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Four short links: 24 February 2014

By Nat Torkington
February 24, 2014

Understanding Understanding Source Code with Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (PDF) — we observed 17 participants inside an fMRI scanner while they were comprehending short source-code snippets, which we contrasted with locating syntax error. We found a clear, distinct activation pattern …

Iterate on Performance

By Lara Swanson
February 11, 2014

The two most important tasks to ensure your site remains fast are benchmarking and iterating on your site’s page load time. Quick performance wins can be celebrated today, but the health of your site will thrive with routine check-ins and …

Four short links: 4 February 2014

By Nat Torkington
February 4, 2014

UX Fundamentals, Crash Course — 31 posts introducing the fundamental practices and mindsets of UX. Why We Love Persona And You Should Too — Mozilla’s identity system is an interesting offering. Fancy that, you might have single-sign on without Single …

The Amazon whisperer, invisible interfaces, FDA vs 23andMe, and robots usher in a new polical order

By Jenn Webb
November 27, 2013

The Radar team does a lot of sharing in the backchannel. Here’s a look at a selection of stories and innovative people and companies from around the web that have caught our recent attention. Have an interesting tidbit to contribute …

Upward Mobility: The Terror of iOS App Submission

By James Turner
November 18, 2013

One of the major topics of my Enterprise iOS book is how to plan release schedules around  Apple’s peril-filled submission process. I don’t think you can count yourself a truly bloodied iOS dev until you’ve gotten your first rejection notice …

Documentation as Testing

By Simon St. Laurent
October 30, 2013

“If you’re explaining, you’re losing.” That gem of political wisdom has always been hard for me to take, as, after all, I make my living at explaining technology. I don’t feel like I’m losing. And yet… It rings true. It’s …

Knowing and Understanding Your Audience

By Laurie Petrycki
October 18, 2013

I had the opportunity to sit down with Laura Klein (@lauraklein) and talk about the importance of creating effective user experiences. Laura is a UX expert and consultant. She stresses the need to figure out what works by talking to …

Measuring Mobile Performance

By Manish Lachwani
October 9, 2013

Now that more companies have basic mobile strategies in place, they are turning their attention to the issue of performance. Mobile developers are thinking about how fast their apps and mobile webpages load and—more importantly—what they can do to make …

What Developers Can Learn from

By James Turner
October 4, 2013

The first highly visible component of the Affordable Health Care Act launched this week, in the form of the site. Theoretically, it allows citizens, who live in any of the states that have chosen not to implement their own …

Four short links: 22 August 2013

By Nat Torkington
August 20, 2013

bletchley (Google Code) — Bletchley is currently in the early stages of development and consists of tools which provide: Automated token encoding detection (36 encoding variants); Passive ciphertext block length and repetition analysis; Script generator for efficient automation of HTTP …

Four short links: 8 August 2013

By Nat Torkington
August 8, 2013

Reducing the Roots of Some Evil (Etsy) — Based on our first two months of data we have removed a number of unused CA certificates from some pilot systems to test the effects, and will run CAWatch for a full …

NoSQL Choices: To Misfit or Cargo Cult?

By Eric Redmond
July 29, 2013

Retreading old topics can be a powerful source of epiphany, sometimes more so than simple extra-box thinking. I was a computer science student, of course I knew statistics. But my recent years as a NoSQL (or better stated: distributed systems) …

Test-driven Infrastructure with Chef

By Courtney Nash
June 10, 2013

If you’re a System Administrator, you’re likely all too familiar with the 2:35am PagerDuty alert. “When you roll out testing on your infrastructure,” says Seth Vargo, “the number of alerts drastically decreases because you can build tests right into your …

How to Get Fast, Cheap Feedback on Your Product with Tiny Tests

By Laura Klein
June 4, 2013

There’s a lot of advice about how to do great user research. I have some pretty strong opinions about it myself. But, as with exercise, the best kind of research is the kind that you actually DO. So, in the …

UX Is about Much More than Making Stuff Look Pretty

By Mary Treseler
May 9, 2013

Travis Lowdermilk (@tlowdermilk) is a software developer who recently joined Microsoft as UX Designer for Visual Studio. He hosts the Windows Developer Show and advocates for User-Centered Design (UCD). Travis is the author of User-Centered Design: A Developer’s Guide to …

Upward Mobility: Unit Testing Core Data

By James Turner
May 6, 2013

One of the more common issues that arises in creating OCUnit tests in iOS is how to test code that uses Core Data. There are several challenges, but with a little foresight, you can be sailing right along. The first …

Four short links: 10 January 2013

By Nat Torkington
January 10, 2013

How To Make That One Thing Go Viral (Slideshare) — excellent points about headline writing (takes 25 to find the one that works), shareability (your audience has to click and share, then it’s whether THEIR audience clicks on it), and …

Four short links: 10 December 2012

By Nat Torkington
December 10, 2012

RE2: A Principled Approach to Regular Expressions — a regular expression engine without backtracking, so without the potential for exponential pathological runtimes. Mobile is Entertainment (Luke Wroblewski) — 79% of mobile app time is spent on fun, even as desktop …

Tools for test-driven development in Scala

By Andy Oram
October 17, 2012

Scala, a language designed for well-structured and readable programs, is richly provisioned with testing frameworks. The community has adopted test-driven development (TDD) and behavior-driven development (BDD) with zeal. These represent the baseline for trustworthy code development today. TDD and BDD …

Four short links: 11 October 2012

By Nat Torkington
October 11, 2012

ABalytics — dead simple A/B testing with Google Analytics. (via Dan Mazzini) Fastest Rubik Cube Solver is Made of Lego — it takes less than six seconds to solve the cube. Watch the video, it’s … wow. Also cool is …

The many sides to shipping a great software project

By Andy Oram
September 9, 2012

Chris Vander Mey, CEO of Scaled Recognition, and author of a new O’Reilly book, Shipping Greatness, lays out in this video some of the deep lessons he learned during his years working on some very high-impact and high-priority projects at …

Data Jujitsu: The art of turning data into product

Data Jujitsu: The art of turning data into product
By DJ Patil
July 17, 2012

Having worked in academia, government and industry, I’ve had a unique opportunity to build products in each sector. Much of this product development has been around building data products. Just as methods for general product development have steadily improved, so …

In defense of frivolities and open-ended experiments

By Bradley Voytek
June 8, 2012

Before you scoff at the pointlessness of yet another social network, web app, or project, remember that we don't always do the research or build the company that is immediately useful or profitable.

Four short links: 30 April 2012

By Nat Torkington
April 30, 2012

Chanko (Github) -- trivial A/B testing from within Rails. OpenMeetings -- Apache project for audio/video conferencing, screen sharing, whiteboard, calendar, and other groupware features. Low Innovation Internet (Wired) -- I disagree, I think this is a Louis CK Nobody's Happy moment. We renormalize after change and become blind to the amazing things we're surrounded by. Hundreds of thousands (millions?)...

Four short links: 8 December 2011

By Nat Torkington
December 8, 2011

Temporal Patterns of Happiness and Information in a Global Social Network: Hedonometrics and Twitter (PLOSone) -- Tweets involving the ‘fake news’ comedian Stephen Colbert are both happier and of a higher information level than those concerning his senior colleague Jon Stewart. By contrast, tweets mentioning Glenn Beck are lower in happiness than both Colbert and Stewart but comparable to...

Top Stories: October 17-21, 2011

Top Stories: October 17-21, 2011
By Mac Slocum
October 21, 2011

This week on O'Reilly: Andy Kirk explained why data, maps and animation work so well together, we discovered the connection between a game-playing robot and the future of mobile app testing, and we learned how The Guardian develops its data journalism.

Jason Huggins' Angry Birds-playing Selenium robot

Jason Huggins' Angry Birds-playing Selenium robot
By Timothy M. O'Brien
October 20, 2011

If you try to talk to Jason Huggins about Selenium, he'll probably do to you what he did to us. He'll bring his Arduino-based Angry Birds-playing testing robot to your interview and then he'll relate his invention to the larger problems of mobile application testing and cloud-based testing infrastructure.

Four short links: 26 July 2011

By Nat Torkington
July 26, 2011

Google Keyword Advertising -- interesting infographic about the most lucrative advertising categories for Google. #20 is an eye-opener! Javascript Koans (GitHub) -- an interactive learning environment that uses failing tests to introduce students to aspects of JavaScript in a logical sequence. (via Javascript Weekly) Etsy AB (GitHub) -- Etsy's framework for A/B testing, feature ramp up, and more. (via...

Don't put all your trust in mobile emulators

Don't put all your trust in mobile emulators
By Jenn Webb
July 6, 2011

Steve Souders, performance evangelist at Google, looks forward to the remote capabilities of debugging and testing, but he warns against putting too much faith in emulators.

How Netflix handles all those devices

How Netflix handles all those devices
By Audrey Watters
June 30, 2011

Matt McCarthy explains how WebKit and A/B testing play important roles on Netflix's many apps. Plus: Platform lessons Netflix has learned that apply to other developers and companies.

Process kills developer passion

By James Turner
May 10, 2011

The software industry is now full of "best practices," and many of them make sense when considered in isolation. But when you lump them all on the backs of developers, you end up with dispirited bureaucrats/bean counters.

Four short links: 10 January 2011

By Nat Torkington
January 10, 2011

Tools and Practices for Working Virtually -- a detailed explanation of how the RedMonk team works virtually. Twitter Accounts for All Stack Overflow Users by Reputation (Brian Bondy) -- superawesome list of clueful people. The Wonderful World of Early Computing -- from bones to the ENIAC, some surprising and interesting historical computation devices. (via John D. Cook) Overlapping Experiment...

Four short links: 5 January 2011

By Nat Torkington
January 5, 2011

Multi-tenant SaaS Checklist -- if you're used to building single-site web apps, this is a simple overview of the differences when building multi-tenanted web apps. Nominally about Java, ending with a plug for its author's product, but ignore all that and it's still useful. (via Abhishek Tiwari on Twitter) Angel Investing: My First Three Years (Paul Buchheit) -- interesting...

The Treachery of Emulators

By Antonio Holguin
October 5, 2010

Spread across a canvas lays layer over layer of color, with perfectly placed brush strokes of oil paint, to form what appears to be a ripe, succulent apple. Below the depiction of the freshly picked fruit is an inscription: “Ceci n’est pas une pomme” translated as “This is not an apple.”

iPod program helps school test scores

iPod program helps school test scores
By Jason Grigsby
September 14, 2010

An iPod pilot program in an Oregon classroom lifted math and reading scores. Results from that single pilot inspired the Canby School District to provide iPod Touch access to all its third graders.

Four short links: 10 June 2010

By Nat Torkington
June 10, 2010

Gallery: Digitizing the Past and Present at the Library of Congress (BoingBoing) -- amazing pictures and stories about preserving and protecting the Library of Congress, it's papery past and its pixellated future. We can't afford any damage to anything," said Eric Hansen, chief of the Preservation Research and Testing Division. "Never take a sample; be completely nondestructive. ... We...

RIA Radio: 360|Flex Day 2: Elad Elrom, Kevin Hoyt and Renaun Erickson, Lee Brimelow and Terry Ryan, Michael Labriola and Jeff Tapper

By Garth Braithwaite
April 5, 2010

Earlier this month, RIA Radio was at 360|Flex in San Jose, CA to talk with experts and community members. On day two, the RIA Radio team sat down with Elad Elrom, Kevin Hoyt and Renaun Erickson, Lee Brimelow and Terry Ryan, and Michael Labriola and Jeff Tapper.

Counting Unique Users in Real-time with Streaming Databases

By Ben Lorica
November 11, 2009

As the web increasingly becomes real-time, marketers and publishers need analytic tools that can produce real-time reports. As an example, the basic task of calculating the number of unique users is typically done in batch mode (e.g. daily) and in many cases using a random sample from the relevant log files. If unique user counts can be accurately computed in...

5 Tips For Flash Unit Testing

By Jesse Freeman
November 9, 2009

Advanced Flash Tactics or AFTs are techniques that come from deep within the Flash Art Of War, the oldest Flash military treatise in the world. In this AFT I will go over - 5 Tips for Unit Testing. Unit Testing and Test Driven Development are a hot topics in the Flash community lately, especially on Twitter. A few weeks ago, after realizing how complex my F*CSS library was getting, I decided to go back and write FlexUnit test for the library in a hope to use TDD moving forward. Lets quickly talk about what TDD is:

Art of Application Performance Testing nominated for award by Automated Testing Institute

Art of Application Performance Testing nominated for award by Automated Testing Institute
By Andy Oram
October 8, 2009

The Art of Application Performance Testing has been nominated for an award by the Automated Testing Institute. Voting is open.

Agile testing and Beautiful Teams (giveaway)

By Andrew Stellman
August 22, 2009

Testing -- especially on agile projects -- has been coming up a lot lately. Jenny and I have have spent a lot of time talking and writing about the basic ideas behind testing. So we were really excited when Abby...

Functional Testing for RIAs on the iPhone

By Robi Sen
June 8, 2009

One of the greatest frustrations when building RIAs for mobile browsers such as the iPhone, Safari, Webkit for the Android and Palm, and even IE for Windows Mobile phones is the lack of functional testing tools. Yet if you are making a RIA that is complicated or used for critical work, it behooves you to develop some approach to testing that is not completely manual. Furthermore, if you are serious about performance, you need to make sure your application is working functionally so you can create performance profiles that reflect a solid working application.

Getting started with RIATest 2.0

By Tariq Ahmed
February 20, 2009

Who here has boat loads of dough to drop on functional testing tools? Not many do, especially in these tough economic times. But there is hope! With RIATest 2.0, this powerful product's mission is to bring user interface test automation to the masses with a low cost price point. In this article we take a look at how it works and how you can get started with improving the quality of your software.

Choosing an Appropriate Performance Testing Tool, an Excerpt from The Art of Application Performance Testing

Choosing an Appropriate Performance Testing Tool, an Excerpt from The Art of Application Performance Testing
By Sara Peyton
January 28, 2009

The Art of Application Performance Testing arrived on my desk today. Indeed, application performance testing is a unique discipline that's crying out for its own set of industry standards. In this new title, author Ian Molyneaux offers his practical,...

Cross Browser Testing Cleans Code

By Lawrence O'Sullivan
December 11, 2008

Testing code in different browsers helps make your code cleaner because is it is more likely errors will be detected.

Finding a sweet spot for crowdsourcing: uTest outsources software testing

Finding a sweet spot for crowdsourcing: uTest outsources software testing
By Andy Oram
December 2, 2008

The promise of peer production seems to reach everywhere these days, but harnessing it is quite a trick. uTest seems to have corraled all the necessary elements. Their business model can be described quite simply: uTest signs up freelance testers for participating software development firms, who in turn pay each tester for each bug found. Anyone who wants to try peer production in his own industry can get some tips by studying how uTest and a company with some similarities, TopCoder, found their sweet spots.

Automated Testing and You, Self-Help for the Flex Developer: Part 2

By Michael Labriola
October 19, 2008

In part one of this article, we demonstrated how to create some basic and simple unit tests using Fluint. Those work well for very basic situations, but even an average Flex application will use events and have asynchronous aspects. This article will build on the last and demonstrate how to test systems with these concepts in mind. You will learn to write unit tests that wait for events to occur before continuing and whose success or failure may depend on something that happens sometime in the future.

Automated testing and you, self-help for the Flex developer: Part 1

By Michael Labriola
October 16, 2008

Software developers are a lazy group of people. It’s true. It’s what makes us good at our job. We have an intrinsic need to find an easier, or at least faster, way to do things. Of course, we also tend to be a stubborn group of people. It’s rare that someone can change our mind, we usually need to experience something ourselves to understand why it matters. That’s what this series of articles is about. I will tell you the reasons that my team writes tests. I will tell you what we get out of it. However, I will also show you that the barrier to entry is small and that writing tests is something you can try without a big commitment.

Unit Testing with AsUnit

By Kelly Brown
September 3, 2008

AsUnit is an open source framework for unit testing in Flash. AsUnit provides a low level automated testing system that is your first line of defense for catching bugs in your application. The concept of unit testing has been around for a long time as part of the traditional Waterfall model of software development. However, it has gained in popularity recently as one of the main tenets of Extreme Programming. One of the tenants of Extreme Programming is that you write unit tests first and then your code. You also refactor code often as you add features. Unit tests help find errors quickly as code is refactored and can be used as part of regression testing to make sure the new code has not affected existing functionality.

Software Usability Testing for the Rest of Us

By Jochen Wolters
July 29, 2008

If you're a software developer and you honestly care about the user-friendliness of your software, it is not enough to simply guess which user interface works best for your application: you must _test_ your products with real users. A new usability testing tool for the Macintosh, called "Silverback," now makes user testing available even to those developers who have, so far, found the cost and effort associated with setting up a proper usability test lab forbidding.

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