We have Jira. Now what?

We have Jira at work, and HP ALM. I quite like the former while utterly detesting the latter. We have quite a few, varied projects and our developers prefer Jira for their task management & defect needs, but Jira lacks a feature for the creation of test cases & tracking of related metrics. 

I am aware of various plugins for Jira that might fill that hole. I might write some posts on my investigations into these applications, or perhaps link to some other pertinent articles. 

This is just a short post for now. I’d like to blog more about testing and this is a reasonable topic to start. 

Comfortably Numb

I don’t have much, if anything, useful to say about the death of David Bowie. I don’t own any of his music. Not sure why; I guess I was just into other bands and artists when I was growing up and I missed his most prolific and successful period, but it is impossible to ignore his influence on many of the bands that I love (just about all the prog rock bands) and on the music industry in general. He was one of the most important figures of recent decades and a positive influence on anyone wanting to be a little bit different.

He wrote some incredible songs, and I’m feeling motivated to get hold of some of his earlier works. ‘Low’ is certainly on the list, but I shall see what I can find.

I had no idea this existed until today, but here is David Bowie singing with one of my all-time musical heroes Dave Gilmour:

There were not many like David Bowie. His was a unique voice, a chance-taker who succeeded while experimenting the crap out of his craft. His songs were very much part of rich vein of music on the radio when I was growing up. He’ll be greatly missed.


Anyone that knows me understands my view of beer; life is too short to be drinking shitty, tasteless toss. I much prefer to spend a little bit more money on the good stuff.

I don’t mind the style, country of origin or its ABV – if it’s good, I’ll drink it.

So, I was chuffed to bits to receive a rather magnificent box of real ales for Christmas. My Mum (with help from my lovely sis) chose this fantastic selection of British real ales for my Chrimble gift. There’s not a bad choice amongst them. Everything in there has been utterly delicious. One early favourite was this Camden Pale Ale.

flickr photo shared by rutty under a Creative Commons ( BY-NC-SA ) license

Other favourite along the way were the always delicious Oakham Citra (a personal fave) and Jaipur (one of the loveliest beers on the market). Tonight’s beer has been a lovely St Austell Proper Job, which is probably the tastiest Cornish Ale I’ve had.

If anyone was wondering what to get me as a gift at any point, then good beer is always a great option. Thanks Mum!

#NottsTest – January 2016

I have been going to the monthly #NottsTest meetups for a number of years, and they are always informative. We meet on the first Wednesday of each month – usually at the amazing Capital One software studio – where we have a couple of speakers, free beer and pizza, and a nice chat with fellow testers.

There were about 20 folks there last night to see Dan Caseley and Vernon Richards showcase their impressive tester chops to an enthralled audience. First up was Dan, who showed us some Lego-themed slides that explained how his first seven months at Unidays has gone.

flickr photo shared by rutty under a Creative Commons ( BY-NC-SA ) license

He was the first ever ‘proper’ tester to be employed at Unidays, and his talk showed how sometimes even the best laid plans need changing when the reality of software development team becomes apparent. Unidays is an impressive outfit and Dan has had to adjust his approach to testing as he’s gone along. It sounded like a fun experience.

flickr photo shared by rutty under a Creative Commons ( BY-NC-SA ) license

Dan did a great job of inserting some relevant quotes into his slides. Always include quotes from thought leaders.

Once Dan had eventually stopped talking (boy, he is an enthusiastic speaker) we had the pizza and beer – lovingly sponsored by Unidays.

The next speaker was Vern – the ‘Tester from Leicester’ – a man who allegedly likes tutus. He took us through his ‘Myths and Legends’ talk (famous from his Test Bash talk). Here are a few pictures:

Myths & Legends
flickr photo shared by rutty under a Creative Commons ( BY-NC-SA ) license
Testing is amazing
flickr photo shared by rutty under a Creative Commons ( BY-NC-SA ) license
Just click a few buttons
flickr photo shared by rutty under a Creative Commons ( BY-NC-SA ) license

I’d not heard Vern do a talk before, and I really enjoyed his humorous approach. The evening was a great, and I think everyone learned something useful (if only a slightly disturbing mental image involving Vern in a tutu).

Our next meetup is scheduled for the 3rd February. We’ve yet to find a speaker, so if you’re interesting give me a shout and I’ll pass on your details. There’s no fee, just free pizza and beer.

Flickr hates WordPress

During the glory days of Flickr – when it was a bit grubby around the edges but was by far the best image service on the Internet – you could post directly to your WordPress blog from Flickr itself. There was a configurable remote service that enabled direct posting, and it worked a treat. I used it a lot.

Then, as time went on, Flickr ‘improved’ its user experience for all users and removed this feature. They said it wasn’t a heavily-used aspect of the site so no-longer wished to support it. To be fair to Flickr it was a little tricky to set up, but I missed it a lot, as did a number of other Flickr users.

These days Flickr has enabled direct sharing of images to only four services: Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr and Pinterest. There is an ‘Embed’ option, and email option and a way to share using BB code (for blogs), while WordPress (the largest blogging platform on the planet) is pretty much forgotten about.

You can use a shortened URL (as provided by Flickr) in WordPress blogs. You can paste this straight into your blog post (no need for HTML) and it looks like this:

Clyffe Café

You’ll notice that there is no attribution text or other caption that you are required to provide when sharing photos under the Creative Commons. You could use the embed code but I’ve found this doesn’t really provide any benefit to WordPress usage, other than the ability to select a different size image; there are headers and footers that could be included using the embed method, but neither of these show up.

I’ve found a tool that helps a little bit with creating suitable WordPress-friendly HTML that shows both the image at a suitable size along with attribution text. This looks like this:

Clyffe Café
flickr photo shared by rutty under a Creative Commons ( BY-NC-SA ) license

This at least shows the attribution text. I’m still working on the html side of this for now, but it’s the best solution I’ve found. There doesn’t appear to be a working Chrome extension for this same thing. WordPress at least allow the URL method, but it isn’t very configurable (from the free service at least) and does not show attribution text.

Sharing directly from Flickr would be the perfect solution, but Flickr don’t seem interested in doing so. Perhaps they have some issues working with WordPress (the company), I don’t know, but for now I can’t help but feel that Flickr isn’t providing a very good service for WordPress users. I would happily pay for the Pro Flickr service if I could blog directly (and I have paid for this in the past) but not in its current state.