Olenick's IT Blog

Consultant Generated Content From the Field

Performance Test with Minimal Expense

Need quality Performance Testing with minimal cost involved? As a Lead Sr. Consultant at Olenick, I am often researching ways to help our clients implement a testing process and define an ongoing strategy that will not break their budgets while offering quality results. I’ve compiled the below notes for you to consider should you find yourself in a similar situation. Use jMeter (free open source tool) – see my blog post on jMeter here. Execute test with BlazeMeter service (low cost compared to other commercial tools). FYI: BlazeMeter provides a free Chrome browser plugin to capture the jMeter script. A Proof-of-Concept is required to verify that jMeter supports your application. After jMeter support verification, the final edited jMeter script can be uploaded to the BlazeMeter service to run your tests. This eliminates the need to have jMeter servers installed and having the required Internet bandwidth for your testing volume. For local installations, you can open a port for external access. WHY BlazeMeter and jMeter? BlazeMeter offers enhanced reporting, compared to what jMeter comes with and BlazeMeter is fairly low cost: https://blazemeter.com/ https://blazemeter.com/pricing       How does your experience with BlazeMeter compare?  Watch for more Olenick IT blog posts on cloud app load testing and monitoring.   By Mike Willett, Lead Senior Consultant – Olenick & Associates,... read more

Olenick & Associates Welcomes Scott Christensen

Olenick & Associates Welcomes Scott Christensen Olenick & Associates’ Legal Practice recently welcomed Scott Christensen to the team. Scott has worked in the legal technology field for over 25 years, with experience leading the technology and business needs of several global law firms. Tom Olenick, the company’s Founder and President commented, “Scott will be a valuable asset to the leadership of Olenick’s Legal focus. His broad and deep experience and insight into the Legal technology market will be a key asset as we further develop our strategy and our delivery capabilities.” Full Press Release available here. Stay in touch with all Olenick News and updates – follow us on Twitter... read more

Olenick Re-qualifies as a Microsoft Silver Level Partner

Olenick & Associates has re-qualified as a Microsoft Silver level partner in the Devices and Deployment competency. Olenick Consultants continue to meet requirements and provide specialized Microsoft technology-based solutions to our clients. You can connect with an Olenick Consultant via Microsoft’s Pinpoint Portal. “Continuing our focus on Microsoft Devices and Deployment is important especially with the release of Microsoft Windows 10,” said Rick Lesley. “We value our relationship with Microsoft and look to add more competencies in the near future.” A full list of Olenick partners can be found... read more

Developing a Continuous Integration (And Self-Testing) System

When you have multiple developers working on a project, bugs can be hard to pin down. When was the bug introduced? Whose code was it? Did our merge introduce issues? Tracking down these kind of questions gets increasingly complicated – and costly – as you add more collaborators. The Solution? Continuous Integration. Continuous Integration (CI) is a software-building paradigm that tackles some of the complications of many development teams. Some key features of CI include: Maintaining a repository Developers commit to a baseline branch OFTEN Automatic builds on baseline commit Automatic testing on each build Automatic deployment There is a lot here that is ‘Automatic’, and that’s why it’s a big deal. From a cost analysis perspective, any job that can be done by a computer, should be done by a computer. They are cheaper, much faster, and don’t get bored of repetitive work. In the case of CI, our system will automatically build the application, run unit-level tests, and deploy it to production. And when we’re talking about doing this on every commit – which we do OFTEN – this saves a ton of man hours for developers and testers. So, the merit is there. Now how do we do it? In a recent Olenick project, we implemented a system that covers all of the core CI bases. Here’s what we did: First, we chose a Continuous Integration service. There are many names out there, but we decided to go with a freemium service called ‘Wercker’, which has a lot of power. After spending some time setting up some Git hooks, this is what our build history looked... read more

Olenick Goes Camping at Techweek Chicago

Innovators, established tech companies, and start-ups are prepared for a full week of learning, networking, and knowledge sharing as Techweek Chicago kicks off today and continues through this Friday June 26th. Taking place at the Merchandise Mart in Chicago, Techweek offers a variety of events, speakers, and activities for everyone in, or interested in, the Tech Industry. From informative presentations by successful executives to the action-packed Expo Floor with dozens of tech companies, Techweek provides a fantastic platform to help build, support, and celebrate technology in Chicago. In addition to soaking up as many keynotes and educational sessions as possible, Olenick will be hosting a booth on the Expo floor Thursday and Friday from 10:30 am-5:30 pm. We hope to see you at booth 2111 where we will be sharing information about our expansive range of services and how we have continued to be leaders in testing services over the past 15 years. This year we are adding a little twist to our booth – we are calling our booth Camp Olenick and needless to say, there are No Bugs Allowed! Stop by Camp Olenick later this week to say hi, pick up some summer swag, and meet our team of talented individuals from VPs to recent Talent Academy graduates. We look forward to meeting you and learning more about your interests and what you do to drive innovation! See you... read more

UFT: New Features & Enhancements of Note (GUI Testing Perspective)

UFT is the new installment of HP’s automated functional testing tool that replaces QuickTest Professional (QTP). In this article, I will give a quick synopsis of some of the new features and enhancements to familiarize those who have not had a chance to do so yet with UFT. The update brings with it a new, well-designed IDE allowing for increased productivity and functionality, in turn, easing the automated testing lifecycle for those who use the tool as a test execution platform. The new installment is even more exciting for the automation engineers who need the tool to develop and maintain testing frameworks. UFT stands for Unified Functional Testing and has been out since December of 2012. With its redesigned IDE, UFT has combined all the capabilities of QTP for GUI testing and HP Service Test (ST) for API testing and brought it into the modern world in line with IDE’s of the likes of Visual Studio. Though be it one would not be able to run tests without the IDE being invoked as a runtime environment which slows the test execution, however if a test is running from ALM in the “invisible” mode execution times will improve by about 20% or so. IDE Workspace New Features and Enhancements With the new redesign, which includes new features and enhancements, the IDE has become a more productive environment to work in. Below is the list of some of the new additions and enhancements.     Solutions Explorer Pane Tree-like structure that allows for tests and function libraries to be accessed from the same location. Multiple tests could be grouped into a single... read more

Big Data Week Belfast 2015

Analytics Engines organized the 2nd Big Data Week, or rather Big Data Day in Belfast. Olenick’s Belfast office participated as a sponsor this year, our involvement provided a unique opportunity to promote our Big Data expertise from solutions architecture to project management and QA solutions. As one of our valued partners, our work has relied heavily on Cloudera’s ecosystem. We had great conversations with some of the global giants from the big data world including Mark Lewis from Cloudera UK. For more information, check out http://www.bdwbelfast.com/ Exhibitors: Olenick, Asystec, Invest NI, Analytics Engines, HP, Cloudsoft, PWC, Datactics, The Data Science Lab and Coderdojo Speakers: Andrew McMurtrie, Head of Data Insight at Royal Mail Ewan Nicolson, Senior Data Analyst at Skyscanner Richard Donovan, Senior Integration Architect at Sky Ian Massingham, Technical Evangelist at Amazon Webservices Tom Gray, CTO of Kainos Ben Greene, CTO of Analytics Engines Mike Unwan, Data Science Engineer at Just Giving David Kemp, Strategic Systems Architect at HP Simon Perrott and Data Scientist at Just Giving Big Takeaways: How can we profile future Big Data analysts? How can we get the most value out of the data? Who needs to be asking what questions? It’s big and it’s only going to get bigger! Data is not just for helping business but has the capability to leverage social good too. Big Data Week events take place year round and all around the globe – join the BDW community!   By Claire McBride, Manager of Recruiting – Olenick and Associates,... read more

Keynote and Mobile Testing

Three Ways Keynote Improves Mobile Testing and Monitoring I recently had the opportunity to attend a Keynote demonstration of their testing tools for mobile apps and websites on real devices across cellular networks. Here are three takeaways from the presentation that I, as an automation test specialist, was thoroughly impressed by. 1. Real-Time Benchmarking The Digital Performance Intelligence product provides a detailed analysis of customer experiences divided by time periods, region, or device. It also shows comparisons to competitor’s websites and apps. 2. Real-Time Third-Party Benchmarking Expanding on Real-Time Benchmarking, these analytics focus on JavaScript and other services impacting web and app performance. 3. Mobile Testing What stood out as the highlight of the presentation was that Keynote provides scalable real devices across platforms and carriers allowing control over every aspect of mobile devices. All functionality performed on a physical device can be performed on Keynote’s largest real device mobile browser libraries, which includes the most current and popular smartphones and tablets. They provide testing on iOS, Android, BlackBerry, and Windows Phones. Additionally, through Keynote, organizations can test wearables, and even unique devices such as ruggedized, set-top, and in-vehicle devices. Keynote is the global leader in cloud–based testing, monitoring and analytics for mobile and web, optimizing the value of every digital interaction, enhancing user experience and driving business value through online performance. We operate the world’s largest cloud testing, monitoring and analytics network that collects over 700 million mobile and website performance measurements daily. – “About Keynote Performance Monitoring”  | Keynote http://www.keynote.com/about 2015 By Jerrold Berry, Lead Senior Consultant – Olenick and... read more

Congratulations to the 2015 Winter Talent Academy

Olenick and Associates’ Talent Academy is an in-depth training program that assures, upon completion, participants have the knowledge and skills of highly productive IT consultants. The eight-week, team-oriented curriculum covers the role-specific technical skills and invaluable soft skills that enable our consultants to develop and grow in their careers. Our January 2015 Talent Academy class was an assortment of college graduates, career changers, and interns looking to take their careers to the next level. These motivated individuals were immersed in the IT industry with the guidance of experienced Olenick professionals. Curriculum Olenick Company Overview Developing high-quality software applications What it means to be a consultant Resume and interviewing techniques Simulated software testing projects utilizing quality concepts, tools, and techniques Tech Marketing Linux SQL Agile and Waterfall methodologies Big data Project: Application Development  Using Agile Methodologies to Develop GigScout for Android Having a diversely educated TA class (MIS, Computer Science, Marketing and Economics) allowed them to build a self-managing team exercising agility and self-learning techniques, enabling them to grow professionally by taking on tasks that were unfamiliar at times. As a result of the Agile approach to development and training, our TA class was able to bring a fully functioning mobile application to market upon graduation. Congratulations to the 2015 Talent Academy Graduates: Dustin Proffitt – Nicole Sapinski – John Gregory – Erik Escobar-Ocon – Julian Riedl – Michael Boor And special thanks to: Shawn Hertzig, CJ Montano, Chirag Amin, Ann Field, Kevin Flynn, John Hazel, Mark Heinze, Dave Kuhl, Jackie Lerash, Rick Lesley, Brandon McGuire, Clara Mickelson, Kiem Nguyen, Linda Reusch, Marge Stefani, Tom Olenick and Jim Wildman The next Olenick Talent Academy will... read more

JMeter for Performance Testing

Lowest cost possible performance testing: Although the Apache JMeter solution is a low-cost option for performance testing, JMeter is NOT an easy tool to use. Also, JMeter has no formal support (since it is an open source tool). Curious about JMeter yourself? Installing is easy, just follow the steps below. How to install JMeter: Install latest Chrome Browser https://www.google.com/chrome/ Create a free BlazeMeter account http://blazemeter.com/ Install latest Java JDK http://www.oracle.com/technetwork/java/javase/downloads/index.html Install latest version of JMeter http://jmeter.apache.org/download_jmeter.cgi Install BlazeMeter Chrome Plugin https://chrome.google.com/webstore/detail/blazemeter-the-load-testi/mbopgmdnpcbohhpnfglgohlbhfongabi As an Olenick Consultant, I have had the pleasure of working with various tool partners. With JMeter, I have been able to see the value that Olenick & Associates provides through the evaluation of support of your application, using JMeter, as well as several other commercial performance testing tools. Once the tool that supports your application is determined, full-service solutions from scripting, to execution, to analysis are available when you partner with Olenick. JMeter desktop application is an open source software, a 100% pure Java application designed to load test functional behavior and measure performance. By Mike Willett, Lead Senior Consultant – Olenick & Associates,... read more

Olenick Supports Marie Curie’s Great Daffodil Appeal – Belfast

We are more than IT! It is very important to us at Olenick to give back to our communities. In addition to supporting a great cause our team grows stronger with every event we partake in. This March our Belfast office was part of the The Great Daffodil Appeal. The Olenick Belfast team sported yellow daffodil pins and collected £800.00 with their efforts. Funds collected go towards supporting and raising awareness for Marie Curie’s cause.   At the conclusion of The Great Daffodil Appeal, Marie Curie’s Belfast collection earnings totaled over £20,000, surpassing last year’s collection by 25%. All donations to Marie Curie give its nurses the opportunity to provide more free care to local people with terminal illnesses in their own homes or one of their nine hospices throughout the UK. By Claire McBride, Manager of Recruiting – Olenick & Associates, Belfast About Marie Curie Marie Curie is the leading charity providing care to people with any terminal illness in their own homes or in one of its nine hospices. The charity is also a leader in research into the best ways of caring for people with a terminal illness. In addition to this the charity designs and advises on end of life services and works to ensure that the best possible care and patient choice is at the heart of commissioning end of life care across the UK. All Marie Curie services are completely free of charge. Around 70% of the charity’s income comes from donations with the balance of funds coming from the NHS. – excerpt from www.mariecurie.org.uk  click to learn more.... read more

Lessons Learned: Testing Keys from James

The world of testing can be a minefield in regards to how difficult, stressful, and frustrating a project can be. This is due to certain projects having more documentation, organization, and planning than others. With support not only from your colleagues, but from your client, team members, and management, a challenging project can run much smoother. With that in mind, I have put together some lessons learned that I have gained throughout my experience as a tester. Definition is Key Definition of the project is an aspect of testing that can make the difference between good and bad testing. Questions should be raised when any information is unclear. Having information defined and confirmed by the client saves a lot of time and effort for testing teams. Areas that require the most defining are the requirements, test scope, and plan. These areas can be affected by ambiguity, unconfirmed information, and missing details. I believe that if something seems confusing or unclear, chances are it is. In testing, there are no such things as stupid questions, just accurate definitions. The Key to Perfect Defects The word ‘perfect’ is thrown around a lot these days, but I believe that giving the right amount of detail and evidence when describing a defect can make it perfect. Try including these suggestions in your defect: Summary Description (include browser, platform, or other relevant device/system information) Steps to reproducing the defect PSR for Windows can help! What you expected to happen What actually happened Screenshot of the defect occurring Developers will be better able to replicate defects when the proper amount of detail and evidence is... read more

Up and Running With the Problems Step Recorder Tool

Hidden within Windows you will find an application called Problems Steps Recorder (PSR). PSR automatically captures the steps you have taken on your computer. After the steps are recorded, a file will be created that includes a text description of where you clicked along with a screen shot of the window during each click. This tool is useful in the defect creation process because it can inform interested parties exactly what steps are taken to produce a defect. Here is how it works: Starting the Program To access the tool, engage the start button and enter “psr” into the search textbox. (See fig.1) Click the program and the application will begin. TIP: Some computer setups require that you run the application as an Administrator. Recording and Documenting the Processes When the application begins click the ‘Start Record’ button. (fig.2) After clicking the ‘Start Record’ button, you may proceed through the test steps as you normally would. TIP: It is best to unplug any second monitor at this time. When you have concluded your test, click the ‘Stop Record’ button. (Fig.3) Provide PSR a location and name for the file and a zip file will be created with the specified name and location. Presenting The Processes The file can be opened with a web browser and three options are presented to the user (fig.4): Review the Recorded Problem Steps Provides an ordered list of the steps taken along with a screenshot that can be viewed by scrolling down the page. Review the Recorded Problem Steps as a Slide Show Displays your steps and screenshots in a slide show format. Review... read more

Quality Assurance Considerations

My experience as a Quality Assurance professional with many different projects in various business domains has helped me to develop several points for establishing a Quality Assurance process within an organization: Identify and Analyze the Current QA Process Inventory Systems Create a Taxonomy for Systems Define Responsibilities and Accountability Develop a Communication Approach Collaborate with Stakeholders Quality Assurance provides a framework for integrating quality within processes encompassing system development and maintenance. Quality Assurance, in its purest form, is agnostic to methodology. It constitutes the basis for Quality Assurance standards while facilitating the ability to separate what is routine versus what is exception. Identify and Analyze the Current QA Process When auditing an existing Quality Assurance process, the composition of the existing process requires identification and analysis. Organizational units involved and their contributions are key to assessing the process.  Process documentation, communications, training, and enforcement are also vital considerations. Metrics regarding process effectiveness should also be available. It may be necessary to create a snapshot of existing process metrics based on available data and interview information as part of the assessment deliverable. Inventory Systems Especially significant are the organizational departments and systems covered under the umbrella of the Quality Assurance process; even more significant are those which are not. An all too common finding in Quality Assurance assessments is that critical areas and systems are exempted. Rationale for this can usually be summed up as Quality Assurance processes will add time and cost. It is important to consider all organizational departments and systems when determining which to include in the QA Process. Create a Taxonomy for Systems Developing a taxonomy for... read more

Olenick at Big Data Week Belfast

Olenick is proud and happy to announce that they are a sponsor of The 2015 Belfast Big Data Conference being held in the Titanic Building on April 23, 2015. This year, Big Data Week is aiming to bring together 40,000 participants from four continents with the purpose of inspiring more individuals and SMEs to start data projects and tap into the immense potential that is big data. As such, this edition will feature two tracks – Business Oriented towards business decision makers, consultants, and analysts; The business track will showcase real-world success stories from five industries: Retail, Finance, Publishing, Gaming, and Science. Technology This track is meant for more technical big data practitioners such as developers, system admins, dev-ops, and data scientists. It will include best practices, how-tos, workshops, and case studies from big data professionals who have had hands on experience working with big data technologies such as Hadoop, NoSQL databases, and visualization and integration software. Do You Know Your Big Data Numbers? 1,000 bytes = one kilobyte (kB) 1,000 kB = one megabyte (MB) 1,000 MB = one gigabyte (GB) 1,000 GB = one terabyte (TB) 1,000 TB = one petabyte (PB) 1,000 PB = one exabyte (EB) 1,000 EB = one zettabyte (ZB) 1,000 ZB = one yottabyte (YB) Please see the links below for a deeper dive into Hadoop from our perspective and see you out there during Big Data Week in Belfast. By 2017, Half of the World’s Data will be Stored in Hadoop Bank Acquisitions: It’s About the Data Since last year’s event, Olenick has become a Cloudera SI Partner and, by building on... read more

LoadRunner 12.02: Under The Hood

At the tail end of last year, HP made the announcement that the latest and greatest version of LoadRunner was now available as a general release, 12.02.  So, I thought I’d take this opportunity to show some of the highlights from this release as they have included some pretty cool stuff that is sure to improve even more with later releases. New Web Controller When I was looking over the release notes, this was one of the first things to really catch my eye.  I wasn’t exactly sure how this was going to be implemented, but I thought it must be worthwhile as HP was touting it to be something of “…an improved usability and high scalability”.  Keep in mind though that this new LoadRunner Web Controller is only offered as a technical preview, which can mean that HP is still shaking this feature out and working on adding additional functionality to the product. I think one of the main features that HP is touting with this Web Controller release is the addition of Favorites.  This feature allows you to store assets, namely load test scripts and load generator machines, as favorites so then you have them stored for your tests in the future.  This can definitely save setup time from the original desktop controller where you have to add new scripts and generators with each new scenario.  In this case, you can add them once into the Favorites and then quickly add them to multiple test scenarios.  I’ve included a screenshot below of this window: There are also a number of other features of the Web Controller that... read more

Your Agile Team Explored

Teams Have Always Been, and Will Always Be, the Reason for Success It’s all about the TEAM! There are four stages of a team which require four different skills of a Scrum Master: Forming, Storming, Norming, and Performing. Below you will find a table of skills required for each stage of the team based on my experience. Please download as a complement to this post. Download or View PDF It typically takes 6 months for a team to get through the four stages, upon which point it has been observed that they can maintain “performing” state for four years before needing to do something else.  Four years tends to be the limit because it is also about the time that teams get too close and comfortable, they become bored. We call this the “journey” after which the team should begin to dissolve. The Importance of Longstanding Teams Longstanding teams not only work because of Kata (practice to mastery) and strong relationships built on mutual trust and respect, but also because they are invested in the team’s long term success. Knowing that you are not going to be on a team in the near future can psychologically remove your emotional connection, and thus commitment to the team’s success. The Importance of Winning Teams It is important, especially when starting, to support your winning teams, not the ones struggling.  Essentially, you want to understand exactly how the winning teams do it and then replicate that mix. Scrum Masters and Managers can spend a lifetime trying to fix broken teams, but time is better spent understanding what “good” looks like so you can replicate it. This... read more

The Impacts of Lack of Testing Process

As I wrap up my series on ‘Lack of Process’ I wanted to call attention to, of course, LACK OF TESTING PROCESS. As a Test Manager at Olenick & Associates, I’ve had the pleasure of working on projects where processes were followed and the learning experience of working on projects where there was not much in the way of processes, or processes were not followed. I am a big believer in the idea that more planning at the beginning of the project means the rest of the project will go a lot smoother and faster. The Testing Process is the final quality check for the final deliverable and defines how your customers will perceive how good or bad the deliverable is. I compiled the list below which highlights some of the impacts to a project if there is no Testing process, or lack of following the process: Reduces the amount of time available for test execution Not all testing artifacts may be created Incomplete Requirements Traceability Matrix Less defects found Defect resolution takes longer Scheduling of test environments may be needed Resources confused on what their roles and responsibilities are Not known what the test data refresh strategy is Full test coverage may not be obtained Harder to determine what is included in regression testing Not clear on when product is ready Makes automation more complex Increases cost to the project Increases resource effort for the project Reduces overall quality of the project From my five posts on processes, I hope I have shown you the impacts to a project if processes are not followed.  The impacts are ALL BAD.  Some... read more

Web Content Accessibility

WEB ACCESSIBILITY – Just Think About It. More often than not the term web accessibility is used to describe how people with disabilities, including visual, auditory, physical, speech, cognitive, and neurological disabilities can access the web. However, with the average age of web users going up every year we need to keep in mind that an aging population will generally start to exhibit issues such as loss of eyesight, manual dexterity, concentration levels, and short-term memory, thus web accessibility is also important in this context. So basically, removing barriers is what ACCESSIBILITY is all about and it’s not that hard to do. Some basic understanding of web site access and usage, coupled with logic and common sense can go a long way to creating an online product, service, technology or environment usable by everyone regardless of who they are and how they access the web.   How do I make my web site accessible? Follow the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines 2.0 (WCAG 2.0) at http://www.w3.org/TR/WCAG20/ Use HTML5 to design the web site while adhering to HTML5 standards and specifications Use CSS for styling Use the progressive enhancement approach i.e. start with basic functionality and add any enhancements on top OK, but do I really need to bother with Web Accessibility now? Answer: YES, YES, YES! It’s the law… or it will be soon depending on your location. Web Accessibility is covered by Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act in USA and the Equality Act 2010 in GB. It makes commercial sense opening the web site up to a wider audience e.g. older people or people whose first language is not English, can improve your... read more

The Impacts of Lack of Development Process

The Development Process is the foundation for the final deliverable and is what your customers will be receiving. As a Test Manager at Olenick & Associates, I’ve worked on many projects, both big and small. There have been projects where processes were followed and projects where there was not much in the way of processes, or processes were not followed. This is the fourth post in my blog series focusing on the impacts when there is a lack of process in various stages of a project.   Please refer to my other posts for more background on my role as a Senior Associate and Test Manager at Olenick & Associates: The Impacts of Lack of Project Management Processes  The Impacts of Lack Business Requirements Process The Impacts of Lack of Design Process I compiled the list below which highlights some of the impacts to a project if there is no Development Process, or lack of following the process: Inconsistent coding between developers Defect resolution takes longer Inconsistencies between similar functionality System performance degradation Makes code more complex Harder to support/maintain Increases the number of defects Increases cost to the project Increases resource effort for the project Reduces overall quality of the project Additional regression test is needed Following processes is no guarantee a project will not run into problems or issues. No matter how well something is planned, there will always be something that comes up that was not planned for. Therefore, your processes have to be flexible enough to allow for things to happen and adjust accordingly in a way that is productive to the project. This list was... read more

Scrum Master Shares Lessons of Success

“The best way to reduce cost and time is to improve quality” – Deming Four years ago, I decided to go for it and become a Certified Scrum Master (CSM). Over the next couple of weeks I’d like to share some basic learned lessons from the course, along with advice generated from my professional experience. Where does agile come from? Agile bases its principles on the foundation of Lean (aka – lean manufacturing, lean production, and lean enterprise). Lean gets its roots from Toyota Production Systems – a system that essentially enabled Toyota to focus on value and quality by simply removing as much waste in the manufacturing process as possible. As a derivative of lean, agile also aims to eliminate waste through a focus on simplification, quality and value. Does lean production = mass production? Actually no. While folks still confuse the two, there is a major difference that lies in the nuance between “utilization” and “throughput.” However small, those nuances are the difference between high quality/value versus something fast and more bug-ridden. Following is a quick outline:  MASS PRODUCTION Designed to build one thing, the exact same way, fast enough to satisfy a forecast, regardless of quality Overruns of product or features (waste) is typically a result as is a lot of defect fixing late in the process due to a poor commitment to quality early Referred to as “Push Processing” because each station (or person) produces as fast as possible regardless of readiness of the person they are handing off to (leaving work in progress or waste) Based on utilization of resources LEAN Designed to eliminate waste to build what is needed as fast as... read more

Requirements: Choosing Your Words Carefully

Requirements are the baseline for any project, as without requirements we don’t have a definitive list of set functions that the business requires the system/software to do. Sometimes we come across projects that will have requirements documentation or the requirements will need to be drawn from other available documentation such as the test plan or test strategy. We may also come across some instances where by the project has very little documentation and we will need to define the requirements with the business by discussing what they want to accomplish with the software/system. Whatever the situation might be for you to obtain the requirements, all of them can be open to ambiguity and this can have major effects on what a project tests and accomplishes. Ambiguity can be caused by a number of different factors: Language barriers Functions not defined correctly Difference of opinions from different parts of the business Miscommunication If a requirement is ambiguous then this can cause a number of different issues to occur over the course of a projects lifetime: Unwanted functions development Functions developed incorrectly Wastes time Wastes money Push back the projects deadline All of the above issues can cause finance efficiency issues and determine if a project will go live. It is for this reason that we need to ensure that any documents we produce are unambiguous and that we receive clarification from the business on possible ambiguous requirements. I believe a simple solution to stop ambiguity occurring is to have a meeting with the key stakeholders, project managers and business analysts to ensure everyone agrees on what functions the software/system will have and... read more

Exelon Diversity Supplier Advocate of the Year

Veteran-Owned Small Business (VOSB), Olenick & Associates, was named the Exelon Diversity Supplier Advocate of the Year on Oct. 1, 2014, at the Exelon Supplier Conference in Chicago, IL.  “Since 2005, Exelon and its subsidiaries have facilitated close to a half-billion dollars in corporate spending from certified diverse suppliers on an annual basis. Exelon aspires to be a world-class company in the area of supplier diversity. This means reaching across all operating companies and business units encompassing a wide range of initiatives that measure our progress.” – source Olenick & Associates is honored to have received this prestigious award. Olenick’s focus on employee diversity, volunteerism and commitment to hiring veterans, along with Tom Olenick’s service in the military, was paramount in our receiving this award. The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Center for Veterans Enterprise (CVE) verified Olenick & Associates’ status as a Veteran-Owned Small Business. As a result Olenick qualified to participate in the VA’s Veterans First Contracting... read more

The Impacts of Lack of Design Process

As a Test Manager at Olenick & Associates, I am a big believer in the idea that the more planning at the beginning of the project means the rest of the project will go a lot smoother and faster. In this blog post series I am reflecting on various processes and how lack of process, or processes not being followed, can really screw up a project.                         For more on my background please check out my previous posts in this series: The Impacts of Lack of Project Management Processes The Impacts of Lack Business Requirements Process  When processes are lacking and things start to get chaotic, testing cannot step out of the way. It’s all too common for testers to have to overcome the shortcomings of previous processes and adjust to changed processes, or lack of process, to ensure a successful outcome of the project. The Design Process is the foundation that defines the final deliverable and sets the stage for coding and testing. I compiled the list below which highlights some of the impacts to a project if there is no Design Process, or lack of following the process: Inconsistency between similar functionality Defect resolution takes longer Harder to train and understand system Makes code more complex Harder to support/maintain System performance degradation Allows for more defects Not good feedback on defect fixes Harder to test Increases cost to the project Increases resource effort for the project Reduces overall quality of the project This list was collected by consultants based on real experiences from projects they have... read more

You on Paper: Resume Tips

 The dreaded resume: Your accomplishments and accolades, with a touch of personality all on a piece of paper so that you can find that dream job, or pay your bills. Either way, at some point we all market ourselves with a resume or C.V. and many of us think, “I’m not doing this right,” “What makes me so special?,” “Is this too long?” and then, when we can’t answer ourselves we begin the Google search for examples, tips, and templates. As a Technical Recruiter at Olenick & Associates I urge you to avoid self-talking and searching yourself into a circle – don’t over-research the HOW to write a resume. Focus on YOU. I’m not re-inventing the wheel with my own lists of tips, but I would like to point you to some great articles and advice that can ease the burden of your resume creation. Here are my TOP 5 RESUME TIPS FROM A TECHNICAL RECRUITER: Try to be more descriptive and less vague when it comes to describing your experience, training, and previous responsibilities. Get rid of objectives, summaries, and all fluff. An employer doesn’t care about your objective. They care about theirs. Ask yourself, “How can I impact the company mission?” Add words from the job description to your resume. Computers often scan resumes before they make it to a human. If your resume has keywords from the job description you are more likely to be identified as a strong candidate. Key terms should be written out both ways; ex. Project Management Professional (PMP) When you are applying for jobs in technology your resume must speak to your technical... read more

You on Paper: CV / Resume Tips from Belfast

Almost everyone, at some point, has had to write a curriculum vitae (C.V.). It may be for your first job out of University or for a new opportunity, but it is the main selling point of your skills to a potential employer, and it is important that it is written in order to showcase your talent in the best way possible. While this may seem daunting, there are certain tips and pointers you can use to make sure that your CV stands out among the rest to ensure you have the best opportunity of getting that dream job! CV/Resume Tips 1: Keep it to the point and concentrate on achievements A resume should be no more than 2 A4 pages long as, on average, employers spend 8-10 seconds looking at one resume. Concentrate on your achievements not your responsibilities. This means listing things you have done – products launched, sales increase, awards won etc. – not re-writing your job description. Quote figures where possible. Backing up your achievements with numbers makes selling yourself much easier. When writing your work history, don’t just say you increased sales; tell them you increased sales by 70% over a 6 month period. 2: Consistently tailor and edit you CV to keep it up-to-date Research the company and use the job advert to work out EXACTLY what skills you should point out to them. Make your most relevant experience and skills prominent to encourage the employer to read on. List other skills that could raise you above the competition such as languages and IT skills. Keep resume up to date whether you are looking... read more

The Impacts of Lack of Business Requirements Process

No matter how well something is planned, there will always be something that comes up that was not planned for. It is just as critical that processes are in place for a project, as it is for those processes to be flexible enough to allow for things to happen and adjust in a way that is productive to the project. In this series I highlight impact areas when a lack of process is present. The first post in this series, Lack of Project Management Process, offers a list of areas where lack of process can really turn a project into a nightmare. Don’t find yourself spinning, find yourself following the process while knowing that a process can change before the end of the project. In this, the second post in the ‘Lack of Processes’ series I look at the Business Requirements process. The Business Requirements process defines what the project is and feeds all other processes after it. The requirements are the foundation of the project.  If the foundation is not strong, than anything built on top of it is likely to crack and crumble. The better the Business Requirements process, the better all the other processes will be before the test phase and the better the test phase will be, hence improving the outcome of the project as a whole. The list below highlights some of the impacts to a project if there is no Business Requirements process or the process is not being followed: Harder to determine if there are business process defects Open interpretation on what a defect is Ever-changing scope Incomplete Requirements Traceability Matrix Increases cost to the... read more

The Impacts of Lack of Project Management Processes

As a Test Manager at Olenick & Associates, I’ve worked on many projects, both big and small. There have been projects where processes were followed and projects where there was not much in the way of processes, or processes were not followed. I am a big believer in the idea that more planning at the beginning of the project means the rest of the project will go a lot smoother and faster. In this blog post series I look to enlighten you on the importance of Project Management and how the process is critical to successful testing and project outcomes. Following rigorous processes is no guarantee a project will not run into problems or issues. No matter how well something is planned, there will always be something that comes up that was not planned for. Therefore, your processes have to be flexible enough to allow for things to happen and adjust accordingly in a way that is productive to the project. Not following processes, though, is a guarantee for project failure. Never having time to do it right the first time, but always having time to do it over should not be how IT projects are conducted. We have all lived the nightmare project, and have said a project should never be run like that, only to say it again and again. If you have not planned, you have not planned for success. Following processes should guide you through your planning. The Project Management process is the foundation of the project and sets the stage for all other processes. I compiled the list below which highlights some of the... read more

Bank Acquisitions: It’s About the Data

As a Test Manager at Olenick & Associates, I’ve had the pleasure of working through three acquisitions for a large bank and it is my conclusion that it all boils down to data. In this blog post I hope to enlighten you on some of the nuances I’ve encountered along the way and how to ask the right questions for your project. First and foremost, each acquisition is different, at least in the sense of which types of products/services the acquired bank brings to the table; for example, deposits, savings, loans, brokerage, trust, etc.  As a Consultant in this scenario, I ask, “Which products does the acquiring bank need to continue to service from the acquired bank?” – despite that the acquiring bank may not even sell/service these products today. I also ask: Which products/services will the acquiring institution merge into its own product lines? Which products/services will it sell to another bank? Will some products/services be outsourced to 3rd party vendors? No matter the answers to any of my questions, the one common thread in the acquisition is DATA. In any acquisition, but especially banks and financial institution acquisitions, it is imperative that data remains secure and is migrated and integrated into the acquiring institution without any errors. How do we ensure the acquired bank’s data is extracted, translated, and loaded (ETL) correctly into the acquiring bank’s and 3rd party vendor systems?    There are a lot of systems involved in banking and they are integrated with each other. For the most part, you cannot test the ETL on just one system at a time. It must be... read more

Infamous Software Bugs: AT&T Switches

In this third installment of our ‘Infamous Software Bugs’ series – a series with the goal of examining software blunders and identifying the bugs behind them – we will be focusing on AT&T’s Long-Distance Network Collapse that left callers waiting… and waiting… and waiting. AT&T’s Long-Distance Network Upgrade Bug In 1990, AT&T tried to initiate a very complex software upgrade with the intent of speeding up long distance calls. Instead of bringing customers better service, a single line of code from the upgrade actually caused the long distance network to shut down on January 15. The Cost: An estimated loss of $60 million in long-distance charges, 9 hours of service time, approximately 75 million missed phone calls, and an estimated loss of 200,000 airline reservations. The Error: At one of AT&T’s 114 switching centers, a single 4ESS switch, let’s call it Switch A, experienced a minor mechanical problem and sent out a congestion signal (basically a “do not disturb” message) to switches it was linked to. Before the upgrade, Switch A, after reinitializing itself, would send a message out to say it was working again and the connected switches would then reset themselves to acknowledge this. In order to increase the speed of the calls, AT&T had tweaked the software to send messages faster and more efficiently. Switch A did not have to send a message saying it was back in service. The reappearance of traffic from Switch A would tell the others that it was working again, and as the switches receive messages from A, they would reset themselves. So, after reinitializing, Switch A began processing calls and sending out call routing... read more

Infamous Software Bugs: FDIV Bug

This is the second post in our ‘Infamous Software Bugs’ series, created to examine some of the most well-known software blunders and the bugs that caused them. Last week we introduced you to the Mars Orbiter. The Bug du Jour: The 1994 Intel FDIV bug. The average computer user would never encounter this bug, as it only compromised a degree of mathematical accuracy very few users required. One of those few, a Virginia math professor, took the issue to the internet after an unsatisfactory response from Intel about his discovery. The story was eventually picked up by CNN, prompting widespread public awareness of the issue. Intel’s FDIV Bug: Empty Cells at Empty Tables The Cost: A pre-tax charge of $475 million against earnings – the total cost of processor replacements – and the reputation of Intel (although, they did get a few keychains out of it). The Error: In 1994, it was discovered that some of the original Pentium processor models would divide floating-point numbers within a specific range with an error of 0.006%. It became known as the FDIV bug – the x86 assembly language mnemonic for Floating-point DIVision. An example shows that 4195835.0 ÷ 3145727.0 yielded 1.333739 instead of 1.333820. This was rarely encountered, though; Byte magazine estimated that only 1 in 9 billion floating point division problems (with random parameters) would produce inaccurate results. The Reason: In order to speed up the execution of floating-point calculations, Intel devised a lookup-table approach. The lookup table consisted of 1,066 table entries that were then downloaded into the chip’s programmable logic array. However, only 1,061 entries made it onto the first-generation of processors and the five lost entries were treated... read more

Infamous Software Bugs: Mars Orbiter

Bugs can be both annoying and inconvenient – and I’m not just talking about the buzzing pests looking to land in your potato salad. Just as some insects can pose a threat to your well-being, software bugs can pose a threat to your software or system’s well-being – in addition, they can be costly to fix. This is the first blog in our ‘Infamous Software Bugs’ series, which will take a look at some of the most infamous software bugs since mankind first found a moth trapped in the Harvard Mark II relay. Up first is a software bug that is out of this world… literally. The Mars Climate Orbiter: When Conversion Checks Crash and Burn On December 11, 1998, NASA launched the Mars Climate Orbiter, a robotic space probe, to study the climate, atmosphere, and surface changes of Mars as part of the Mars Surveyor ’98 Mission. On September 23, 1999, NASA lost communication with the probe because a software bug threw off its trajectory. The Cost: The value of the project was $327.6 million, a costly and embarrassing loss for NASA. The Error: The ground-based software of one engineering team produced an output of non-SI units (pound-seconds) rather than the metric units used by the other team and the probe (newton-seconds). The uncompensated and unconverted units caused the thrusters to be 4.45x too powerful. The orbiter approached Mars at the wrong angle, causing it to pass through the upper atmosphere and disintegrate, rather than orbit the planet. The Reason: The engineers were supposed to assure that the metric systems used by one team’s computer program were compatible with the English... read more

UAT is the final frontier

If Space was the final frontier for Captain James T. Kirk, then for any Software ‘Enterprise’, the test for user acceptance is the final frontier of software testing. Beyond the final frontier, there are two universes. One where life is easier because everything goes as planned, requirements are met with great results every time. The other is a world of nothing – unexpected results that are the result of everything being incomplete and dysfunctional. Sound vaguely familiar? – We have all visited both at some point. So, who is this UAT savior of the universe? Here is a definition of the term User Acceptance Testing taken from the ISTQB Glossary of Testing Terms: “Formal testing with respect to user needs, requirements, and business processes, conducted to determine whether or not a system satisfies the acceptance criteria and to enable the user, customers or other authorized entity to determine whether or not to accept the system.” There are three important aspects to this definition UAT requires ‘formal testing’, which means that tests should be designed and executed in a structured way that provides objective evidence of the acceptability or otherwise of the system. Testing should be carried out with respect to ‘user needs, requirements, and business processes’. ‘Acceptance criteria’, which define what is acceptable to the users, should be defined and tested against. UAT’s role is to determine, from the user perspective, if the system is indeed fit for purpose and is required, because code is often produced, based on the developers own requirements document and this may not actually be what the client needs from the software. When requirements... read more

SmartGrid Electricity Delivery System

The United States electric grid is a network of transmission and distribution lines, substations, transformers, and devices that deliver alternating current electricity from power generation sources (coal, nuclear, hydroelectric, wind, solar, biomass, and natural gas generation plants) to homes and businesses. Development of the infrastructure and power grid was one of the great electrical engineering achievements of the 20th century. However, increasing power demands and increasing system complexity require major improvements to meet the requirements of the 21st century. Electrical power consumption in the United States has increased from 330M kWh in 1950 to over 4100M kWh in 2014. Many utilities have started projects to modernize their electrical infrastructure and develop a suite of SmartGrid applications and hardware updates. The SmartGrid is an electricity delivery system enhanced with digital technologies that monitors system health and detects problems on the electric system and notifies utility operators to ensure that customers experience fewer and shorter power outages. SmartGrid technology also enables utilities to monitor equipment proactively and fix emerging problems before those devices experience outages that affect customers. Olenick & Associates consultants have been assisting large utility companies with SmartGrid initiatives since 2011 primarily in the implementation of SmartGrid enabled Intelligent Substations and the creation of analytics applications based on the enhanced data available as new intelligent devices are introduced throughout the system. Intelligent Substations include: An “Intelligent Substation Dashboard” that provides information on the overall health of the substation components and communicates directly to the utility when devices are experiencing problems. Digital technology that makes it easier for the utility to identify fault locations so that crews can be sent more quickly and... read more

Olenick & Associates Exhibitor at Techweek Chicago

Launching festivities yesterday and celebrating throughout the week, Techweek Chicago promises to be the ‘place to be’ for all things tech – a place where innovators, established tech companies and start-ups can mix and mingle in various scenarios and set ups. Taking place at the Merchandise Mart in Chicago, Techweek offers a full week of unique and engaging events for all. Between the Developer Summit and Expo floor (open Thursday, June 26th – Saturday, June 28th) techies can get to know more about emerging technologies, hear success stories and get inspired from a massive list of keynote sessions…all while chowing on Chicago’s finest food trucks, talking about wearables, chilling in the gaming lounge and so much more. Hackathon and Future Sound included! Olenick will be on the Expo floor starting Thursday at noon – come visit us at booth 7-7093 where we will be giving you the low-down on our ever-expanding breadth of services and just how we’ve managed to remain at the top of our testing game over the last 15 years. There will also be Olenick summer swag! Whether you are attending as an exhibitor, keynote speaker, entrepreneur or aspiring software tester – come say hi and meet the crew – from VPs to Talent Academy graduates, Olenick representatives are looking forward to meeting you, learning about what you do, what you are interested in and how as a collective we can keep Chicago at the top of the tech innovation list. Did you know that Chicago was the first city to host a Techweek? In 2011 Techweek Chicago hosted 2,500 attendees – last year’s head count was over 8,000. Back in January of this year... read more

It’s a Goal – No it’s Not, Yes it is!

Poor refereeing decisions have always been a hot topic for debate and argument for soccer fans, and none more so when obvious goals have been disallowed. This has been an integral part of the Soccer World Cup – up until now that is. The 2014 World Cup Finals are the first final to feature ‘Goal-Line Technology’ supplied by a small German start-up which is being paid nearly $3.5 million to operate the technology in each of the 12 World Cup stadia. The company, GoalControl, has installed 14 cameras in each stadium that captures the three dimensional position of the ball with maximum precision: up to 500 images per second. With that tracking, plus sensors on the goal line, GoalControl can instantly alert a referee when the ball crosses the line. There’s no need to consult a replay or another official; the referee in charge merely looks at their smart watch. “The cameras are connected to a powerful image-processing computer system which tracks the movement of all objects on the pitch and filters out the players, referees and all disturbing objects,” a GoalControl representative said in a recent interview with CNN. If the system registers that the ball has crossed the goal line, it can send a vibration and a visual “GOAL” signal to referees’ watches within a second. So no more debate, no more arguments – it will be as clear as day but maybe only half the fun. I’m sure you are wondering who the Olenick GSN team in Belfast is supporting for this Soccer World Cup? Argentina Vamos! USA, USA! …of course! By The Belfast GSN Team –... read more

World Cup Results (Before They Happen)

Brazil and Argentina will easily win their respective group phases. The home team will knock out the Netherlands, Uruguay and Germany on their way to the tournament match, while the representative of the Southernmost O&A office will depend on a penalty shootout in the semis to claw into their first final in 24 years. Historical rivals will then meet in one of the hottest matches ever witnessed since 1950, the first in 64 years to be played by two Latin-American teams. This is no fortune telling or science fiction – it’s the prediction returned by a stochastic model that generates a distribution of outcomes for each of the matches to be played in Brazil 2014. By performing a full regression analysis of international football matches since 1960, Goldman Sachs produced a set of coefficients that aim to predict the numbers of goals scored by each team against their rival. Variables in this analysis include: The difference in the ELO ratings between contestants, which accounts for the success rate of each team according to the entire history of international football matches. This proves to be the most powerful variable in the model. The average number of goals scored by the team in the last 10 mandatory international games. The average number of goals received by the opposing team over the last 5 mandatory international games. A country-specific dummy (that is, binary) variable indicating whether the game in question took place at a World Cup. This variable is meant to capture whether a team has a tendency to systematically outperform (such as Germany, the team that has made it to the highest... read more

Connecting the Globe Through Technology and Soccer

IS THERE AN APP FOR THAT? Unable to view the 2014 FIFA World Cup on TV? There are other ways of keeping up-to-date with all the action – Thank you 21st Century! But, all the choices….Olenick Consultants are here to keep you in the loop on which Apps our family of testers approve as a ‘kick’ above the rest. The recently launched application, Sporting Mouth, provides a prediction platform combining technology, social media, and retail. The App enables fans to use their sporting judgement to compete against each other earning bragging rights and rewards for correct predictions. Challenge your  family, friends, and colleagues to compete against your selections for fun, or you can set up legal betting scenarios – risk things like meals, beers, replica shirts, and even charitable donations. Users can either play for free prizes or select their own from a unique collection of competition stakes on the App. Users will be able to stake everyday items, as well as more exotic ones, such as a day at a spa or dinner at a top restaurant. Better still – it’s a free App! By Mark McGuinness, Lab Manager & Pak Lun ‘Alan’ Shek, Test Engineer– Olenick Global,... read more

The Importance of SQL Skills for Software Testers

The demand for “all around” testers is growing. What does the phrase “all around” mean? It means that testers should be equipped with the ability to test the system’s functionality through traditional “point, click, and verify” testing methods AND be able to utilize their technical expertise to verify all aspects of a system. That technical expertise includes operating system, interface, and database verification skills. In this blog, I will highlight the importance of good Structured Query Language (SQL) skills. How important are SQL skills for a Software Tester? As a Software Quality Assurance Tester, I have worked on several different applications. Some of the applications require strong SQL verification skills, some of them required medium skills, and for some of the applications, I didn’t need any SQL knowledge. While on a recent project, I was involved in front-end testing of eleven different web sites that host documents that users can print using their personal printers. Printing these documents requires users to first install a special print controller on their PC. My job was to print documents from various combinations of operating systems, browsers, and printers and to verify the print quality of the documents. For this test, we did not need to apply any SQL skills. SQL experience was required to verify the test data, insert, update, and delete the test data values in the database. I used SQL queries against the SQL server database for this particular project. While working on a different project, I was involved in back-end testing where complex SQL Query knowledge was a must. There was an internal user interface tool to get the data... read more

Using Selenium for Performance Automation

Coding automated test suites for Performance using freeware tools is frequently frightening, but in certain occasions one can accomplish the feat and walk back home unharmed. We like to think that the case covered in this post is a good example of such. The AUT that demanded Performance Testing is dedicated to manage patient surveys from Medical Institutes and as part of that goal, it provides the ability to search the surveys filtering and organize them based on diverse criteria. The overall challenge we faced was presented by the client need itself. They needed to measure “Performance” for the web tool. Therefore, we needed to define “Performance” in a context (i.e: request-response? Page load times? For how many users? Against which baseline?). Given that they already had a system to measure times for request-response on the Database and Server sides, we soon found that what they were not able to tell yet was how/when the data and graphs were actually displayed in the page and ready for the user to interact with them, either by filtering or exporting the results. We then decided to go with tools that do better in interacting with websites themselves, rather than triggering and handling requests. Before we could shortlist the candidate tools, we went on with defining the number of users needed for this Performance test – as you probably know, depending on the amount of threads you are willing to run, some tools may be more work than others. Luckily, the pool of active users was very limited, and we could live decently above the standard level by running 25 threads simultaneously. Our... read more

Don’t Forget About Manual Testing

SOMETIMES THE SIMPLEST SOLUTIONS REALLY ARE THE BEST. Continuous Integration, Agile Development, Automated Testing – there are many options a business needs to consider when deciding how to approach the testing of their new software. With constant pressure to get projects done with fewer resources, and in more compressed time frames, sometimes we wonder if there are better ways to ensure quality then what we are doing today. A quick search on the internet will present you with many different voices saying that you can increase the value of your testing dollar with this new methodology or that hot new industry trend. It makes it easy to get swept away and forget the basics: You want to use the right tool for your project. Sometimes this tool may be something new and hot (for example Continuous Integration is needed when you have an extremely complex application being developed simultaneously by a large number of people and need daily or more frequent releases), but sometimes the right tool is one that has been in your tool box for a long time; Manual Testing. The fact is, Manual Testing is the most common tool in the industry for a simple reason, it is the most flexible testing method there is. It also has some key advantages that are often forgotten and happens to be the best tool for many common jobs. SOME KEY ADVANTAGES OF MANUAL TESTING ARE: Testing can start quickly – Successful development of automated testing, by a QA group or developers, is a small development project and as such takes a good amount of time.  Manual Testing is... read more

ALM 12

Earlier this year, HP released the newest version of ALM (Application Lifecycle Management) version 12.0. HP ALM is one of the more commonly used software tools for managing the lifecycle of an application under construction. Among the activities that HP ALM facilitates are requirements tracking, test planning, functional test exertion and defect management. HP ALM enables the objects created from these activities to be connected and traced back to each other quickly and easily. With the latest version of ALM, the functionality of the requirement tracking, test planning, functional testing and defect management activities are mostly untouched. ALM 12 does have some major enhancements and changes; the highlights of which shall be touched upon below. ALM Web Client HP ALM 12 includes a new web client that can be used in conjunction with the desktop client. The ALM web client deals with Requirements tracking and Defect management allowing the user to Create, Read and Update those objects. The ALM web client does not appear to provide support for test planning and test execution activities. The ALM web client would be at this stage the best for the type of users whom do not necessarily deal with test execution such as Business Annalists, Project Managers, and Developers. Unlike the ALM Desktop client, there is support for multiple browsers and Multiple Operating systems with the ALM web client and might be ideal for users whom work primarily with a mobile tablet device (though not a phone). The ALM Desktop is unchanged where it shall only work with Windows and Internet Explorer. Cloud Support HP ALM 12 includes the ability to use... read more

The Big Data Revolution

ARE YOU AND YOUR BUSINESS READY? Members of the Olenick Global, Belfast team attended events last week as part of the global Big Data Week 2014. The key message delivered during conference day was that Big Data is all about making better business decisions that in turn lead to cost-effective technology, business-driven value, advanced analytics, and a competitive advantage for your organization. The conference was held on May 7th in the Titanic Building where keynote speakers included representatives from Aridhia, PwC UK, Almac Diagnostics, IBM, Allstate, Fujitsu, and Cloudera who offered their experiences within a range of Big Data challenges. A common touch point was data quality with the traditional ‘Rubbish in, Rubbish out’ analogy still ringing true. Data integrity / data cleansing are becoming even more important as the quantity of data collected on a daily basis in every area of our lives increases exponentially. Remember when a 90Mb disk was cutting edge? And now we are talking in ExaBytes, Zettabytes and Yottabytes! The Big Data ‘Revolution’ has been compared to the Industrial Revolution and the challenges are no different. They include changes on a variety of platforms: ORGANIZATIONAL – cross functionality between the business and IT. FLEXIBILITY – adopting an agile response to requirements and providing a holistic approach to client’s needs. PERFORMANCE MANAGEMENT – this will be key in core areas focused on product, solution and valuable business insights. The audience’s main concern centered on questions of governance and just how ‘anonymous’ can this data be. Data groups are mashed up to produce very specific geographic profiles, there are ethical questions surrounding the use of data,... read more

Cloudera Partner News Announcement

Olenick & Associates: Now a Systems Integrator Partner with Cloudera. Cloudera Connect is the largest partner ecosystem in the Big Data market.  Cloudera is the leader in enterprise analytic data management powered by Apache... read more

Olenick Testing Solutions and Big Data

HOW DOES TESTING CHANGE WHEN BIG DATA IS IN THE MIX? Olenick & Associates is a leader in providing industry-proven Functional Testing Solutions and Best Practices.   Software Testing can be complex and it is only becoming more challenging as new technologies and hosting approaches are deployed. Olenick launched its  Big Data Practice in December of 2013 as a response to the growing reliance its clients have on Big Data and Hadoop technologies.  The Big Data practice formalizes Olenick’s testing approaches for Big Data environments as well as provides Big Data Solution Architecture services. With Global Big Data Week upon us, what a better time to present the ways in which our 15 years of Software Testing experience applies to the exciting world of Big Data.   By Joan Macijunas, Associate, Big Data Practice – Olenick & Associates,... read more

Following Up with Heartbleed

Three weeks ago (give or take) the Heartbleed defect exploded onto the computer security scene. In the past few weeks the bug has been the subject of both debate and research. Given those discussions and discoveries, now is a good time to take a look at the scope of the problem. Sadly, most of the discoveries are bad. There was some debate about whether or not the bug actually allowed an attacker to acquire the secret SSL key itself from the server, a maneuver that would completely compromise a site’s security and enable the decryption of previously captured encrypted data. This was considered to be the “worst case scenario.” The claim was challenged and put to a test by a web security company named CloudFlare, who actually made a contest out of it. Unfortunately for all of us, a Cambridge University security researcher named Rubin Xu proved that this worst case scenario is in fact quite doable. On top of that, other researchers have found that the defect is included in a host of embedded devices. Printers, firewalls, routers, even video cameras are susceptible to attack. This opens up whole new avenues whereby a network may be compromised. And we now have confirmation that people are actively attempting to exploit the defect. Honeypots, servers constructed to be deliberately vulnerable so as to encourage an attack, have been deployed to collect data on potential attackers. Researchers from the University of Michigan detected 41 unique attacks by April 15th, 59% of them originating from China. So it has been proven that there are people actively seeking to exploit the vulnerability. The researchers... read more

Big Data Week 2014 in Belfast and Around the World

Belfast has been chosen as one of only thirty cities worldwide to host events as part of BIGDATA Week 2014. Belfast has also recently been chosen as one of four UK locations to host a new £7m ‘big data’ centre, Northern Ireland is surely on its way to be regarded as a worldwide BIG DATA hub. The Big Data Week runs in the city from May 9 – 11 and the festival aims to connect a number of global cities through: Locally hosted meetups Events Networking functions Data visualisation demos Debates Discussions and hackathons “Big Data Week educates and creates new opportunities for organisations of all shapes and sizes in understanding what Big Data can do for them now and in the future,” notes Andrew Gregson, founder of media140 and Big Data Week London in an interview with the Belfast Telegraph. With Olenick & Associates being recognised leaders in testing solutions with significant experience in Big Data / Hadoop architecture, the team from Olenick Global Offices in Belfast will be in attendance at events over the three days. See you there! For more information about Big Data Week around the world click here. By Mark McGuinness, Lab Manager – Olenick Global,... read more

New Jobs Forecast for Northern Ireland

In a recent survey, Ireland was ranked number 1 in the world for business – researchers have estimated that there will be about 30,000 new jobs created in Northern Ireland over the next five years. The main areas which will see an increase in hiring are manufacturing and professional services. This in turn will boost the construction industry, thus increasing an engineer’s chances of employment. Graduates will also thrive as post-graduate roles will be coming in from these jobs. Welcome Concentrix Concentrix’s announcement to create 1,000 jobs has only amplified these rankings. With the recession hitting the UK and Ireland like a ton of bricks this could be the “light at the end of the tunnel.” Concentrix is considered a “Software Giant” and works with several companies from the west coast of America including Seagate, Cybersource VisaCybersource, Vello Systems and WANdisco; these companies have already established operations in Northern Ireland. The announcement, which was delivered last week, has really boosted the moral of the city. Graduates of all ages now have a chance to get their foot on the employment ladder and with Concentrix being a prestige company I’m sure there will be a queue. With 1,000 jobs on offer Northern Ireland looks forward to the substantial amount of contribution to the local economy. Belfast isn’t looking too bad now. Welcome Mark Recently in our Olenick Global Belfast Office, Mark McGuinness has joined us to take over Brandon’s role, who will be returning to snowy Chicago to Manage Olenick’s HQ Test Lab. We wish Brandon the best of luck as he departs the Belfast office. A big Olenick welcome to Mark who has over 20 years’ experience in the IT industry, mostly... read more

Game of Test Data Management

I expect to have a cogent thought or two on the subject of test data management…eventually. Meanwhile, enjoy this satirical antidote on the matter. Game of Thrones Data To: Testing Team CC: Project Management Re: Does anyone have a test customer account with an Oklahoma billing address? Thanks, everyone, for the 30 IDs and passwords you’ve sent me, especially for the four that actually have an Oklahoma address. Unfortunately, one of those accounts is no longer open. I’d go into the SQL database and flip it back to ‘active’ but, as we all know, IT turf protection policy does not allow QA direct access to the databases. I will ask Dave, the test environment dba, to fix it for us as soon as he comes back from rock-climbing in Senegal. The second ID is active but I found out, after putting together a 50-item order and trying to check-out, that the account is in credit hold, according to the test sandbox over at CredCo. I’ve sent them a request to clear it but, sadly, the sun will be burning out in a mere 5 billion years, long before we can expect them to get around to it. (As an aside, when did all six test AlbanianExpress card numbers expire? And who do we have to talk to over on the legacy-component testing side to get those fixed? And when is development going to fix that bug that forces you to start an order over (50 items!) after you submit an expired credit card?) Anyway, where was I? Oh yea. Oklahoma. The third customer looks OK (OK okay, not OK... read more

The Heartbleed Bug

As you may be aware a flaw in the security infrastructure of much of the internet has been recently discovered. The defect is referred to as “heart bleed” or “Heartbleed” and it is without question one of the biggest challenges to online security to date. In essence, the bug is the result of a coding error in the OpenSSL cryptographic library, an error that can be exploited to obtain sensitive data and potentially used to decrypt information captured previously. To make matters worse, the bug is widespread. The OpenSSL library is a very popular tool for encrypting online data. It is the preferred library for creating secured transactions on both the Apache and Nginx web servers, which together account for over 66% of all web servers on the internet. It is also used for some mail servers and some types of VPN service. If you use the internet, and I’m assuming you do if you’re reading this now, the odds are very good that this bug affects you directly. SSL stands for Secure Socket Layer, a standard that has been superseded by the more modern implementation of the same technique, called Transport Layer Security, or TLS. However, despite its name the OpenSSL library is used in TLS as well. SSL and TLS both work by means of a shared encryption key. This means that when two parties wish to communicate privately online, for example you and your bank, they exchange a numeric key that is used to encrypt all messages and information sent back and forth. Without the key none of the traffic can be read by a third... read more

Microsoft APP-V Overview

Application Virtualization is a technology that appears to end users as if an application is installed onto a machine. Virtualized applications are in fact not installed and do not leave a footprint on a machine. These applications function and operate in the same fashion as an application that has been physically installed in traditional fashion. Microsoft App-V (MS App-V) is one of many tools in the Microsoft Desktop Optimization Pack (MDOP) offering a desktop solution that: Helps reduce application deployment costs Enables delivery of applications as a service Manages and controls enterprise desktop environments Application Virtualization eliminates the need for local installation of applications. Applications are either streamed or locally cached from an APP-V or SCCM server. Once streamed to the client, an application can be launched and used in the same manner as if the application bits are installed onto the machine. App-V applications can be delivered without requiring costly compatibility testing and eliminates application conflicts that are typical with traditional software. However, applications still need to be packaged into APP-V format rather than the traditional msi/mst format. Meanwhile, the management of applications in a large enterprise will become simpler. Licensing, upgrades, and removals can be centrally managed. Olenick and Associates has partnered with Flexera Software to utilize AdminStudio to package APP-V and MSI applications with Flexera’s AdminStudio packaging too. Olenick has the experience and leadership to create APP-V and MSI packages in a timely manner to assist companies to get their applications into their enterprise. Learn more in the Microsoft’s APP-V overview. By Bryan Surek, Lead Senior Consultant – Olenick & Associates,... read more

Robot Framework IDE

The Belfast Team, using RIDE with Selenium2Library, recently completed a regression smoke test suite for www.olenick.com. This regressions suite checks that all pages and links work as expected as new builds are deployed. This internal project stemmed from research planning for a testing engagement that would have utilized the Robot framework for semi-automated testing. Internally, we have been brainstorming on a way to automate regression testing for our WordPress site (www.olenick.com) and subsequent enhancement builds. The Robot Framework IDE (RIDE) is the integrated development environment to implement and edit automated tests for the Robot Framework. The Robot Framework is a Python based, generic, keyword driven test-automation framework which is used for acceptance testing. It is an application and platform independent framework useful for creating tests for applications with several diverse interfaces. It has reporting and logging capabilities, it provides tagging to categorize and select test cases to be executed and test case and test-suite -level setup and tear down. If someone were to ask me if it was a good tool to use if they have minimal coding experience, well my answer to that would be “yes” and “no.” The reason for this is because as a tool for basic level test automation it is indeed viable. However, my opinion is there are other tools out there that can perform this sole function for team members with less coding experience more efficiently. A major reason that I say this is because often times what the viewer can see and do on the browser does not translate as to what RIDE can do and see. Let me show you an example... read more

HP LoadRunner 12.0: A First Look

The latest version of standalone LoadRunner (12.0) was released by HP on March 17th. With this latest release comes some significant changes over the prior 11.52 release, but not the wholesale type of changes that were present when upgrading from 11 to 11.50. If you’re wondering whether or not it makes sense to leap to version 12.0, I’ll try to highlight some main points of the release in this blog article as well as give you some initial snapshots at the interface. One of the first things I noticed about this release was the change in licensing structure/naming. Version 12.0 is now called a “Community” edition and as such comes with a new permanent bundle of 50 Vusers. This means you can run up to 50 concurrent users through the Controller without any license expiration, and includes all protocols except GUI and COM/DCOM. It is nice to see HP come on board, as other tool vendors such as SOASTA had already allowed this same type of permanent trial for a small number of Vusers.  After a successful installation, you should see the following under the LoadRunner License Utility: Another feature HP put time into with this release was the emphasis to improve the installation process.  Regarding this front, HP now gives the ability for a non-admin user account to install all LoadRunner components.  This is nice especially given the increased difficulty in obtaining local admin rights within corporate organizations.  Secondarily, HP has simplified the product installation, with a shorter overall install time (YEAH!). With such a big emphasis on the Cloud in IT, it made sense for HP to... read more

Let’s get Connected!

Home is where the heart is and that was no different for Mobile World Congress’s (MWC) Connected City. The connected home is looking like the next big technology revolution that will dramatically change many aspects of our daily lives. These connected services range from entertainment, home automation and security to healthcare and controlling energy use. The connected home will be a single environment where we’ll be able to keep control of the network, the devices and the data. AT&T was showcasing their Digital Life at MWC. A self-service, self-monitored home security, automation and energy platform. It offers a turnkey solution that allows you stay connected using your smart device. A lot of this technology is already available in the US. Olenick & Associates has been leading the way in the energy vertical through our longstanding relationships with energy providers and most recently, our involvement in the BGE SmartGrid project that monitors SmartMeters for utilities. The result is that as consumers we have more information and more choice, plus the flexibility to control appliances through smart-phone apps. And coming to every well-connected bathroom – the new Oral B interactive electric toothbrush with Bluetooth 4.0 connectivity! The clever combo of Bluetooth connectivity and the Oral B app brings oral health right into the 21st century allowing you and dental professionals to program the app to create personalized brushing. The electric toothbrush handle can store up to 20 brushing sessions, the data is then transferred the next time the app is connected to the toothbrush and updates your records. The idea is that this will drive patient compliance which in turn determines a... read more

What is the Value Proposition? How do I get Started?

Big Data IS a Big Deal The question is: WHERE IS THE VALUE PROPOSITION? Welcome to the second webinar in the Value Proposition series. Part 1) What is Hadoop, the History, the Ecosystem? Part 2) What is the Value Proposition? How do I get started? AGENDA Part 2: Specific Value Propositions Big Data Success Plan Assessment Questions Stay tuned to the “Make-Sensor-Not?” blog for future discussions on Hadoop and Big Data Testing and Performance Solutions. By Joan Macijunas, Associate, Big Data Practice – Olenick & Associates,... read more

The Future is Bright, The Future is Mobile

The future’s bright, the future’s mobile; a connected life with a side order of augmented reality. During Mobile World Congress 2014 (MWC14) I attended a keynote titled ‘Driving New Revenues & Relationships for Operators and Brands’ where Marieta Rivero, CMO of Telefonica Digital stated that, “whether it’s entertainment, leisure, driving or shopping the digital revolution is turning day to day life upside down.” Thomas Crampton, Global MD for Social Media at Ogilvy & Mather added that, “the worlds of social and mobile are merged to the point where they are indistinguishable.” Both points are valid yet when it comes to living a mobile, connected life how close are we? And in what way might Augmented Reality kick in? The Olenick team headed off on a Mobile City Tour to find out how far Barcelona had managed to bring mobile innovations to it’s streets whilst transforming our experiences of shopping, art and culture. Several fashion stores in Barcelona’s shopping area of Passeig de Gràcia had installed m_shopping solutions aimed at showing how mobile technology improves the user experience. The highlight for me was a VIP guided tour of one of Antoni Gaudi’s most emblematic masterpieces, Casa Batlló. Their premium video guide (below) is a small tablet with headphones that takes you on an enchanting room by room tour revealing hidden secrets, encrypting symbolism and all the while creating original settings and atmosphere. Before your very eyes skylights in the shape of tortoise shells take form and swim away, the mushroom fireplace disappears in a puff of smoke and the ingenious ventilation system reminiscent of fish gills is beautifully depicted. The talk of the... read more

FitBit Challenge

Mobile World Congress (MWC14) this year was definitely #Connected! From the Connected City, to connected automobiles to pretty much anything imaginable connected living in the mobile world. This year MWC14 had the Fitbit Challenge. A tie-in of connected health and a challenge of fitness for the record breaking attendance of over 85K visitors. If you have not heard of Fitbit yet, you will. These wearable devices are soaring in popularity across the globe. If you search ‘fitbit popularity’ you will see the reviews, obsessions and craze that is sweeping people interested and involved in fitness. One of the immediate draws for me was the social component of your Fitbit profile. I have several friends and family members also wearing one of their devices, and through the power of social networking, yes, we are “friends” via Fitbit. Or should I say “competitors?!” I find myself syncing my Fitbit on average every 2 days, and of course, checking to see whom I am connected with has had the most activity. I am also able to run reports and logs with a very intuitive and user friendly online Fitbit interface. Log sleep, see most active times throughout the day, even down to the minute. In the 3 days that I wore the Fitbit Flex (see photo inset below) at MWC14, I averaged 5-8 miles per day. That gives you just a small picture of how big MWC is. If I started at the South Entrance and walked non-stop to the North Entrance, where we were situated with Invest NI’s Northern Ireland stand, it took approximately 20 minutes. Yes, near a mile from... read more

What is Hadoop, the History, the Ecosystem?

Big Data IS a Big Deal The question is: WHERE IS THE VALUE PROPOSITION? The following webinars will help you understand two things Part 1) What is Hadoop, the History, the Ecosystem? Part 2) What is the Value Proposition? How do I get started? AGENDA Part 1: Define Hadoop Hadoop History What is Big Data Big Data Use Cases Industry Impact Why Hadoop Core Components Ecosystem   Stay tuned to the “Make-Sensor-Not?” blog for future discussions on Hadoop and Big Data Testing and Performance Solutions. By Joan Macijunas, Associate, Big Data Practice – Olenick & Associates,... read more

Mobility in 2014 and Beyond – Keynotes, Product Launches, and Innovations

I’m writing this from somewhere over the Atlantic with 140mph headwinds. Almost 10 hours from BCN to EWR. Lots of time for blogs, now I’m only constrained by battery power. I miss Placa Reial already. The Mobile World Congress is a massive 4 day meeting of mobile carriers, device and vehicle manufacturers, networking and consulting services providers, and other connected mobile industry companies. Mobile industry executives from the world connect in Barcelona to showcase new service offerings, devices, tools, and industry innovations. This year’s exhibition space included 8 large meeting halls displaying the latest technologies. Device manufacturers, especially Samsung, had a large presence at the halls. Another notable event was Firefox’s innovative launch of their new GM, Mobile Operating System. Other vehicle manufacturing companies had a presence on the expo floor featuring mobile device connected cars from GM, Ford, Mercedes, Tesla, and BMW. Keynotes included presentations from industry executives from Telecom carriers, device manufacturers and software executives. I was most impressed with the huge effort for companies to showcase their new products and services. The conference halls had exhibition stands that were like large retail 30’x100′ “stores in a box”, temporary for only 4 days, complete with devices and displays, sales/ marketing representatives, IT support, and refreshments. I attended Mark Zuckerberg’s keynote presentation on the first day of the conference. Mark presented his vision for creating internet.org, a new group dedicated to delivering the internet to the “next 1 or 2 billion” internet users. For that next segment of the internet population, the means to acquire (afford) the internet is there but the awareness (tangible benefits or advantages) is... read more

Mobile World Congress in Progress

If you follow Olenick on Social Media you are aware of our presence in Barcelona – Kevin Flynn, Brandon McGuire and Claire McBride made it to Fira Gran Via for 4 days of exploring all that is emerging in the mobile world. Check out the photos our crew was able to capture at this fantastic event thus far: With one day left at the MWC14 we are packing it all in and connecting with vendors and partners to better our services for YOU! Want real-time updates? Follow us on Twitter @olenickIT and stay tuned for attendee perspective blogs next... read more

By 2017 Half of the World’s Data will be Stored in Hadoop

Half the world’s data, that is hard to imagine, let alone store. By now, certainly if you are in the IT industry, you have heard all about Big Data…and maybe even know what Hadoop is and isn’t. One reason the title of this blog could turn out to be accurate, is that half the world’s data will be from Facebook, Yahoo, and Google. Let’s not forget online video providers; because of the nature of their data, Hadoop and NoSQL solutions are the only technologies (today) that can meet their business needs. Those business needs are: Performance Scalability Versatility Compatibility Affordability If we consider that these business needs are important to many other industries, industries with sizable IT Infrastructure, HALF of the World’s Data might be on the low side. As an example of this adoption, the Big Data market is projected to have a “31% compound annual growth rate over the five year period 2012-2017,” per Jeff Kelly. See here for the complete analysis. Visualization of Data A picture is worth a thousand words. Visualization will be worth millions. Millions of dollars. That is because strategic insight will be seen immediately, and action taken. Checkout this wind map  for a great example of visual data and stay tuned for more in the “Make-Sensor-Not?” blog series.   By Joan Macijunas, Associate, Big Data Practice – Olenick & Associates,... read more

A Global Approach with a Local Community Feel

The Northern Ireland Chamber of Commerce continues to keep Olenick Global and all its members’ #WellConnected. This coming week we look forward to their “Giant Networking Event” at the Electric Ireland Lounge at the Odyssey Arena here in Belfast. Networking and Hockey, win win! The continuous well-planned and executed events hosted by Northern Ireland’s Chamber of Commerce continue to provide Olenick Global a route to engage with other members and businesses for possible partnership and collaboration opportunities.   We are still buzzing about our recent feature in their outstanding members magazine “Ambition.”   As they put it quite simply, “We help our members grow through unrivalled networking opportunities” and we agree.  Since joining in 2012 Olenick Global has attended over a half dozen events including their “Annual Lunch” and “Breakfast Networking”. We continue to position ourselves in networking and business engagement opportunities to get the word out of our available IT solutions, our global footprint and the Olenick brand. Next in the lineup is our attendance at the largest mobile conference in the world, Mobile World Congress 2014 sponsored by GSMA in Barcelona. We will have representatives from Olenick Global Belfast and our senior vice president of business development from Chicago, Kevin Flynn. It seemed very far off when we started preliminary planning of our attendance, and now, with less than 10 days away, you wonder where the time went. Held annually in Barcelona with over 1,700 mobile industry exhibitors and 72,000 attendee’s from around the world, the MWC offers Olenick an opportunity to engage with businesses that we can partner with in the future. The team has scheduled several B2B... read more

Viva Barcelona

As the 10th most visited city in the world and 3rd in Europe, after London and Paris, Barcelona is an internationally renowned tourist destination. Yet whilst these Catalonians know how to party it’s also a hard-working, dynamic place to do business with a focus on hi-tech industries. Barcelona is home to the Mobile World Congress which takes places this year from 24-27 February 2014 – and Olenick will be there flying the flag! MWC is all about the NEXT big innovation and showcases cutting edge technology from around the world. And of course as it’s about all things mobile the GSMA have a super event app designed for delegates and ensures you get the most out of the show. It’s not all work and no play on a business trip. Barcelona is a big city and it’s the perfect size to go exploring on foot, by bike or bus. Here are some recommended apps as the MWC approaches: This app is the Official Tourism Guide to Barcelona providing interactive tourist information easily and rapidly on your smartphone. And once you know how you’re going to spend your day and what you’d like to see – you’ll need this app. It uses augmented reality to show you where the nearest metro is and what time the next bus will arrive at your stop. Antoni Gaudi left behind one of the most important architectural legacies in Barcelona. His modernist landmarks are scattered throughout the city with 5 of them having been declared UNESCO World Heritage Sites. This must have app dedicates each chapter to a Gaudi landmark. The descriptions are accompanied... read more

Olenick Global, Belfast – The 2 Year Milestone

As Olenick Global Belfast celebrates 2 years in Northern Ireland, it is time to find our next leader! When we decided to expand our global footprint by opening a testing center of excellence in Belfast, Northern Ireland we knew we had landed in a good pool of talent. This pool is competitive and full of exciting, rewarding opportunities. Just search the job boards here in Northern Ireland, it is apparent that if you have the IT skills and experience that are needed and you are a go-getter, there is a job for you. Most importantly, here with Olenick Global! Olenick Global is firmly settled in our new offices in the City Centre. As we hit our 2 year mark of setting up shop, it is now time to grow our Global Solution Network Leadership Team. Olenick’s Quality Assurance Delivery Lead opportunity will manage, mentor, grow, and lead our Belfast testing team to the next level. Prior to Olenick I had built a team from the ground up and I have always looked back on that time in my career with excitement and the energy around being part of that. When the opportunity to open our new lab in Belfast came up, recruiting a brand new team, there was only one answer, “Yes, when we do hit the ground?” Can you believe that was 2 years ago? Time does fly when you are part of a great company and team that is rewarding and challenging each and every day. The lab here in Belfast has much growth ahead. Right now with 10 team members working in Belfast and our projected team... read more

Olenick & Associates Launches Big Data Practice

Olenick & Associates is growing, again! We couldn’t be more excited to announce the launch of our newest Practice, Big Data, and welcome Joan Macijunas, Associate, to the Olenick family. Read more in the Press Release and stay tuned for Joan’s blog “Make-Sensor-Not?” coming soon to the Olenick Insights page.  You can also follow Joan on Twitter @MakeSensorNot for up-to-date news and information in the world of Big Data and Hadoop. “I am thrilled to be part of the Olenick Team and assist clients in understanding the huge return on investment that Hadoop and it’s Ecosystem brings to business.  Hadoop and Big Data will leave no industry untouched.  Keep an open mind though, this opensource gem doesn’t need petabytes of data to be useful and return value. Innovate, Experiment, Evolve.” – Joan... read more

Continuous Integration, Continuous Testing, Continuous Deployment

In software development, integration is the process of combining individual software components into a single application. Continuous Integration (CI) is the practice of integrating new or changed code on a regular basis. Its purpose is to detect issues early in the development cycle. Instead of integrating code as part of a large, separate process toward the end of the implementation phase in the SDLC, CI aligns with Agile development by enforcing integration to occur frequently – at least once a day – thus enhancing agility and improving quality. CI software such as Jenkins is used to automate the build, test and deployment processes. This encourages frequent code commits, frequent testing and frequent deployments which will help to detect defects early in development cycle. Typically, code is stored in a repository handled by a Versioning Control System (VCS) such as Git or Subversion. As developers develop an application, they commit new or modified code to the repository . When the application is ready for QA testing, the code is pulled from the repository, a build is made, unit and integration tests are performed, and the application is deployed. With CI software, all of these steps can be automated. CI software can grab the code from the repository, build the application, perform unit and integration tests then deploy the build to a test environment. Implementing automated test scripts into the CI pipeline allows QA analysts to focus on tests that must be performed manually. Implementing a Continuous Integration system to automate the deployment process is beneficial for several reasons: Anyone on the team can run a build because the process is... read more

Application Performance Management (APM): Where are we and where are we going?

The Application Performance Management (APM) space has never been more important to organizations as it is today with so much of business profitability depending on fast, reliable web and mobile applications. At the same time, IT departments have never felt so much pressure to deliver on these applications with environment complexities not seen before, increased business demand, and all the while operating with shrinking budgets on manpower and infrastructure resources. There is a real need to go beyond simply reporting out the end user response times from a performance test. With the integration of various APM toolsets, this synthetic monitoring enables all transactions to be traced across all of the different application tiers. In short, you will no longer be asking the question “Yes, I see that login response times are high, but where is the bottleneck?” The new wave of APM products on the marketplace, provide a true way of optimizing application performance. The value has extended beyond monitoring for issues, to extremely rapid troubleshooting as well as optimization of your application. Some of the leading tools in this APM space are HP Diagnostics, Compuware ALM, OPNET, Precise, and AppDynamics. There are a number of industry sectors out there who are helping to drive the future of APM forward. No question the biggest benefit is seen within the financial services industry. Within the financial services sector, every transaction is highly critical and there is often financial services regulation around every transaction. These firms also are used to sitting on the leading edge of technology. E-commerce is the next logical driving force behind the next wave of APM toolset... read more

Ambition – Magazine of the Northern Ireland Chamber of Commerce

This article first appeared in Ambition, the official magazine of the Northern Ireland Chamber of Commerce. Getting IT right US company Olenick is at the front end of making sure that huge and complex IT systems work properly the first time…and every time. Adrienne McGill reports. Northern Ireland may seem a world away from the Midwest United States, but for one American business executive who hails from there – being based in the Province is proving to be a strategically important move for his company. Brandon McGuire is Operations Manager in Northern Ireland for Olenick & Associates, a specialist IT services provider to major international organisations across the world. Headquartered in Chicago, the company’s expertise covers the full lifecycle of IT systems including software testing, project management, business requirements analysis, infrastructure support, software engineering, and managed services. Basically, the company tests massively complex and large scale IT projects for clients in order to identify any problems or issues and rectify them before the system goes live. Some of the company’s largest clients are in the energy sector including gas, electricity and nuclear power companies. Olenick’s client base also includes the financial and legal sectors. The firm was founded in 1998 by owner Tom Olenick and has become the largest software testing firm in the US Midwest. Based in the windy city, the company also has an office in Philadelphia and offshore operations in Buenos Aires, Argentina and Northern Ireland. Olenick’s Belfast IT facility opened in June 2012 creating 55 new jobs with almost 15 of the positions filled so far at its offices on Lombard Street in the city... read more

Performance Testing Metrics – Where Do We Start?

From the title, you may think this blog article is going to list a bunch of technical server metrics for performance testing, what they mean and their allowable ranges. I will leave that discussion for a future post. For now, we need to start at the beginning. We need to consider the ‘who’, the ‘why’ and the ‘what’ behind the collection of metrics for performance testing. First – we look at the ‘who’. Who wants these Performance test metrics, why do they want them and what do they mean to them? We want to measure things to which those people can relate. Secondly – we consider why we are measuring anything. We will look at the types of issues that we may encounter when testing an application. This will also help us figure out what we should be measuring. Lastly – we will take the above information and determine what categories of metrics are likely to satisfy those who are asking the question: “How is my application performing?” I think this is OK, should we ask someone? First let’s talk about who consumes performance metrics. We collect metrics for a reason and that reason is to make sure that every interested party is aware of how the application is performing. The following people and / or teams are going to be concerned with the collection of load test metrics: Load test team The database administrator The server engineer – which may include a VM engineer Application development team The application project manager The quality assurance team Business Analyst or business users The project sponsor Each of these stakeholders has an interest in successful performance of... read more

Beyond Testing – Data Automation

When starting with a new client, there is always a transitional period as you get ramped up on systems, policies, procedures, etc. – How you overcome this transitional period is what can set you up for long term success or failure. There can be a steep learning curve when it comes to gathering information on how files that pass data from one system to another operate, this is essential to understand in order to be able to mock the data for testing purposes. Sometimes existing documentation is sparse and resources are limited for training on site. Teams often need to come up with a solution that works not only for the testing team, but also for the business testers, allowing them to be more independent during the UAT (User Acceptance Testing) phase to free up resources that could be directed elsewhere. One of the problems typically encountered during testing is identifying who is responsible for generating the necessary data to validate system changes. In one instance, a customer’s systems received files from many external vendors, which came in a variety of file formats. This resulted in many different types of files needing to be generated for testing. There was no dedicated resource available to perform the job of creating the files, the developers didn’t have the time budgeted in the project plan nor did the project have the dollars in the overall budget and the business testers just want to have the necessary data. This provided an opportunity to show how the Olenick team could develop tools to automate areas in the testing arena outside of the usual automation of... read more

Simple Approach to Performance Testing

Performance testing requires participation by experts in System Engineering, Software Development, Business Processes, and Testing. No other type of testing requires the participation of so many roles. What is Performance Testing? A performance test will measure how a system responds to a realistic workload. The goal is to prove a system can handle a peak load equal to the busiest hour of the busiest day we are likely to see. Performance is defended by the following measurable attributes: Capacity – Measure of units of work per time period (e.g. use cases per hour) performed by the system. This is also known as “throughput.” Speed – Measure of time taken by the system to respond to inputs such as a request to a service for specific output at specific load levels. Stability – Number of failed used cases per use case attempts and number of errors encountered throughout the system at specific load levels. Efficiency – Measure of system resources such as CPU and network bandwidth consumed across the system at specific load levels. Success Factors Successful performance tests include: Before each test run document test objectives including acceptable thresholds for measurable performance attributes. Realistic approach and plan for accomplishing the objectives. Effective development of the software used to generate the realistic load. Accurate and efficient creation of test data. Accurate and clear result documentation from every test run. (Detailed results will often lead to changes in future tests, do not rely on perceptions, rely upon documented facts.) Cycles of system tuning and re-testing to optimize performance. Phases of Performance Testing Business participation is needed for the first two phases;... read more

Mobile Device Testing in 2014

Are you attached to your Mobile Device? What kind of device do you have? A high tech phone or a tablet I would imagine. Do you use it for work? Does your work give you a phone or tablet to use? Most of us use our mobile devices for both work and personal needs. I assume a lot of you check email on your phones, whether for business or personal reasons. Oh, and what about that Facebook thing….Over the past year, I have seen Facebook being used for both business and personal reasons. What about the various mobile business apps. I assume that your company allows you to add the app to your own mobile device or onto a device that is given to you by your company. As you can see, the mobile device arena is expanding quickly and the devices are being used for more and more tasks; both personal and business. People are connecting them to home and work networks. People are installing their company apps on their devices. Some business teams install test software onto their own personal devices to test (hmmm BYOD comes to mind, right?). What’s in store for 2014? Well, I don’t believe the mobile device market will get smaller. In fact, the area that is projected to get smaller will be the personal computer area. PC sales are predicted to diminish by approximately 7% this year alone with mobile device sales continuing to skyrocket. So, as a lot of you were shopping over the holidays, you probably noticed more stores using mobile devices to check you out, right? I saw companies... read more

Performance Testing – New Vistas

WE’VE BEEN HERE Performance testing (aka: load testing) has been like the technology it supports – constantly changing over the years. Testing started with mainframe applications, then client/server was all the rage, after that the internet changed the face of IT applications. What to expect next? Let’s look at how performance testing is evolving with these changes. CLOUDY WITH a chance of services Isn’t an IT cloud that puffy looking figure on an application architecture diagram? Well, yes and no. That cloud may be part of the solution. Pair cloud computing with cloud services and solve issues like: Insufficient Computing Resources Need for Cost Effectiveness Lack of Experienced Internal Resources With performance testing from the Cloud there is no need to purchase new servers for testing. Cloud Services provide resources like virtual hardware and plenty of storage. Experienced resources to implement the tools is also unnecessary, services bring in experienced help. The cost effectiveness means that you only engage resources for the time needed. MOBILE IS not only a town in Alabama. I have a tablet and others in the office have cell phones, but are those enough to test the load on your application to give you high confidence in proper performance? Ready to performance test mobile – WHERE TO START?   The variables can be daunting: The plethora of devices – Apple, Samsung, Motorola, LG, Nokia, Blackberry… The mobile carriers – Verizon, AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile… The operating systems / versions – IOS, Android, Blackberry 10, Windows…. The application types – Web, Native, Hybrid The performance testing tool companies have approaches to create the necessary load of users.... read more

Deciphering Performance Test Terminology: User Concurrency

To stress out the system under test, multiple users are required to put load to the system. As in the real world scenario, the more users using the system, the more stressed the system becomes. In a simple load profile, each virtual user represents one real world user. For example, global corporation ABC has 5000 employees working in North America, Europe, and Asia. Due to the difference in time zone, not all 5000 employees would be using the system at the same time. Let say 2500 of them work in North America, 1500 in Europe, and 1000 in Asia. At any given time, only one group is working. Therefore the number of concurrent users to simulate in the performance test would be 2500; the highest number. The term User Concurrency and User Base are used regularly in performance test projects. User Base is the term that describes the total number of users in the system. Most of the time, not all users are active at the same time. Based on the example above, global corporation ABC, User Concurrency is 2500 and User Base is 5000. The number of User Concurrency is always lower than the User Base.  The number of concurrent users can be derived from the following sources: Web Analytic Software:  This option is the most accurate way to determine the number of concurrent users in the system. However, brand new websites cannot utilize this option because of the lack of historical traffic data. Business Analysts:  Typically business analysts would have some ideas about how much traffic/load will be on the system at a given time. They can... read more

HP LoadRunner vs. Performance Center

As a consultant at Olenick & Associates I have used HP’s performance testing tools at many clients. Performance testing allows the generation of user load against an application so that the performance, reliability and scalability of an application can be determined. Performance testing will uncover any issues that exist & allow the verification of improvements. HP provides LoadRunner and Performance Center for performance testing of applications. LoadRunner has a windows interface for the main applications : Virtual User Generator – Tool to create / customize scripts for user activity. Controller – Tool to configure and execute the performance test. Analysis – Tool to analyze the performance test results. The Issue Your company / enterprise has multiple installations of LoadRunner with different licenses. Does the entire team know about the different capabilities, licensing, of each installation ? Does the entire team even know about the different installations of LoadRunner that exist ? Additional maintenance for the use of the tool: Each LoadRunner installation must be maintained so that it is at the latest version / patch level. Access to LoadRunner needs to be done for each installation separately. Coordination of tests from each of the installations needs to be maintained so that no testing affects another test. Each installation may have its own storage of results. The Solution HP Performance Center One centralized location for access to the Performance testing tool. Consolidation of all licenses, to maximize the types of tests that anyone can execute. Centralized administration of access to the tool. Centralized scheduling of tests to avoid conflicts. Centralized pooling of resources (Load Generators). Centralized storage of test results,... read more

Olenick & Associates Wishes You a Happy New Year

We wanted to take a moment to thank you – our staff, our partners, our customers and friends for a year to remember!  Olenick & Associates looks back at the last 12 months and wonders, “where did the time go?” Here are just a few of the many highlights:   • We presented on Performance Testing at the QUEST Conference & Expo. • We qualified as a Microsoft Silver level partner in the Devices and Deployment competency. • We proudly obtained VOSB status, in addition to qualifying to participate in the Veterans First Contracting Program. • We had a blast in Las Vegas for the ILTA conference and celebrated the honor of receiving ILTA’s 2013 Innovative Consultant of the Year award.  • We Survived the Wells St. bridge closing near the Chicago headquarters.  • We opened a new lab in Conshohocken (just outside of Philadelphia, PA). • We were lucky enough to get a few Santa visits in Chicago (as documented on our Twitter feed)! Thank you again for being part of the magic – looking forward to 2014, many Olenick Innovations on deck! Enjoy your Holiday! By Jackie Lerash, Marketing & Communications Lead – Olenick & Associates,... read more

Real World Testing

Real World Testing – we are professional testers, with varying devices and different carriers that test all-hours and at multiple locations – it’s a user experience your app needs and Olenick is ready to deliver.  Learn more below in our video blog. Key Points Multiple users are given access to the beta release and begin testing functionality Targeted to the client’s specific needs Deployed and tested quickly and easily Test release is secure Each participating tester is hand-picked based on their experience and qualifications By Joey Bejasa, Consultant – Olenick & Associates,... read more

Customized Metrics Reporting

HP Quality Center / Application Lifecycle Management (QC/ALM) provides a Dashboard interface used to create basic status reports. If a simple report is needed for test teams or personal use, the Dashboard does a fine job; however, the interface does have certain limitations and can cause challenges while producing a complex report without extensive training. If a more detailed and dynamic status report is desired, then exporting the data to Excel is an attractive – and oftentimes easier and less time consuming – solution that can provide relevant, customizable metrics. When using ALM’s Dashboard, trends and complex workflow-related metrics are difficult to create and display. Examples of these difficult-to-create metrics include “defect retested”, “defects closed each day”, and “test cases executed each day.” Another challenging aspect is making a report that displays multiple distinct metrics in a single location in ALM’s Dashboard. Oftentimes, this need can be fulfilled more effectively by querying ALM with embedded SQL queries in Microsoft Excel; then filtering the raw data within Excel to make the presentations and summaries fundamental to test management. Since many IT professionals have Excel training and experience, the many features of Excel, like charting tools and Pivot Tables, can be leveraged to process raw data that is populated into Excel from ALM to produce effective reports. A blog on reporting is not complete without samples so here goes… The first sample contains a portion of a larger report with multiple visible metrics. Among the metrics displayed are: Current status for each module included in the sprint Test execution vs. the estimated plan Number failed tests Every member of the team... read more

Packaged Energy Delivery Systems

It is an exciting time for Energy Delivery Systems. Industry investment in smart grid and Advanced Metering Infrastructure (AMI) are fueling advances in systems that store, process and manage data. Security protection standards (most notably those of the North American Reliability Corporation (NERC) Critical Infrastructure Protection (CIP) program) are changing the way Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition (SCADA) systems are integrated and supported. In addition, growing feature sets for Outage/Distribution Management and Mobile Workforce systems are enhancing the usefulness of these tools. Success in this climate requires more from today’s IT project and support teams. Increased regulation requires stringent process definition and more exacting system configuration. Systems are becoming increasingly sensitive to changes introduced through interfaces and data maintenance changes. Simply put, there is less room for error. Couple these factors with the integration challenges of third party provided systems and it’s enough to make one’s head spin! So what is a team to do? Our answer: Start at the beginning, with requirements. Requirements serve as the foundation for project scope and articulate what constitutes success. The importance of defining them completely and accurately cannot be overstated. Challenges Defining requirements is a task familiar to most projects. Too often they are unorganized or lack specificity resulting in scope creep, project delays, cost overruns, and quality issues. These risks are particularly pronounced with vendor delivered systems, a model common to utility projects. Utility systems are rarely ‘off-the-shelf ‘ product implementations. Most customers require the vendor tailor the product to meet their operational needs. These modifications increase delivery risk. Requirements are typically finalized in the vendor’s technical Statement of Work (SOW)... read more

Does IBM Rational Support Testing Mobile Apps?

While researching Mobile Device testing tools, I asked myself, “who are the major players in the Mobile App testing space?”  After a review online, I noticed a lot of tools to pick from – they all had various features and you would need a spreadsheet to determine what ones would meet your client’s needs. One thing that I wasn’t seeing was an IBM product and since I have used Rational’s test automation tools before, I wanted to see if there was a mobile testing tool that I could review. Guess what?  I did not see one in my basic search so I started to talk to a few of my contacts and they told me that IBM does have a product and it is packaged with another product, “oh man.”  We have been down this road before right? Haven’t you heard someone say, “Well, to get that feature, you need to purchase this package and it is embedded in it.”  We are here to say that again. IBM Rational does have a mobile test automation tool set for Android and IOS. It is actually embedded in the Rational Test Workbench version 8.5. That is very interesting to me since I really didn’t hear much and the tool doesn’t come up right away in a Google search.  Unless…. you specifically put in ‘Rational Test Workbench’ and search for mobile testing.  I was able to find it and I would like to share with you the features the IBM tool has for testing mobile applications. Rational Test Workbench When looking at the Rational Test Workbench, it looks like an Eclipse interface. That... read more

Reporting in HP Quality Center / Application Lifecycle Management (QC/ALM) using Open Test Architecture (OTA)

Let’s face it: reporting in HP Quality Center / Application Lifecycle Management (QC/ALM) has come a long way over the years, especially with the advent of the easier to use Dashboard interface.  Even with the Dashboard, the output is oftentimes large and it is difficult to get a summary view of the testing and defect results.  The solution here is typically Excel reporting in which you can define your own SQL calls and then utilize Visual Basic for Applications (VBA) to format the results of the report.  But still, we always expect more and have resorted to building custom reports outside of QC/ALM.  These reports tend to be Excel-based using SQL.  The pitfalls of this approach will be discussed in a separate blog in our QC/ALM series, stay tuned. Yes, Mercury/HP has always provided a standard way of retrieving information but because it involves some programming it has remained somewhat hidden and underutilized.  The Open Test Architecture (OTA) provides a standard interface for retrieving data from QC/ALM.  You no longer need to know table names and database schemas to generate reports.  If you are wondering about the power of OTA, consider that much of QC was developed using it. Olenick has used OTA to create customized reports for numerous clients.  The reports show metrics that are commonly required by development and support teams to gauge quality and deployment readiness in a concise manner.  The reports can be generated in both Excel and Word formats, they run fast enough to be produced in near real-time for those 8:00 AM status meetings, and they are easy to modify.   Here is... read more

Making a Smooth Transition to Agile: A Tester’s Perspective

Would you like to make a smooth, successful transition from testing a Waterfall project to testing an Agile one?  Here are a few insights that can help you achieve your goal. Any change is going to come with some challenges and the move from Waterfall to Agile is no different. The Waterfall methodology traditionally places testing at the end of the project life cycle and should include very clear and precise documentation, Agile is different. The tester is involved and integrated into the project from the beginning. An Agile methodology pairs testers with developers, formulating a partnership that may not have existed before. The tester may not be the only one testing on the team or the testing team may be much smaller than the tester is used to. These changes result because Agile breaks projects into smaller units of work for developers and testers; therefore fewer people may be needed on the project team.  In fact, the amount of testing done exclusively by the testers may be less than a Waterfall project.  Joel Montvelisky’s QABlog explores just that. Now, let’s take a step back and discuss what Agile is and why it can be positive from a tester’s perspective. Agile is a distinctly different way of delivering a software solution.  In traditional Waterfall projects every action is completed in an assembly line style; one activity does not start until the other has been completed.  Agile is based on breaking the project into multiple smaller pieces, or iterations, and going through the complete solution delivery life-cycle in each iteration.  Yes, this means that during each iteration there will be... read more

The Assured Skills Program and Olenick Global Northern Ireland

Olenick Global of Northern Ireland was honored to participate in the informative video surrounding The Assured Skills programme – the Software Testers Academy has been great for Olenick’s growth in Northern Ireland as we are able to find employees with the right skill sets for our client’s needs. The Assured Skills programme is a joint venture between the Department for Employment and Learning for Northern Ireland and Invest Northern Ireland.   Watch the video and learn more here:... read more

AirDrop on iPhone FINALLY

We’ve all probably been in a situation where you captured a great picture/video with your iPhone, and someone with you asks you to send it to them. Maybe you caught the baby’s first smile or the game winning score. The fact remains that you have something to share. Up until now, you had to go about using some kind of “clunky” method. The popular ways of sharing include email, SMS text message, or a photo sharing site such as Flickr. It’s not really a big hassle to text it or email it but what happens when you don’t have the person’s email or phone number? Then you have to ask for their phone number or email (which you’ll probably mistype). You also might not want them to have your number or email. Pretty soon they’ll start sending you those emails with videos of cats playing the piano. Apple, has included a long overdue feature in iOS7. AirDrop allows you to use your Bluetooth combined with Wi-Fi to send certain files over the air to those around you. It’s already been on Mac for a while. As of right now, Apple’s website says you can send photos, video, websites, locations, contacts, and more. These options will likely expand over time. We’ve tested this out and it’s very easy to use. Particularly, we want to see how much distance you can put between yourself and the other person. First, open up the new Control Center by swiping up from the bottom of the screen. You see a label for Airdrop, and once you tap that, you’ll see this. This is an... read more

Automated Testing of Web Applications – It’s not getting any easier

You know this old joke: This joke can apply to building automated tests for web applications – there’s a temptation to automate what’s easiest to automate rather than what’s most important to automate, and it’s probably never been easier to automate the testing of the back end, the server end, of web applications. From PHP, to JSP, to ASP, and even Ruby on Rails, web development technology typically involved the server-side logic sending an HTTP response back to the browser with a mime type of text/html.  That is, the web page that the end user sees in the browser was typically wholly or mostly constructed on the server and then streamed to the browser to render. For example, if the web page displayed rows and columns resulting from a database query, the response from the web server might contain a mixture of HTML, CSS, and JavaScript something like this: Regardless of whether it was PHP in the 1990’s or Ruby On Rails in the late aughts, if you were to look at the bytes flowing across the wire back to the browser, they would have looked the same over those years.  Testing server output like the output above is hard because parsing HTML is hard and because the format of the HTML changes along with any cosmetic changes to the web page. That’s changing.  With the web applications being written today, you’d would be likely to see the web server returning data with a mime type of text/plain or application/json, something like this: What’s coming back from the server is now pure data, pure JSON (kinda like XML, but... read more

Test Automation – Advantages & Limitations

What is Test Automation: A set of automated test cases is (basically) a program intended to test another program. A variety of tools available in the market (such as Ranorex and SOASTA Test, which are Olenick partners) offer a number of features that emulate Mobile user behavior and validate usability aspects such as size of images & display, location of links and buttons, reaction to touch over screens and response time when performing certain actions – and many more of the kind. Test Automation Limitations: Automated Functional Tests CANNOT be used to validate user experience in regards to ease of use, GUI friendliness, appearance and aesthetic consistency across the application. The testing of those items can only be automated indirectly, for example, searching the GUI for certain items with specific features. In other words: the acceptance criteria for items accounting for the user experience MUST be covered manually by humans at first. Then, the “positive” impressions from the user can be translated into checkpoints, whose aspect and presentation can be used as validation points in an automated test suite. Test Automation Advantages: It is way faster than the manual testing. Even highly trained manual testers will not outdo an automated suite of test cases. This is particularly valuable when rushing regression testing against the clock after any changes are introduced close to a project deadline. Wider test coverage of application features. Items such as performance and stress tests can be covered only by automation scripts. Therefore, by automating your test cases you will expand your testing coverage. Reliable in results. Functional Automation tests will always validate that their checkpoints... read more

The Automation of Mobile Testing – Should We or Shouldn’t We

Test automation of applications has been around for many years. There are many of us in the automated testing field that started very early in the test automation phase, but the introduction of mobile devices has brought on a new angle in test automation of applications. Mobile device testing introduces new technical challenges along with new processes and testing tools. But should we use test automation for mobile applications that are on mobile devices? Many of us have mobile devices and we get our applications from the stores on Android or iOS and we go about our business. But what about quality, performance and business rules? Here are some thoughts on why we should use automated tools for mobile device testing: As we know, there are at least three kinds of applications for Mobile Devices; Native, Mobile Web, and Hybrid. Like any application, developers need to build it, and testers test it. Now, when we introduce methodology into the mix, we add challenges. This agile development process introduces tight timelines and tight delivery dates. Developers are challenged to get the business processes into the applications as quickly as possible. This adds multiple builds daily, sometimes hourly. In the desktop and standard web testing process, whether automated or manual, we would expect to regression test each build, right? How many testers would you need to do that when builds are being delivered so quickly? Can manual testers do that and keep up with what they have tested, along with making sure that the business processes have been tested each time? When there is a time crunch, usually there will be decisions made... read more

App Deployment Over the Air

In recent years, we have finally seen mobile devices disconnect from their bulky computer counterparts.  You no longer need a standalone computer to own an iPhone for instance.  In the early days of the iOS devices, you needed to connect your device to your computer.  You did this to sync all of your favorite music, photos, back up your device, etc.  That all changed when “Cloud” services arrived.  Now, there’s not much reason to connect your iPad to your desktop.  All of your files are now backed up in the cloud, ready for you to download whenever and where ever you want.  This disconnection from PCs has made its way into the app development world as well. This is where Test Flight comes in.  They offer a free service that allows app developers and testers to easily share app builds over the air.  Instead of having to sync your device to a computer, new builds can be easily pushed directly to the tester’s device.  In the next section, we will go over the process in more detail. Let’s assume that you are the developer.  To begin using this resource, you would first create an account by going to https://testflightapp.com/register/.  Fill in your information and as the developer, you will want to turn on the “Developer” option. After you verify your account and are logged in, your account home page is the dashboard. We can now begin uploading our app builds.  Keep in mind that this works with Android and iOS apps.  The support for Android is a new feature this year.  You have the choice to start inviting people... read more

Olenick Wins ILTA’s 2013 Innovative Consultant of the Year

Olenick & Associates attended the  ILTA conference in fabulous Las Vegas, Nevada last month. We enjoyed the opportunity to meet others in the industry and share a bit about our services while showcasing our new booth.  We were honored to have been named the recipient of ILTA’s 2013 Innovative Consultant of the Year award recognizing our efforts with the Legal Systems Test Repository (LSTR). The LSTR database, which is available in the Resources section of ILTA’s Connected Community website, offers a library of manual test cases for ILTA-member use addressing several of the most popular legal-industry programs. We are always on the lookout for new software – help us make LSTR better by informing us of any additional software you would like to see included. LSTR would not have been possible without the help of many others – we would like thank everyone who has helped make the LSTR possible.  View Full Press... read more

How Olenick Trained Employees for Mobile Testing

Need for training?  With the mobile industry booming organizations are finding a greater need to develop their apps and websites to be compatible and mobile-friendly.   This means that testers now have to verify these apps or sites on the various mobile devices available on the market.  As there are many mobile devices (phones and tablets), as well as various mobile tools available for testers to become familiar with, this can pose a challenge and may be initially overwhelming when testers are first introduced to the mobile testing concept. To enable our employees to gain general understanding and knowledge of mobile testing and the various tools that can be used for testing in the mobile world, Olenick set up test projects using different sites and apps to train employees The end goal was to ensure that employees would gain understanding of the tools, and also the challenges of mobile testing. Scope and Tools selection: As with any project, testers assessed the mobile application according to certain criteria to determine the scope and approach for testing.  Once the scope was determined, various mobile tools were selected to conduct testing, including user agents, commercial tools (a cloud-based tool), and emulators, all of which are tools that can be used in place of actual mobile devices.   Many of these tools have free versions available and all have iOS and Android devices available within them allowing a tester to test an app on a broad range of devices that the general public would use in real life scenarios.  Testers also chose a good cross selection of some actual devices, including an iOS phone and... read more

A quick look at SQL-on-Hadoop

This is an introduction to SQL-on-Hadoop.  Rather than start with an overview and high-level architectural diagrams,  we’re going to get our hands dirty and start right at the Linux bash command line. For our data, we’ll use some historical Nasdaq data that I downloaded from Infochimp’s Data Marketplace, although I was mighty tempted to use their dataset of 60,000 UFO sightings. After downloading the .zip file of Nasdaq data to my laptop, “vostro”,  I extracted files that contain dividend payment history. Here are three of those files, which cover companies whose stock symbols begin with the letters A, B, and C, respectively:   corey@vostro:~/dividends$ ls -la -rw-r–r– 1 corey corey 93575 Feb 16 2010 NASDAQ_dividends_A.csv -rw-r–r– 1 corey corey 60081 Feb 16 2010 NASDAQ_dividends_B.csv -rw-r–r– 1 corey corey 121748 Feb 16 2010 NASDAQ_dividends_C.csv     Let’s see what the data looks like:     corey@vostro:~/dividends$ less NASDAQ_dividends_A.csv NASDAQ,AMTD,2006-01-25,6.0 NASDAQ,AHGP,2009-11-09,0.44 NASDAQ,AHGP,2009-08-10,0.428 NASDAQ,AHGP,2009-05-11,0.415 NASDAQ,AHGP,2009-02-10,0.403 NASDAQ,ALEX,2009-11-03,0.315 NASDAQ,ALEX,2009-08-04,0.315 NASDAQ,ALEX,2009-05-12,0.315 NASDAQ,AFCE,2005-06-06,12.0 NASDAQ,ASRVP,2009-12-28,0.528 The data is comma delimited, four columns: exchange, symbol, date, and dividend amount. We copy the files to “hadoop4”, one of the hosts in my Hadoop cluster: corey@vostro:~/dividends$ scp -r . corey@hadoop4:/home/corey NASDAQ_dividends_C.csv 100% 119KB 118.9KB/s 00:00 NASDAQ_dividends_B.csv 100% 59KB 58.7KB/s 00:00 NASDAQ_dividends_A.csv 100% 91KB 91.4KB/s 00:00     We ssh to hadoop4 to do the rest of our work on the cluster:     corey@vostro:~/dividends$ ssh corey@hadoop4 We are going to copy the files into HDFS, the Hadoop Distributed File System.   First we’ll make a HDFS directory, and then we’ll copy the three files from the local, traditional file system into HDFS.  Then, we’ll list them to make sure they... read more

Tracking Log Files for iOS Device

As mobile testing becomes more prevalent, new questions and problems arise as compared to usual testing on a computer. While computer applications generate crash logs, and most likely send these logs back to the developer’s server automatically, it is harder for a mobile device to do the same. In this case, it requires mobile testers to be able to track, identify, and save the log files during testing in order to communicate and collaborate with mobile developers. In this blog, we would like to share a way to track and save iOS device console logs using iPhone Configuration Utility. As defined on Apple’s website, “iPhone Configuration Utility lets you easily create, maintain, encrypt, and push configuration profiles, track and install provisioning profiles and authorized applications, and capture device information including console logs.” Among the several functionalities that iPhone Configuration Utility provides, we would like to focus on the Console logs that the software provides. iPhone Configuration Utility can be downloaded at Apple’s website. For Windows: http://support.apple.com/kb/DL1466 For Mac: http://support.apple.com/kb/DL1465 Note when running iPhone Configuration Utility the first time, an error “SQLite3.dll missing” might appear. You will need to manually move the SQLite3.dll file into the iPhone Configuration Utility folder (normally in C:Program Files (x86)iPhone Configuration Utility). After downloading and installing (preferably have the latest version of iTunes installed also), connect your iPhone/iPad to your computer via USB. Open iPhone Configuration Utility and you can see this information for your device: Switch to the Console tab, and we should be able to see several lines of logs already in. These logs reflect the activities of all applications on the device,... read more

Navigating Shark Infested Waters at International Legal Technology Association (ILTA)

If you stopped by the Olenick & Associates’ booth last week at the International Legal Technology Association (ILTA) annual conference in Las Vegas, you experienced a great presentation and even better conversation.  Weren’t able to make it?  Don’t worry, you didn’t miss all the fun.  Olenick & Associates’ inaugural booth unveiled the shark theme; a metaphor that aptly captures the challenges deployments tend to take these days.   Swimming in shark infested waters can be similar to the political, funding, and technological issues that you traverse on a daily basis.  With years of navigating the shark infested waters, Olenick & Associates have the people and tools your business needs to reduce the risks you encounter.  Ensure your deployments are more successful – check out the presentation and let us know what risks can we reduce for you? [prezi... read more

Paper Catalog to E-commerce Transformation

Olenick & Associates provided thought leadership and all levels of technical assistance to transform a national-brand retailer’s paper catalog operation into an e-commerce site. Client Our client was a 125 year old business with a strong national brand as mail-order and direct merchandiser. Business Challenge A loyal and long-term customer base had set expectations about doing business. Transformation to new e-commerce technology fundamentally changed the way business was conducted with existing customers. Not only did the entire technology infrastructure require redesign and rebuilding, it had to be fully integrated with the traditional catalog business. The intertwined cultural and technical challenges were complex. How Olenick Helped To support a new retail strategy for customer contact, Olenick & Associates redesigned the technology architecture and infrastructure. We implemented new databases for fulfillment, distribution, products, and marketing. We developed new financial and business analytics systems. During the several years this took, we also built a retail e-commerce platform to market, merchandise, and manage customer orders in a completely new and original way. Systems and operations also had to support traditional customer contact via catalog, mail, and telephone. We paid attention to the interplay and synergies between these two very different channel approaches and used these insights to drive new system requirements. Deployment Assured The client’s operations have been fundamentally transformed while preserving and building on it’s loyal customer base. Today, the client conducts the majority of its direct to consumer business over the internet. Existing and newly acquired customers interact with the business in a completely new... read more

Why we Developed the OASIS Test Automation Framework

OASIS is our automation framework.  It addresses process, tools, framework design, data and reusable code modules. We developed OASIS in response to client demands for a better approach to automation.  There is an explosion of new tools for agile, cloud and mobile environments and while these tools address new technical problems it remains important to implement automation in a way that has both initial and lasting value. Therefore, OASIS includes process and training with tooling and technical implementations. From a technical standpoint, OASIS provides a framework for automation in client, web and mobile environments and in tools that use VB and Java as their scripting language.  This includes HP QuickTest Pro, Selenium, Microsoft Visual Studio and tools that are leverage these base tools like Ranorex, Jamo M-uex, and Perfecto Mobile.  Reusable components include UI interaction, data management, error handling, and result reporting. A recent QTP-based automation suite for a web application used 75% reusable code from the OASIS library and only 25% new, application-specific code. All told, OASIS helps clients build lasting and reliable automation faster. Here’s a demo of OASIS in action.... read more

Olenick & Associates now Microsoft Devices and Deployment Partner

July 9, 2013.  Olenick & Associates has qualified as a Microsoft Silver level partner in the Devices and Deployment competency. “We’re really excited about working with Microsoft on Devices and Deployment,” said Kevin Flynn. “This relationship enhances  our application packaging services and our Assured Windows Migration solution. Click here to view the Microsoft partner page for... read more

Virtualization Study Leads to Data Center Consolidation

Olenick & Associates evaluated the cost and performance of competing virtualization technologies to help a leading electrical utility plan a data center upgrade. Client A leading competitive electrical utility and energy provider. Business Challenge To keep pace with increasing demands on server capacity for business-critical applications, our client needed to upgrade their existing virtualization technology. However, feasibility of virtualization for critical applications was uncertain. And, if feasible, a scalable and optimal hardware and software configuration for the production environment had to be established and its cost estimated. How Olenick Helped Olenick & Associates conducted a proof of concept study to determine the viability and cost/benefit of virtualization solutions from Microsoft and VMware. This required configuring, running, and analyzing 20 data sets over 13 test runs for 22 virtual machines. Each test run was repeated on an IBM BladeCenter configuration with AMD and Intel processors. The resulting test run data was correlated and analyzed to evaluate capacity and responsiveness. Our team worked closely with vendors and client management to develop cost and benefit projections for each configuration. Deployment Assured In the words of the Energy Portfolio Manager: [separator top=”10″ style=”none”] Olenick’s experience with virtualization technology and track record of success were key factors in selecting them as our partner. The Olenick team delivered an outstanding and complete analysis. They undertook this effort in a very thorough and detailed manner, allowing our own team members the benefit of being trained in the virtualization techniques at the same time.  The resulting analysis and reports generated by Olenick allowed our senior management team to make an educated decision to consolidate the current production environment by utilizing virtualization technology.... read more

Olenick & Associates partners with JAMO Solutions

June 5, 2013.  Olenick & Associates has entered into a partnership with JAMO Solutions, a mobile device testing solution provider. Jamo Solutions provides mobile testing solutions that helps users perform test automation and scripting on mobile devices. The JAMO Solutions product, M-eux, is low level mobile device testing software that integrates well with HP’s QTP product, Java Eclipse, and Microsoft Visual... read more

Flynn presents Performance Testing at QUEST

April 19, 2013.  Kevin Flynn presented Performance Testing: More than Tools and Scripts at the QUEST conference. Flynn and colleague Michael Ivy explained that performance testing is much more than buying and running a performance testing tool. Too often, performance testing is seen as just running a lot of traffic. A detailed plan, measurable requirements, and defined test conditions are needed to determine pass or fail.  The attendees learned how to structure a performance test and interpret results in a comprehensive manner. There were good questions from the audience, techniques and processes were reviewed and... read more

Olenick & Associates Partners with Perfecto Mobile

April 19, 2013.  Olenick consultants will provide services to some of our clients utilizing the Perfecto Mobile products, especially integrated with HP QTP test automation. Perfecto Mobile is a global leading provider of cloud-based testing, automation and monitoring solutions for mobile applications and websites, utilizing a wide selection of REAL mobile devices accessible via the web. The MobileCloud enables developers and testers, located anywhere in the world, to access a comprehensive range of the latest mobile handsets and tablets via the Internet. Users can develop, test, deploy and monitor their mobile applications and services without having to physically obtain the handsets. Perfecto Mobile’s headquarters are located in Woburn,... read more