High Level Overview of Agile

I have released a course on Pluralsight called Agile Fundamentals that talks about Agile Software Development in detail.

The following video is a really good high level overview of Agile and Scrum. The video is by Ken Schwaber (One of the originators of Scrum). There are lots of Agile and Scrum overviews out there, but this one was particularly good. The video is only 20 minutes long, the sound isn’t great, but the content is spot on.

If you are trying to convince your manager / company / colleagues that Agile is a software development methodology worth following, then this is a good video to show them. The video talks a lot about responding to changes in a market place and how being Agile can help you maintain a competitive advantage.

Post Deployment Smoke Tester Version 0.02 Released

Smoke Test Config Editor
Smoke Test Config Editor

I have released an update to the Post Deployment Smoke Tester Tool. This version mainly includes new test types. The new tests added are:

    • MSMQInstalledTest : This test checks whether the MSMQ messaging service is installed on the server you are running the tests from.
    • MSMQLocalQueueExistsTest : Check if a local MSMQ private queue exists.
    • MD5ChecksumTest : Check an MD5 digest of a file. This is for file integrity checking.
    • SHA1ChecksumTest : Check an SHA1 digest of a file. This is for file integrity checking.
    • SHA256ChecksumTest : Check an SHA256 digest of a file. This is for file integrity checking.
    • WindowsServiceExistsTest : Check that a windows service exists in the machine the tests are running from.
    • WindowsServiceStatusTest : Check the Status of a windows service, Running, Stopped etc.
    • WindowsRemoteServiceExistsTest : Check that a windows service exists on a remote machine.
    • WindowsRemoteServiceStatusTest : Check the status of a remote windows service, Running, Stopped etc.
    • IISInstalledTest : Check that the IIS web server is installed on the machine the tests are running from.
    • IISRunningTest : Check that the IIS web server is running on the machine the tests are running from.
    • IISVersionTest : Check the version of IIS that is installed.
    • IISDoesWebsiteExistTest : Does a website exist in the instance of IIS.
    • UserInActiveDirectoryTest : Check that a user is in Active Directory for a domain.
    • NetworkPingTest : Ping a network address.
    • AssemblyVersionNumberTest : Check the version of a names .NET assembly.

The Smoke Tester Solution Structure and your First Test

Recently I open sourced a very useful tool called the Post Deployment Smoke Tester. The Post Deployment Smoke Tester is a tool that allows you to run a suite of tests on your environment after you have deployed a piece of software. These tests are invaluable in a large corporate enterprise as more often than not, the people who are doing your deployments are not the original developers.

Out of the box the tool contains many tests that should be immediately useful to you, but you may wish to add in your own. It is early days for this tool so we wont have provided everything that is possible out of the box. If you do need to add in a new test type then you can do so very easily.

If you do want to add or amend any of the tests, then this short article will help you navigate around the Smoke Tester solution structure.

The Smoke Tester tool is split into 4 main components. TestConfiguration, InstallationSmokeTest, ConfigurationTests and CommonCode. The relations-ships between these 4 modules are shown below.

Architecture Diagram for the Smoke Tester Modules
Architecture Diagram for the Smoke Tester Modules

Both TestConfiguration and InstallationSmokeTest are your test editor/runners. Generally you won’t have much need to change these unless you want to add some extra functionality. You main areas of interest will most likely be the ConfigurationTests and CommonCode assemblies. This is where you modify or implement new test types.

Video on How to Start an Open Source Project

I came across an excellent video by Jeremy Ruston who is the founder of the TiddlyWiki project and now works for BT as their Head of Open Source Innovation. The video covers the how, why, when, and who of starting an Open Source project. One particularly interesting part is about accepting patches to your project and dealing with poor quality patches through plug in and extensibility mechanisms.

Post Deployment Smoke Testing Open Source Project

I have just released a new open source project called the Post Deployment Smoke Tester. This project has been a collaborative effort between a number of fellow developers in response to a typical enterprise software development problem, getting rapid feedback on the success of your deployments into production.

This tool has literally saved my teams bacon a number of times, and maybe it can help you too.

The credits for this toolset are as follows:

Open Source Release : Stephen Haunts

Original Author : Hugh Phoenix-Hulme

Contributors : Stephen Haunts, Jon-Paul Flood, Daniel Steele, Oliver Sintim-Aboagye, Mark Jones

The all Familiar Problem

For anyone working in an Enterprise Software environment, I am sure you have all encountered the same problems. You finish your development and testing. You package up a release and prepare all the release documentation for the operations team and submit the change request into your Change Request system for approval. Then the release is deployed during your standard outage/change window, normally at an ungodly hour of the night.

Smoke Test Config Editor - Results
Smoke Test Config Editor – Results

The people who do the deployments generally have no knowledge about what they are deploying, they will just follow the change instructions that you have written. You will normally only really know if the release has been a proper success once your users get their hands on it the next day. In some businesses that can be a big risk if an outage or problem with the system has a financial or customer service impact.

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