Say Happy New Year to Those Old Forgotten Programs!

Written by Mike Smith

"May Old Acquaintances Be Removed!"

You are notrepparttar only one that collects and tries programs to see if you will like them, or if they will Magically changerepparttar 107890 way you use your Puter. The New Year isrepparttar 107891 best time I can think of to Clean House. Well, anytime is good but this isrepparttar 107892 best excuse I can think of.

This may be oversimplified but let's bypassrepparttar 107893 tech Speak. A couple of things happen when you install programs. First, they sit on your hard drive taking up space, and they have installed files to your "Registry". Also probably some DLL's (these are little files needed for Windows to makerepparttar 107894 programs run) in your system.ini.

So what is a DLL? Dynamic Link Library file. These go in a Windows initializing file called "system.ini". INI for Initialization File. When Windows starts it looks atrepparttar 107895 "system.ini to see what programs have to be available so they will start when you want to use them.

Windows also readsrepparttar 107896 Registry to see what programs are on your Puter and what it has to do to make them work. OH, Windows also reads your Startup Folder to see what has to start automatically and hide inrepparttar 107897 background. Alsorepparttar 107898 "msconfig" to place all these programs in your "Startup".

There are a lot more things happen but let's just look at these items to see how they effect your system. Yeah, I thoughtrepparttar 107899 same thing. "I never use them and I have plenty of room on my hard drive so why bother removing them?"

Well, as all of this is happening and while you are looking atrepparttar 107900 Windows logo, Windows is secretly loading all of it's mysterious Stuff and your mind is blank, Windows is applying all of this information to "System Resources" and slowing downrepparttar 107901 operation of your Puter. Gosh, those folks at Microsoft are smart. Or is that sneaky? Either way, you don't haverepparttar 107902 foggiest idea of what is hiding behindrepparttar 107903 Windows Startup screen. You just know it is there for a long time with that little blue bar atrepparttar 107904 bottom moving acrossrepparttar 107905 screen.


Written by Richard Lowe

One ofrepparttar hardest tasks for any IT department is that of testing. This is, in my experience,repparttar 107889 area where we haverepparttar 107890 greatest failures (next to estimatingrepparttar 107891 cost and length of a project) and where we have incredibly room for improvement.

I have been inrepparttar 107892 business for a long, long time, andrepparttar 107893 lack of testing never fails to amaze me. There have been times when I've received "finished" programs from developers which didn't even run! Obviouslyrepparttar 107894 code had never been tested, at least not in any meaningful way.

Before any testing can begin (and obviously this should also be done before coding starts) you must have a thorough analysis and design. You see, a program or system must be tested againstrepparttar 107895 specification and a set of standards. It cannot be done arbitrarily or randomly.

Your specification explains what your systems are trying to accomplish. The specification might say something like "a standard URL will be accepted inrepparttar 107896 address field". Your standards would state that all buffers must be checked for overrun conditions, URLs in a valid format, and so on. The standards apply to ALL testing, whilerepparttar 107897 specifications apply torepparttar 107898 specific program or system.

A very critical fact (which seems to be completely unknown to Microsoft) isrepparttar 107899 marketing department is not in charge of testing. To be done correctly, testing actually requires top-notch people who have been specially trained and who are highly motivated to do their jobs well.

You also cannot make a hundred thousand copies of a product and send it out to tens of thousands of beta testers without a clear set of goals, expert supervision and constant management and expect to get anything meaningful back. Beta testing is vital to a project, but it does not and cannot replace professional testing staff. Another fact which seems to be invisible to Microsoft isrepparttar 107900 purpose of beta testing is to test, not to market a product. Marketing is an essential part of a product plan, but it has absolutely no place inrepparttar 107901 testing plan.

What are some ofrepparttar 107902 common testing mistakes?

Testing to prove a program or system works - I know you want your programs to work, butrepparttar 107903 purpose of testing is simply to test, not to prove you arerepparttar 107904 best programmer onrepparttar 107905 planet. Testing needs to hit a program hard, right betweenrepparttar 107906 eyes. Your job as a tester is to ensure thatrepparttar 107907 program meetsrepparttar 107908 specifications, and that any deficiencies are found and properly recorded.

Trying to prove a program does not work - Again,repparttar 107909 purpose of testing is to test, not to prove anything. You should always have a well defined testing plan and follow that plan.

Using testing to prototype a product - Prototyping is an extremely useful part ofrepparttar 107910 analysis and design phases of a project. The purpose is to give your users and customers a way to see what something will look and feel like before implementing a project. Once design is done prototypes should be thrown away and not used again.

Using testing to design performance - Performance goals must be understood before a project leavesrepparttar 107911 design phase. Byrepparttar 107912 time a project is implemented (much less tested) you should completely know how it will perform (minusrepparttar 107913 possibility of bad programming, which is a different problem which testing is designed to uncover). Testing will, however, validate thatrepparttar 107914 product does perform as indicated inrepparttar 107915 specifications.

Testing without a test plan - I don't know how many programmers I've seen that just wade right in and start testing. Come on people, how can you test something if you don't have a plan? What are you trying to prove?

Testing without a specification - Remember,repparttar 107916 purpose of testing is to prove that a system or program meetsrepparttar 107917 specifications. That's all. It's very difficult to do that without a specification right in front of you. Of course, this assumes that you have a specification to begin with ...

Askingrepparttar 107918 developers to test their own programs - This is one ofrepparttar 107919 biggest mistakes (next to writing any code without a very good specification) that you can make. How can a programmer test his or her own code? First of all, programmers make lousy testers - testing is a field all to itself and programmers are almost never trained well in this area. Second,repparttar 107920 developers of a system have a conflict of interest - they want their software to work. Testers need to approach with a more open mind.

Testing without a goal - If you don't have a goal in mind for your testing, you don't know when you are done. What are you trying to accomplish? Absolutely no bugs of any kind (not very practicable)? The best goal is 100% compliance withrepparttar 107921 specifications. This does pitrepparttar 107922 burden onrepparttar 107923 analysis and design team - but that is exactly whererepparttar 107924 responsibility lies.

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