Monthly Testing Newsletter -- March 2000

Software Development Process (requirements, project management, methodology, etc.)

Editorial: Taking the Crunch Out of Crunch Time

With a little more planning, managers can encourage an environment that allows for good, speedy work.

Article: Windows 2000: The Inside Story

This story is an overview of the development and testing process for the recently released Windows 2000 OS told from an insider’s perspective. It has some interesting ideas/concepts about project management, development, and testing approaches and methods.

Article: UML simplifies project notation

Developing business applications that use different technologies is like trying to hold a meeting among people with completely different agendas: It's possible, but you're just as likely to fail as to succeed. What you need is a well-designed plan before you begin. Similarly, if you don't have a solid outline to build from, your application development team could waste time and money spinning its wheels --and, worst of all -- you might end up with a solution that can't address your business needs.


Software Testing & Quality

White Paper: System Test Pattern Language

This is a white paper on using "design patterns" in software testing. Although the emphasis of this white paper is on "design patterns" applied to software testing, it's a very good article on the kinds of tests and testing approaches that you may want to consider when evaluating how to test a particular application/system.

(For more details on design patterns in general, not only for testing, see and

Article: Testing Web Applications

This article evaluates the differences between testing web applications and web pages. Interesting perspective. - three

Article: A Soft Systems Approach to Information Systems Quality

This article discusses two approaches to determining and evaluating the quality of software delivered by an IT organization: "production view" and "use view". The basic concept is the perspective of evaluating quality: from the IT perspective or the user aspect. Very interesting and enlightening reading.



Tutorial: Enterprise JavaBeans 101: Server-Side Components

Together, these two solutions provide a universal integration and enabling technology for web-based applications — JavaBeans for client-side components and Enterprise JavaBeans for server-side components.

Tutorial: Introduction to Enterprise JavaBeans™ Technology

Online Book: Thinking in Java

A complete and comprehensive online book about Java programming. This book is a good introductory text even for those who don't have a strong programming background. It is available in a variety of formats, including HTML and PDF. (A rough draft of the 2nd edition is also available at the site.)


Career Development/Miscellaneous

Article: Take the initiative and succeed

It's a simple concept, really, but often overlooked: Get to know the customer well to drive the business forward. For CEOs and the like, the strategic necessity is obvious. For middle management and staff, the necessity may seem less apparent -- but is just as crucial for the welfare of the business.


Telecommunications Industry

Article: Despite regulatory setback, SBC furthers enterprise push

When local phone giant SBC last week ran into trouble with federal regulators during its push into the long-distance market, it was likely just a minor setback in the company's journey to the enterprise market.

Article: Six Companies Form Fiber-Optic Network

Six power companies and telecommunications firms said on Tuesday they had formed a fiber-optic cable venture to serve smaller cities from Chicago to New York, marking another step by utilities into telecommunications. Analysts said the new company, America's Fiber Network, was aimed at tapping into the hot market for high-speed fiber-optic cable providing wholesale Internet and telecommunications services.

Article: Transforming the Network Core

Even in an industry that continually surprises, network equipment vendors are about to stand Moore’s Law on its head. New technologies entering the network core will not only allow carriers to add more capacity and distance, but also the intelligence necessary to build more resilient networks while eliminating the need for traditional SONET gear and ATM switches. The impetus for building a more efficient network that lowers the cost per bit comes from the anticipated increase in data traffic resulting from the deployment of cable modems, digital subscriber line (DSL) and broadband wireless, as well as the demand for higher speed services based on traditional time division multiplexing (TDM) technology.


Useful Utilities

BinText (Free – Windows 9x/NT – 16kB)

This handy little (<20kB!) utility will display all text strings (ASCII, Unicode, and resource strings) in a file. It's very useful for looking at an executable/binary file to determine what types of error messages may be displayed by the application, so that you can prepare appropriate test cases to elicit them.

DMEXMenu (Free – Windows 9x/NT – 722kB)

This handy freeware Windows Explorer context (right-mouse click) menu utility provides the following enhancements:

    • Renaming and changing multiple dates at once
    • Select files by masks and wildcards
    • Create subdirectories with one click
    • Open DOS windows using the current directory
    • Substitute local directories as drives in NT
    • Open multiple Explorer windows side by side and/or tile all existing Explorer windows

ATNotes (Free – Windows 9x/NT – 179kB)

ATNotes is a little utility that allows you to create Post-It style notes on your desktop. The font and background color of each note is configurable, so you can color-code your notes. Some of the other useful features are alarms so your notes can act as reminders, hot-key support to quickly access your notes list, and "Always on Top" capability.


Productivity Tips

Quick access to commonly used folders in Office (or any other) applications

Many of the Office applications automatically default to the C:\My Documents folder in the Open and Save As dialogs. This is often convenient, but many times you'll want to save to or open from another folder. Rather than having to type the name of the desired folder or slowly navigate through a long chain of directories, simply create shortcuts to the commonly used directories in the My Documents folder. Then double-clicking on shortcut in the Open or Save As dialog will take you directly to the desired location.

Access WCG Outlook e-mail and calendar from anywhere via web browser

Access to your WCG Outlook e-mail and calendar is available via a web browser from anywhere. To use it, simply point your web browser to (Note that this is an https [secure HTTP] server.) Enter you network ID and press <Enter>. In the Enter Network Password dialog box, you may need to enter the network domain (e.g., WCG) as well as your network ID in the User name field. For example, wcg\tdjones.

In addition, you may bypass the login dialog (very insecure since your network ID and password will be stored on your system in plain text and anyone can use this link to get to your e-mail with a single click!) by creating an Internet shortcut similar to the following:

To use this shortcut, simply replace domain with the appropriate login domain (usually wcg), username (two occurrences) with your network ID and password with your network password. A more secure alternative is to use the following shortcut:

Just replace username with your network ID. This method will take you directly to the login dialog without compromising your password.

Create drive shortcuts to frequently used directories

If you have directories that you use frequently, Windows 9x and NT have a little known command called SUBST (short for "substitute") that you can use to create drive shortcuts (really mappings) to these directories. For example, to map drive L: to your My Documents folder enter the following command at the DOS/command prompt (or in the Run dialog):

subst l: "c:\my documents"

Better yet, add these lines to your AUTOEXEC.BAT file (or create a batch file, say MAP.BAT, with all of your favorites and put it in your Startup folder).