Gmail And Dots

This week I was on the phone with my insurer. It was Saturday and I had to say my name, my address, my birthday and my bank account to identify me as me. I asked insurer in future to contact me via e-mail because during workday I mostly cannot answer the phone, because I work as a trainer with full class of students.

  • she: please spell your email address
  • me: kristine dot <rest of my gmail address>
  • she: your phone number
  • me: we are on the phone right now, you know my phone number
  • she: sorry, I have to register this kind of information. this is for Saturday calls only.
  • me: ….. +49 <numbers>
  • she: do you have a dot in your email address? is there any capitals?
  • me: (i spelled it and you did not listen) it is gmail address, it does not matter. And email addresses are not case sensitive.
  • she: no, you are wrong, it matters!

I almost forgot about this conversation, but today got reminded by Netflix scam story. I wrote a year ago how handy it is that Gmail finally decided to ignore the dot and sell it as a feature. I was thinking as a tester, not as a user. But James is right, Google never informed me that I have infinite set of email addresses. If users does not know, and services, who collect my email address does not know it, then we are back to: it’s a bug not a feature! again.

As a tester I will keep using Gmail dot ignorance feature, but as a user I will pay more attention and write a mental note to myself about possible misuse.

 

 

Testing Personas

James wrote a nice post about test data and inspired me to write my approach to this topic.

In Germany “Max (Maximillian) Mustermann” is a tipical placeholder for a name. You can find examples of passports, bank cards, driving licences, CV and many other with this name.

Fun fact – person with name Max Mustermann really exists.

When I see tests from developers, it usually consist of: test test, teststraße 1, Teststadt 12345. Nothing wrong with that, but I cannot work like this,  after 2 weeks I will not be able to remember what did I test with this test user. So I came up with test personas, inspired from my family and colleagues. Here few of them mostly for bondary, layout and data mapping testing.

Names

Anna Jautrīte Broņislava Pilz

My 90 years old greataunt is German, but born in Latvia in times when it was typical to give three given names for a child. Since WWII she lives in Germany and uses only her first name on daily basis. I was next to her as her hand bag was stolen in Berlin during our round trip. I guided her to the police office and experienced the situation with her full name. Police officers had trouble to squeeze it into the form. The field was simply too small for it.

María Dolores Martínez Ruiz and Juan Pablo Fernández de Calderón García-Iglesias

Several years ago I worked in a small company, whos 50 employees spoke 14 different native languages and none of them was English. We worked on products which main functionaly was based on data mapping. One of my colleagues came from Columbia and had trouble with his name. The system mixed up his last name with one of his given names. Here some information about traditional spanish names.

Calligenia Ioánnou Papadopoúlou

If I want to test bondaries, but not overact, than I use Greek names, which typicaly are long.

Jörg-Christian Müller

Given name with hypen. One of my developers had a name with hypen and in one of his tests he uses his own name and found a bug. Since then name with hypen is on my list.

Addresses

Similar to names I use long, hypened and typical street names. In case I test something for abroad and not sure about address layout there, I search for restaurants in the specific country and use their addresses as a test address.

If I test something for ecommerce, especially for B2B customers, than I check if they have defined areas for sale representatives and use edge cases on daily bases. People tend to forget about special implementations – my test personas saved developer time already several times.

E-Mail Addresses

As I started my test career one of project colleagues showed me www.mailinator.com – free tool with free access inbox. “Isn’t it great?!Everyone uses it.” he added. I was not so big fan of it, I saw security issues everywhere. If you test an emails, than there is some information in it. For example, link to your test system. Are you sure you want it to be exposed?

Instead of that I have variety of registered email addresses, but I also use following two workarounds.

GMail Address with a dots

For example, if you have gmail address: gracehooper@gmail.com than you also can use: grace.hooper@gmail.com, gr.ace.hooper@gmail.com or grace.h.o.o.p.e.r@gmail.com – because GMail simply ignores dots.

Plus sign “+” in every e-mail address you have

For example, my email address is kristine@test.org. In this case I can use kristine+anna@test.org and kristine+calligenia@test.org to seperate my test cases by test persona.

What About Agile

I am big fan of Dilbert.

I like how in few pictures he captures the essence of software development, but in the same time I am ashamed, because I am part of it.

My trouble lately (several years to be specific) is agile. I have no trouble with methodology itself, but the way it is used. I struggled around till I saw this:

I did small research – talked to people and by the way asked about their info source on the subject. Some of business people really said that they have no idea what it is, but they learned that that’s the thing what sells. Agile is new sexy!

I start to think, how could I explain in small talk, how I understand agile and why it is worth to get to know more about it. Trade magazines often points out the speed as a key value, but never tells you how to get the speed. By pushing just accelerator you will not make very far on bend and bumpy road.

So let’s go back to the basics. First value on agile manifesto says:

Individuals and interactions over processes and tools

Fifth principle of agile manifesto:

Build projects around motivated individuals.
Give them the environment and support they need,
and trust them to get the job done.

Individuals, motivated individuals… and trust them! How about that?! The trust. Whom do you trust?

I did small survey (that’s the thing I always do if I am on something) and got shocking answers. My responders do not trust their colleagues and will not address the issue, no matter that they agreed that trust among the colleagues is very important.

As more as I think about the trust as much, I think that may be it is the source of my struggle. Current society are so focused on career and success that we forget about individuals and trust at a workspace. This project is just a step to next big thing.

As a tester I wonder quite a lot about things, what I thought is common sense, but turned out that it is just my sense and I have to explain it to others or write a bug report :) . I think that trust among colleagues is nothing agile-unique. And also satisfied customers and working software should not be something extraordinary – isn’t it something “by default”? Why we need manifesto for that? And if someone wrote manifesto for all that, why do we grade it by doing not properly?