Issues working with large legacy automation test suites and how (we think) we got it right the next time

“The automation tests are passing at around 80% so I think we’re good to release”

We’ve heard this expression before and it doesn’t bode well. We release code into the production environment and within a few days a new defect is reported.

“How did this get missed?” asks the editor.

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The One Day Ideas Splurge

We have recently experimented with some dev-first approaches for some distinctly different scenarios

  • riffing on a specific theme; generating and exploring lots of ideas quickly
  • starting a tech-architecture-heavy project

and were very happy with the outcomes.

tl;dr The essence of both approaches is

  • get the core group sitting in the same room for a day (Co-location is great. Who knew?)
  • dump all possibly relevant information into the mix at the start
  • let the developers have a play
  • see what happens

What follows in this post is a more detailed look at the approach we took for …

Riffing on a specific theme; generating and exploring lots of ideas quickly

Continue reading “The One Day Ideas Splurge”

The Code Club Experience

Take a sprite, a stage and a script, and what have you got? While it might sound like a production of ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream’,  these are actually the building blocks of Code Club, a nationwide network of volunteer-led after school coding clubs for children aged 9-11. Code Club aims to bring IT professionals together with local schools to help encourage children to learn the basics of programming and have fun at the same time.

Through the support of John O’Donovan, FT Technology became involved with Code Club earlier this year. Michael Mentessi from Code Club came in to give us a crash course in volunteering and using Scratch (a programming language developed by MIT), and in April we started volunteering at two local schools in the London Borough of Southwark. Continue reading “The Code Club Experience”

Salesforce at the FT – Orgs, Objects, and Runways

In 2011 the Financial Times made a strategic decision to use the Force.com platform for a number of key initiatives.

Salesforce was already embedded as a CRM (the ‘Sales Cloud’) for a subset of sales users. However, over an 18 month period the scope of this would be increased substantially; with all 2000+ employees having some level of access to Salesforce.

A suite of applications would be built on the Force.com platform supporting a broad church of business processes; from FT online subscriptions….to employee holiday requests ….from print advertising bookings….to cataloging equipment for journalists (such as flak jackets). Continue reading “Salesforce at the FT – Orgs, Objects, and Runways”

Women Who Code meetup, Tuesday 22nd July

 

The FT was delighted to host the Women who Code London meetup on Tuesday 22nd July.

Women who Code is a global movement inspiring women to excel in technology careers. They provide an avenue into technology, empower women with skills needed for professional advancement, and provide environments where networking and mentorship are valued.

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Cut To The Chase – the prototype, trials, taxis, and tapas

Not only did we each get a nice warm hoodie for winning the Glasgow #newsHACK #EditorsLab hackathon event in May 2014, the FT team was offered a paid trip to the Global Editors Network #EditorsLab hackathon final in June, in Barcelona, along with the winners of all the other GEN #EditorsLab regional hackathons. So we went, and this is how we did and how we did it.

If the following is tl;dr, you can skip to the hack itself, or the slides of the presentation.
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The workflow change that helped us deliver more, deliver faster

What is a software peer review?
In the same way someone peer reviewing an article to be published in a newspaper will be looking for more than just spelling and grammatical errors, an engineer peer reviewing a change to software will be checking the work hasn’t made any false assumptions; has fulfilled its requirements; won’t cause problems or extra work for anyone else later on; and, of course, it’s a good idea to check for spelling mistakes too.

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IT janitor – how to be the guy at the back with a broom

On Saturday mornings, my 5 year old son goes to football training. This means I stand on a cold school playing field next to some other cold (and socially awkward) dads making small talk about how cold it is.  A few Saturdays ago a dad who works in the IT department for a large city bank was on the phone for large parts of the session.  Working in IT there are certain words or expressions that exhibit the cocktail party effect.

So, without wishing to eavesdrop I could not help but overhear these phrases: “unix patching”, “how long till we can restore service” and “rollback plan”.  I could tell he was dealing with a legacy piece of his IT estate, so I did not ask him why he did not have a resilient set up that allowed him to use A/B patching groups and chose not to comment that ‘planned downtime’ is still downtime and should not really be tolerated.

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