Testing UI changes in large web applications

When a web application starts to grow in terms of functionality, number of screens and amount of code, automated testing becomes a necessity. Not only will these tests prevent you from delivering bugs to your users but also help to maintain a high speed of development. This ensures that you'll be focusing on new and better features without having to fix bugs in the existing ones.

However even with all kinds of unit-, integration- and end-to-end tests in place,  you'll still end up with a huge blind spot: does your application still looks like it's supposed to?

Can we test for this as well? (hint: we can).Read more →

PhantomJS data mining & BASH data analysis


As a moderately large company we rent mail boxes for our employees at a hosting provider; a lot of mailboxes. These come in varying sizes, and naturally the larger you go the more expensive they become.

The other day I received an email requesting several new accounts and set upon creating these when I came across what seemed to be a rather inefficient allocation. The user had a mid-size tier, costing about €150 per year, while he could seemingly make do with the very smallest tier of about €50 annually.

This, of course, made me curious about our other allocations and I went looking for an overview of all our mail accounts' usage. No such luck. The only way to see how much of the rented space was actually being used was by navigating the - non-rest and stateful - web interface of our hosting provider and looking up the statistics for each user individually.

Challenge accepted!

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Agile is niet te vermijden

Net als in 2010 heeft Xebia in 2011 het jaarlijks onderzoek naar de de status van Agile in Nederland uitgevoerd. Met ook dit jaar weer opvallende resultaten. Zo zegt bijna 90 procent van de bedrijven die met Agile werken sterk verbeterde resultaten te realiseren bij hun (ICT) projecten. De vraagt die direct bij mij opkomt bij dit soort hoge percentages is waarom niet iedereen met Agile aan de slag gaat.

Daarnaast ervaart 83 procent van de Nederlandse bedrijven die Agile werken hebben geadopteerd, meer werkplezier en 85 procent meer teammotivatie. Dit percentage is aanzienlijk hoger dan vorig jaar, toen gaf driekwart van de respondenten aan meer werkplezier en teammotivatie te ervaren. Dus de mensen die Agile werken varen er wel bij, naar mijn mening een van de belangrijkste redenen voor het succes van Agile. Dit komt ook veelal tot uiting in een lager ziekteverzuim en grotere loyaliteit naar de werkgever toe.
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Biomimicry and Software Development

Just this morning, I listened to Michael Pawlyn's wonderful TED talk on "Using nature's genius in architecture". It left me with a few thoughts buzzing around in my head during the rest of the day. I just want to jot them down here quickly, even if it only were to serve my own memory.

Setting souls ablaze

Let's start by fast-forwarding to the end of the talk. Right before the very end of the talk, Michael quotes Alexander de Sainte-Exupéry:

"If you want to build a flotilla of ships, you don't sit around talking about carpentryRead more →

A company less colorful

Tonight, I stared at the http://blogs.sun.com/ site and realized that the entries I once wrote would soon have an Oracle logo on top. That's just not right. They can't just make me become one their bloggers. It's unfair!

Well, anyway. While staring at the rebranded front page, I wonder how they made the transition. I remember that - in the past - Sun went over a couple of rebranding efforts. Rather than actually changing the CSS classes in use, they would actually redefine those classes. But since most of the classes were for one sole purpose only - to set the color - they used the names of these colors as the names of the CSS classesRead more →

DocBook, FOP and Fonts

I'm proud to say that - during the six years of employment at the company formerly known as Sun Microsystems - I wrote all my documents in DocBook. Of course there was the occasional warning that we were all expected to use StarOffice, but by making sure the DocBook generated output resembled the printed material produced by HQ, it never turned into a big argument. And since my entire DocBook chain was built from open source, I had to use Apache FOP.

Apache FOP has a long historyRead more →

Hamcrest-based Schema Validation

There doesn't seem to be an easy way to validate an XML document against a schema, so I figured I would roll my own library for it. Now, with that library, validating against a schema all of a sudden becomes easy. In the past, I hardly ever considered validating a document against a schema in my tests, but now I find myself doing it all over the place.

Anyway, I will just give a brief introduction. (And there really isn't that much to talk about.)

First of all, let's assume that you have a File reference to an XML file (xml) and a File reference to a RelaxNG schema file (schema)Read more →

Spring ME Supporting Namespaces?

It was actually quite a while ago since I looked at Spring ME, but then Davide Cerbo mentioned that he had presented Spring ME on Android at a Rome Spring meeting. Way cool! It triggered me thinking about the things that - according to the document I once wrote about it - were not implemented yet.

One of the things that I said was missing was support for namespaces. But is it really? Last week, I started to get some doubtsRead more →

Great Indian Developer Summit - 2009

After the GIDS 2008 last year, me and one of my colleague at Xebia expressed our interest in attending Developer Summit this year.  Great Indian Developer Summit(GIDS) took place from 23-25 April 2009 at Bangalore , India.

Our journey started with witnessing a huge chaos at the airport. Their systems had gone down so everything was haywire. We joked of representing Xebia here as well to present them a better software solution  🙂

@Bangalore , India

The first day saw a huge number of people. A lot of buzz and enthusiasm among the delegates. Big sponsors like Microsoft, Adobe , Red hat , JBoss , IBM , Yahoo , Sony Ericsson were associated with this event. Everyday there were five parallel tracks going on at five different halls.

In this blog I would briefly cover the highlights.Read more →