Systems Integrity Bulletin

December 2000

IT Enterprise Applications

Systems Integrity Group



Software Testing

Software Development Process
Software Testing & Quality

Shared Content

Career Development/Miscellaneous
Useful Utilities
Productivity Tips
Just For Fun

Software Testing

Software Development Process

Tutorial: Testing for Programmers

This paper is a set of presentation slides along with the associated commentary from a half-day course that Brian Marick (a recognized testing expert) gives to developers on testing techniques. It focuses on what is traditionally called unit and module integration testing with a few interesting and useful twists. This article is highly recommended.

Editorial: Write stuff for users

If an IT project team doesn't understand the requirements for a system, it doesn't matter if it's using the latest object-oriented methodology or development tools. Ideally, the team could create a requirements document entirely on its own, but since systems are built at the request of business-unit end users, the document can't be created without their input. So, why not have the business users document the requirements, with the IT project team reviewing them for completeness and consistency?,1199,NAV47_STO54133,00.html

Article: Karl Wiegers Describes Ten Requirements Traps to Avoid

Found by Tim Cotton

The path to quality software begins with excellent requirements. Slighting the processes of requirements development and management is a common cause of software project frustration and failure. This article describes ten common traps that software projects can encounter if team members and customers don’t take requirements seriously. I describe several symptoms that might indicate when you’re falling victim to each trap, and I offer several solutions to control the problem.

Article: Object Concurrency Control 101

Regardless of the technology involved, you need to synchronize changes to ensure the transactional integrity of your source.


Software Testing & Quality

Site: Software QA and Testing Resource Center

Found by Hong Nguyen

This site includes a number of useful resources for testers. In particular, the "frequently asked questions" (FAQ) section addresses some of the common, relevant questions that testers may have. (It's a much more practical set of FAQs than the news group FAQ.) The site is well organized and has a very usable index.

Article: Testing Axioms

This article lists the axioms, or truisms, related to software testing. Think of them as the "rules of the road" or the "facts of life" for software testing and software development. Each axiom is a little tidbit of knowledge that helps put some aspect of the overall software testing process into perspective.{326F8981-BADD-4724-AF6D-A8A873883B24}&t={6373D50E-EF0B-4084-B8A7-032653E262E2}&product_id={9BFD18B0-0810-4943-BEC8-F5E84F35EB05}

Editorial: What price quality?

Corporate it executives today face ever-increasing demands to show a return on information technology. In cost-benefit analysis, however, the cost of quality is seldom considered. But this is changing as the cost of quality (CoQ) principles applied routinely and effectively in manufacturing emerge as important factors in the application value equation. The "good" part of the good, fast, cheap equation is now getting its due along with improvement programs such as GE Information Services' Six Sigma enterprise-wide quality assurance program, total quality management (TQM) and the like.

Article: Y2K bug bites -- one year late

Part of Norway's railways came to a standstill on New Year's Eve after the Millennium computer bug hit a year later than expected. The bug was discovered when none of the country's national railway's new 16 airport express trains or 13 high-speed, long-distance Signatur trains would start early in the morning of December 31.

Shared Content


Reference: Williams Employee Shuttle Schedule

With the weather getting cooler (colder?!), it's handy to have the shuttle schedule for those trips to between Williams office buildings.

Reference: Unix Commands Cheat Sheets

This set of "cheat sheets" for Unix commands includes information for most of the common tasks that a typical Unix user would need, such as ls, cp, and ps. It includes concise descriptions of the commands and useful/relevant examples of each. Cheat sheets are provided in MS Word and Acrobat PDF format.


Career Development/Miscellaneous

Article: Business QuickStudy: Shared Services

Shared services are handled by an organization that's been formed to consolidate and support redundant functions, such as accounts payable, for disparate business units. By leveraging economies of scale from a common IT infrastructure, such a group is able to market specific services to business units. [Editor's note: Article includes comments from WCG IT's own Andy Dail.],1199,NAV47_STO54317,00.html


Useful Utilities

Tera Term Pro (Free – Windows 9x/NT – 943kB)

Tera Term is a nice little freeware Telnet client. It's not fancy, but it's quite configurable and it usually gets the job done. Some of the nice features that it has over the standard Windows Telnet client are configurable scrollback buffer; user-selectable font style, size, and color; keyboard mapping (so "Delete" key really works!); saves list of hosts; multiple configuration file support; and KERMIT, XModem, and ZModem file transfer support.

Copy Path (Free – Windows 9x/NT – 40kB)

Copy Path is a Windows shell extension that adds an item to the Windows Explorer context (right-click) menu to put the file or path name of the selected item (file or directory) on the clipboard. This is very handy when you need to include the full path to a file in a document or e-mail message. It supports copying just the file (or directory) name, the full path, and even the UNC path name for items on the network. Also, for network items, it can copy the UNC name in URL format (i.e., "file://…"). And if that weren't enough, it even allows four user-defined copy formats.

EmailStripper (Free – Windows 9x/NT – 164kB)

Found by Jeff Woodlee

EmailStripper is a free program for cleaning the ">" and other formatting characters out of your emails. It will restore "forwarded" or "replied" emails back to their original state so they're easier to read.


Productivity Tips

Change default date format in SQL Navigator

By default, SQL Navigator displays dates in the standard Oracle format of DD-MON-YY (e.g., 03-OCT-00. You can change the default format in SQL Navigator by:

  1. Select View | Preferences à General… from the menu.
  2. In the Preferences window, select the Session tab.
  3. Select or enter the desired format (DY, MM/DD/YYYY HH24:MI:SS is recommended) in the Default date format field. (See Brief Introduction to SQL Navigator for additional information on date formatting in Oracle.)
  4. Press OK. You may be prompted to apply changes to current session. Press No, because you are unlikely to have necessary privileges.

Changes will be applied to next session (database connection) that you make.

Create a "Paste Unformatted" macro in MS Word

In MS Word, when text is pasted into a document, it retains the formatting (font style/size; bold, italic, or underline attributes; etc.) of the source text (other Word document, e-mail message, etc.). Usually, you would like to maintain the formatting consistency of the target document. Here's a simple Word VBA macro to paste the text "unformatted" (i.e., using the current document formatting). To add the macro:

  1. Select Tools | Macro à Macros… from the Word main menu.
  2. In the Macros dialog, enter the name PasteUnformatted (notice no space) in the Macro name field. Choose " (global template" in the Macros in list. Press the Create button.
  3. In the Microsoft Visual Basic editor, paste (no pun intended!) the following lines into the macro editor at the cursor location:
  4. Selection.Collapse Direction:=wdCollapseStart

    Selection.PasteSpecial DataType:=wdPasteText

  5. Choose File | Save Normal from the editor menu. Close the editor window.
  6. Select Tools | Customize… from the Word main menu.
  7. In the Customize window, select the Commands tab. Select Macros from the Categories list. In the Commands list, click on the Normal.NewMacros.PasteUnformatted item and drag it to the desired location on the toolbar. Right-click on the new toolbar button to change the Name and icon (Edit Button Image…), if desired.

Use the MS Word Work menu for quick access to often used documents and commands

MS Word has a little-known (and little-used) feature called the Work menu. The Work menu allows you to create a list of often used documents and commands which can be accessed from a top-level menu. The Work menu is not enabled in MS Word by default; to enable it:

  1. Select Tools | Customize… from the Word main menu.
  2. In the Customize dialog, select the Commands tab. In the Categories list, select Built-In Menus.
  3. Choose Work from the Commands list and drag it up to the menu bar. Place the menu in the desired location. (If you prefer, you can add the Work menu to one of your toolbars instead of the main menu bar by dragging it to the desired toolbar instead of the menu bar.)
  4. Press Close to exit the Customize dialog.

To add a document to the Work menu, open the desired document and select Add to Work Menu from the Work menu. The advantage of the Work menu over the Most Recently Used (MRU) files list on the File menu is that it is static and doesn't get overwritten when you open other documents. In addition to documents, you can add frequently used commands or macros to the Work menu (as well as any other menu!) by dragging the desired item from the Customize dialog to the desired location in the menu.

To remove an item from the Work menu, press <Ctrl>+<Alt>+- (minus). The mouse cursor will change to a large minus sign. Select the item you want to remove from the Work menu. (Warning: The minus cursor will remove any menu item or toolbar button from any menu or toolbar, so select carefully!)


Just For Fun

Humor (?): The Society for the Preservation of the Other 25 Letters of the Alphabet

This site is a tongue-in-cheek look at the overuse of the letter "E" as a prefix to (seemingly) every other word under the sun to show a relationship to the Internet and cyberworld. While it seems humorous, these folks are quite serious in their crusade.

Mental Exercise: Calculate the day of the week for any date

This site provides the steps and some neat shortcuts on calculating the day of the week for any date (on the Gregorian calendar) mentally in just a few seconds. Amaze your friends!

Humor: The T.W.I.N.K.I.E.S. Project

This site is one of those famous in Internet lore. It consists of some experiments done by college students on everyone's favorite snack: Twinkies. While the humor value on this site is very high, the methods and techniques used in the experiments are quite rigorous.