Quality assurance is not testing

We at Headspring have just posted our Quality Assurance article over at http://blogs.headspring.com.

I’ll give a summary here of our view of QA.  Here are the main points:

  1. Move QA before coding
    That’s right.  We are assuring quality of the whole result, not just the code.  If we code the whole thing, but the quality of the design or analysis wasn’t spot-on, we have a problem.  QA starts with analysis and goes through deployment and operations.
  2. Unit testing vs. Full system testing
    Everyone is so caught up with unit testing and TDD, but full-system testing is the only type of testing that gives close to the coverage the system will experience in a production environment.  If you aren’t doing any type of automated testing, start with full-system testing, not unit tests.
  3. Get to production quick, before the software is finished (ok, this is a point I wish were in the article)
    I’m actually expanding on it right here, but you will never have as clear a picture of whether something works until it it goes to production.  Until then, there is a risk that it will fail.  Get to production quick.  Sometimes, it seems that the type of problem or system just won’t work with an incremental rollout.  The hard problem to solve is how to not solve the whole problem right away.  How do we solve a piece of it quickly, but fully solve it.  In some cases, an incremental production rollout might be incremental by feature.  In others, it may be incremental by user group.  Still in other cases, live pilots may be appropriate.  In any case, old and new systems will need to be integrated.

Go check out the article here.

What is the difference in <%: variable%> and <%= variable%> in ASP.NET MVC?

With many folks adopting ASP.NET MVC as well as Visual Studio 2010, there is a fairly confusing change if you are one of those people who doesn’t engage in the alpha and beta phases of new product releases from Microsoft or any other vendor, for that matter.

The issue of <%: vs. <%= has had a great deal of discussion around it in the years leading up to the Visual Studio 2010 release.  This new expression syntax, or code nugget, is a new feature of ASP.NET 4.  It applies equally to ASP.NET Web Forms and ASP.NET MVC applications that are using the Web Forms view engine (ASPX).

In short, <%: ViewData["Message"] %> does the same thing as <%= Html.Encode(ViewData["Message"]) %>.

When creating a new ASP.NET MVC web application in Visual Studio 2010, you will see that the default Home/Index.aspx view is as follows.


However, if you create an ASP.NET MVC 2 web application in Visual Studio 2008, you see that ViewData[“Message”] is printed using the syntax that heralds back to the IDC/HTX technology of IIS 2.


I hope this tidbit helps in sorting through code samples online.  If you see <%: %>, you know that the code sample was produced for ASP.NET 4 or later.