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 World of QA — April 2016

QA plays a vital role in how software gets developed no matter the industry. Here is a look at a few interesting news stories from April related to software quality assurance. If you also want to check out last month’s news, take a look at the March blog post.

QA should have the Power to delay the Release of Video Games

The video game industry obviously depends on the QA role to release a product free of bugs and other gameplay issues. Considering the social media-driven gaming world, news about a buggy title spreads like wildfire within a day or two. The dustbin of video gaming history is filled with companies who gave short-shrift to testing.

A leader of a video gaming testing firm feels QA needs to have a say in when video games are finally released. Andy Robson of Testology spoke earlier in April at the TIGA QA, Localization and Customer Support Summit held in London. “QA should have the power to say this game isn’t ready. We’ve had times when there has been hundreds of issues still logged on our database – but the game has still been released. We need to be given the time to fix these,” said Robson.

Robson notes that marketing pressures ultimately force games to be released before they are properly vetted. It is an arguably unnecessary risk taken by major video game publishers. Many companies simply treat gamers as another QA layer; making final fixes to bug-laden software using post-release patches.

VR Gaming Interfaces complicate Quality Assurance

Ever since The Lawnmower Man hit movie theatres over two decades ago, virtual reality has been expected to enter the technology mainstream. Recently, VR control has reappeared in the video gaming world, and its presence is adding complexity to an already difficult QA role.

Because of these new controller requirements, QA departments have to redesign their testing labs to account for VR headsets and other associated hardware, which is slowing down the quality assurance process. “The VR testing space has been redesigned and rebuilt multiple times throughout the past 12 months and we expect that there will be more redesigning and reconfiguration throughout the next year,” noted VMC’s Kirstin Whittle. 

Considering the applications for VR outside of gaming — the military, surgical, and CAD use-cases are notable — expect QA shops in a variety of industries to consider adding VR testing capabilities to their toolbox over the next few years.

NASDAQ introduces New “Validator” QA Platform

When QA problems happen in the world of stock trading, the financial risks are paramount — an issue we previously noted on the Betica Blog. As one of the world’s largest stock exchanges, NASDAQ is taking the steps to ensure these problems are mitigated by launching a new API-independent QA platform known as NASDAQ Validator. The platform’s audience is expected to be various financial exchanges, clearinghouses, and depositories.

Validator includes a suite containing both manual and automated test tools suitable for the capital markets industry. It focuses on speeding up the manual testing process while also simplifying its use, allowing for validation by a larger stakeholder group. The system interfaces with different securities trading systems from NASDAQ and other providers.

Lars Ottersgård, NASDAQ’s Executive Vice President and Head of Market Technology, commented on the new platform. “By offering Nasdaq Validator to marketplaces worldwide, we are squarely addressing the absolute necessity for robust QA processes, while reducing expenditures and shortening the go-to-market timetable,” said Ottersgård.

Stay tuned for future looks into the wide world of software quality assurance in News from the World of QA here at the Betica Blog.