’t encounter the situation where the Japanese text appeared on screen.

This speaks to the need to employ the right testing procedures to ensure full code coverage. Atlus doesn’t expect to fix the issue in the current, cartridge-based game, but the company is redoubling its efforts on localization testing for future releases.

CIOs need to champion the QA Role

This week, CIO Insight published a slideshow and article detailing how CIOs can influence the critical testing and QA functions at their organization. The slideshow content is based on a survey of CIOs made by HP and Capgemini/Sogeti.

Security concerns are the lead reason driving QA initiatives, followed closely by simply releasing higher quality software. CIOs of companies following Agile principles noted the need to involve QA engineers earlier in the SDLC — a point discussed earlier this year on this very blog. The study also reported more companies are performing load and performance testing on third-party Cloud-based services used in their applications.

The rest of the slideshow offered additional insights on the changing role of QA in the modern business world, especially considering the growth of IoT applications. The need for improved processes for testing mobile and multi-channel application was also expressed.

Keep coming back to the Betica Blog for additional insights and news about software development and quality assurance.

News from the Worlds of Software Development and QA — August 2016

Welcome to this month’s news digest where we take a look at a few of this month’s interesting stories from the QA and software development worlds. If you are interested in checking out some technology news from July — including the hottest technologies for software developers — simply follow this link. Hopefully, this month’s digest offers some insights relevant to your daily work.

Outsourced Software Testing Market to Grow

A recent study from Research and Markets noted the global outsourced software testing market is slated to grow at an annual rate of 10.8 percent through the end of the decade. Part of this growth is expected to be driven by a shift towards business outcome-based metrics which is a sign of the continued maturity of the overall quality assurance market as these outcomes are able to be defined more clearly.

The study reported some of these reportable business impacts include: customer satisfaction, client revenue, the length of the QA lifecycle, as well as the overall release time. Yet another Cloud-based service acronym — TaaS (Testing as a Service) — was also noted by the study. As businesses continue to eschew their own in-house IT functions for Cloud offerings, the growth of the outsourced QAaaS or TaaS market makes perfect sense.

SAP developing Software at a Faster Pace

One of the main reasons why enterprises continue to embrace modern software development methodologies and practices like DevOps and Continuous Deployment is to speed up the process of application enhancements and fixes. The German ERP software company, SAP, recently reported they enjoy a software development lifecycle four times faster than only a few years ago. This news was told to the Wall Street Journal.

Company CFO Luka Mucic described the faster nature of their SDLC. “A couple of years ago, SAP would have released a major update to their core business suite modules every two years. Nowadays we are down to half-yearly development cycles,” said Mucic. The use of Cloud-based services, automation, and leveraging modular software designs are the major reasons behind SAP’s process improvement.

No Man’s Sky swaps out their QA Team

The development company behind one of the more popular new videogames, No Man’s Sky, recently brought on a new QA team to help fix some critical bugs hampering gameplay, according to an article in IGN. This science-fiction title available for the PS4 and Windows platforms has garnered a lot of publicity for its open-ended storyline and a massive universe featuring over 18 quintillion unique planets to explore. Yes, that says “quintillion.”

Hello Games, the developer of the videogame, hopes to release a patch addressing some of the bugs and other issues. The new QA team is actually larger than the entire development staff, which makes one wonder how many software testers originally worked on the project. The most egregious bugs involve a player becoming stranded without their starship — a difficult proposition in such a large virtual universe.

A release date for the No Man’s Sky patch is still to be announced.

Keep visiting the Betica Blog for additional insights and news from the software development and testing world.

News from the Worlds of Software Development and QA — July 2016

Welcome to this month’s look at a few interesting stories over the previous few weeks from the worlds of software development and QA. Last month, the new continuous testing QA methodology and the hope for standardized software testing practices in the video game industry were some of the topics we covered. Read further to see if any of July’s news inspires your own development and testing efforts.

Leveraging the Scrum to improve the QA Process

Companies that are veterans of the Agile methodology typically use scrums to promote communication between developers and their business stakeholders. These daily stand-up meetings ensure project statuses get reported and important action items aren’t missed. In a July article for TechRepublic, Transworld Data President, Mary Shacklett, talks about the benefits gained including QA personnel in the scrum.

She describes a variety of software failures in her past that could have been prevented if only collaboration between QA and developers were improved. This needs to happen throughout a project, but it is especially vital at the beginning when application design and prototyping take place. In the past, we’ve talked about the importance of catching software (or design) errors early in the process, as the cost of fixing issues increases exponentially later in the SDLC.

Shacklett also feels both developers and QA engineers need to be involved with executing unit tests, a task typically falling to the developer who wrote the code in question. End users and business stakeholders also need to be involved at important points during the SDLC, most notably before the app (or enhancement) is deployed into production.

Popular Developer Phrases that annoy the QA Engineer

As we just noted, it is important that software engineers and QA professionals work well together on the same team. That doesn’t mean developers don’t have their pet sayings that annoy their software testing colleagues, as noted in an article in DZone. While humorous on the surface, they do reveal a need for better collaboration — something improving in the industry with the increased adoption of Agile. Here is a quick sample.

“But it works on my machine” — is a common refrain after a QA engineer finds a bug in code that probably passed the developer’s unit tests. Maybe that company needs to use a better environment manager, like Vagrant

“Are you sure you are testing the right version?” — which is a phrase potentially illustrating the poor management of versioning and builds.

Check out the DZone article for other similar examples of programmer-speak.

The Hottest Technologies for Software Developers

A recent survey of software engineers from Evans Data reveals the hot technologies currently in vogue with developers. Four technologies stood out from the rest of the pack. The Internet of Things was noted by 45 percent of the surveyed Big Data developers, while the Cloud is considered hot by 27 percent of all developers.

Over half of the data mining app developers are working on robotics applications, and nearly a quarter of all developers are involved in machine learning development.

It is surprising to note the importance of parsing massive amounts of data among IoT and robotics applications, which probably speaks to the higher adoption rate of those two technologies in the industrial sector compared to the home.

Come back to the Betica Blog for additional news and insights from the related worlds of software development and QA.