Monday, June 17, 2019

Romanian Testing Conference 2019 - A Community Experience

During the last few years I saw tweets about Romanian Testing Conference and felt the wish to experience it myself one time. This year I got my wish fulfilled!

Traveling with Friends

Traveling can get really tiresome. I really enjoy my stays at different locations, yet I'm not a big fan of getting there and back again. Therefore I was really happy to share my flight to Cluj-Napoca with three awesome people: Guna Petrova, Andrei Ghinescu and Alex Cusmaru. Lots of nice conversations to get into conference mood!

The night of our arrival we had a lovely dinner at a great Japanese restaurant together with even more wonderful people. I got to talk with Sven Kroell and Gina Enache for the first time and really enjoyed our conversations.

A Tough Mob, a Learning Challenge and an Amazing Dinner

The first two days were scheduled with workshops. This year the conference offered two options for participants to register for: either they went for full day tutorials, or they signed up for three 2 hour workshops in a row. My session had been selected for the latter. This was an interesting format as I could not tell whether participants really wanted to join my session or just the other two. I'd like to think they got intrigued by the whole package. The good thing for me was that I was up first, I could join the other two workshops as well, and then I could relax and focus on my own learning during the next days.

My workshop was a mob testing session: "Mobservations – The Power of Observation in a Mob". It went okayish, yet I felt I could not connect with the audience too well and that the workshop concept presented them with too many new challenges at once in a short time. I had given this session three times before and was never really happy about the result. I always revise my sessions after each run based on my observations and the feedback received. I did the same with this one as well, trying to make things easier for participants, and yet it did not feel good in the end. In case I consider offering this session again I know now that I have to come up with a completely new workshop concept as this one is clearly not working out. Well, this is not a lesson I like and it will still take some time to get over it; and yet I hope it's a lesson learned. On the positive side, 5 of the 26 participants came up to me directly afterwards and provided great feedback, with 4 of them eager to try out mobbing at their own company - which is awesome! So I will try to focus on the positive impact I managed to achieve. During the other two workshops of the day I tried my best to focus on my own learning together with my previous audience.
  • "Proxy Wars" by Bart Szulc. This workshop was about how we can benefit from adding proxies between the browser and our web applications to enhance exploratory testing as well as our automated tests. By using proxies we can slow things down and introduce latency for specific requests. We can inject faults to test for recovery and resilience. We can manipulate data to test for performance and obsolete data. It was a good workshop and a great reminder to use proxies more often in everyday work. 
  • "BDD – a quick guide on how & why to not hate it" by Dawid Pacia and Anna Pacia. This workshop showed me that I knew a lot about BDD already. Some people might consider participating in a workshop about a known topic a waste of time. I, however, enjoy the fact that it makes me aware of what I have already learned, it lets me apply my knowledge, share it and practice (in this case by formulating and revising Gherkin scenarios), and I learn about ways how others teach this content so I have more options how to teach it myself. It was great!
The evening closed with a wonderful dinner in great company with Alex Schladebeck, Rhian Lewis, Sanne Visser, Raluca Morariu and Joep Schuurkes. Raluca recommended a lovely vegetarian restaurant where we enjoyed amazing food together.

Python, Games & Conversations

On the second workshop day, I had registered for Dawid Pacia's full day tutorial "Python (not only) for testers". I heard a lot about this programming language before and was eager to get a first impression of it as well as some hands-on practice.

The tutorial turned out to meet my expectations to the fullest and even let me learn more than expected. The pace was quite fast so my previous programming knowledge helped me a lot. We got to know the basics of the language, how to write unit tests and how to test REST APIs. All this paired with lots of hands-on exercises. It was awesome, I really enjoyed it - and my brain needed a break afterwards.

For this evening the speakers dinner was scheduled. The theme was: retro gaming night! The organizers brought in several retro computer games along with their respective devices. People really enjoyed it! Personally, I love games dearly, and yet lacked the energy to join the fun on that evening. Instead, I focused on having quality conversations with other speakers, like Vera Gehlen-Baum and Mike Lyles.

Conference Day and Another Lovely Dinner

The conference day was full of great talks. I sketchnoted again, so I will let my notes speak for themselves. Before doing so, let me share a few points about sketchnoting that became obvious, once again.

The great thing about sketchnoting is that we benefit from the resulting notes in multiple ways. In the first place I do them for my own purpose: to fully focus on the talk, to digest the content in the moment by deciding what is important for me to take note of, to help me remember the talk as I write the notes by hand in a visual way, to save myself time after the talk as I don't need to transfer them into digital form in a tedious way but can simply take a photo and refer to my notes in my blog posts.

By sharing these notes with the community on Twitter, other people benefit from them as well. The speakers tend to be extremely happy if someone does a sketchnote of their talk. It was the same this time, several speakers thanked me dearly for doing and sharing my notes. For Santhosh Tuppad and Hugh McCamphill it was their first time ever that someone sketchnoted their talk! I can speak from my own experience that it feels like an honor every time, it spreads the word further as the notes get shared with other people, and it also helps me see what the audience understood out of my talk. A wonderful way to learn!

Last but not least, other people in the community benefit as well as they can quickly get an overview of the content of a session without being at the conference. It's a great way for them to check whether the talk would be interesting for them and also to learn from the content as well - especially as people are mostly already lucky in case they can go to one conference a year on company budget.

Now, while sketchnoting, people around me tend to get interested in what I'm doing there and watching me while doing them. (I'm really proud of myself I learned to ignore that I am getting observed and am able to just focus on doing them!) One remark I frequently get from my neighbors, which I also got again this time, is: "I could never do that!" Funnily, I thought the same not even a year ago. I learned from Marianne Duijst that it's mostly about the sheer audacity to give it a try, and then to practice. Which is exactly what I did and that's the reason my notes look a lot better today than they did when I started out. And due to the very same reason anyone else can start on this journey as well.
Finally, here are my sketchnotes of the conference day.
The main part of the conference was officially over. There was only one more day of an unconference tutorial which I had decided to skip this time deliberately. So here's a shout-out to the conference organizers and volunteers. Everything was well organized and went very smooth. I was taken care of well, both as a speaker as well as a participant. Thank you so much!

In the evening many of the speakers were still around, so we decided to go once more to the fabulous vegetarian restaurant, this time with a bigger group of twelve. Afterwards we let the night slowly come to an end back at the hotel bar. It was lovely, and yet it was time to prepare for going home.

Sightseeing and Going Back Home

After three conferences in a row and some long days full of learning and socializing, I still wanted to make the most out of my stay in Cluj and see at least something of the city. Rhian Lewis wanted to visit the botanical garden and then walk the old town a bit. She invited me to join her and I thought this was a lovely plan! Andrew Brown joined in as well and we had a wonderful short trip together along with a great lunch.

Back at the hotel I still had some time to wait until I had to go to the airport. Lucky me, Gina Enache was still around as well so we had a wonderful and relaxed conversation - the best way I could spend my waiting time!

Hugh McCamphillDan Billing and Alex Schladebeck were all scheduled for the same flight time so we could wait together at the airport. Dan, Alex and I were even on the same plane to Munich, so we could at least make the best out of an unfortunate one and a half hour delay and have further great conversations. Alex and I even managed to sit next to each other on the flight. Guess what, we talked even more! Thanks so much Alex for our deep conversation.

Coming home I was sincerely tired - and yet happy, considering myself extremely lucky to have these wonderful opportunities and to be part of this most awesome community that's so open, supportive and inspiring. Thank you all!

Saturday, June 8, 2019

German Testing Day 2019 - About First Times

German Testing Day 2019 is over and it was great. Now's time to reflect and relax.

First Times

When thinking back I realized that this conference brought lots of first times with it.
  • It was my first time at this conference. Was really happy I finally had the opportunity to experience it after hearing about for a few years.
  • It was the first time I offered diversity tickets with the wonderful help of the organizers, especially Thomas Rinke and Melanie Wohnert. Several people applied and in the end we could grant four of them free tickets, two of them even travel and accommodation support. At the conference day I finally met three of them in person which made me really, really happy.
  • It was the first time I met lots of people I only knew from Twitter. Agreed, that's a common theme at conferences, yet I am always happy to meet people in real life. Among them: Michael Kutz and Varuna Srivastav, and I also really enjoyed their talks.
  • It was the first time I listened to Pecha Kucha talks - what a great format! Really challenging, too.
  • It was the first time I tried to sketchnote short talks by putting them all on one page. This was a new challenge for me!
  • It was the first time I sketchnoted in a different language (English) than the talk was in (German). Good thing I am practicing sketchnoting for quite some time already!
  • It was the first time for Jessica Davis to speak at a conference. She did extremely well and enjoyed it - our community just gained an amazing new voice! :D
  • It was the first time I gave the opening keynote for a conference (not counting TestBash as one-track conference here).
  • It was the first time I gave a keynote in a second country (counts as first time, doesn't it?) Thomas said this made me now an international keynote speaker! :D

German Testing Night

The evening before the main conference started was labeled German Testing night. Workshops took place along with a series of Pecha Kucha talks. Afterwards we started into an evening of networking and socializing.

What I really enjoyed: the theme was inspired by a fun fair! Hotdogs, ice cream, popcorn, dart, can knockdown, and more. This was a great way to get to know some people already before the conference started.

The Sessions

After several conferences I now got used to doing sketchnotes of all talks I attend. It's a great method to stay focused during a talk, to condense the messages heard, to visualize them, to memorize them better, and to provide a quick reminder for my future self. Bonus point: You can share them with the community so people who could not attend the conference might benefit from them as well.
My personal highlights were the talks by Michael Kutz and Thomas Rinke. Michael had a great story to tell and used beautiful hand-drawn slides to underline it. I realized we have a lot to talk about regarding organizational development, architecture, quality and testing! Thomas was originally not on the program, but had jumped in spontaneously for a speaker who fell sick. Lucky me! Now I had the chance to listen to his personal experience as tester who went through an agile transition and shared his struggles and delights with it.

My Second Keynote

I was nervous. I always am before my session, especially if it's talk. Especially if it's opening the conference. Especially if it's a keynote. During the session the situation stays challenging but something I learned I can cope with; and afterwards I have no idea how the session was from a more objective viewpoint than my own, so I am really depending on feedback.

This time I received overly positive feedback, directly as well as on all kind of social channels, even via Facebook and Instagram (oh, that's yet a another first time for me!). People told me my talk was super inspiring and some even considered starting their own tour or introducing pair testing at their companies. What else could I want? :D

Furthermore, Tobias Geyer made a wonderful job live tweeting from the session, I'm super grateful for that. Now there's only one more conference waiting for me next week before a bigger break until October - and I am already super looking forward to Romanian Testing Conference which will be another first time for me!

Sunday, June 2, 2019

Nordic Testing Days 2019 - Seamless and Surprising

This year I had the opportunity to be at Nordic Testing Days for the first time. I had heard lots of good things about the conference and seen intriguing tweets about it. Therefore I was especially happy when my paper proposal got accepted for the 2019 edition!

Arriving in Great Company

At Tallinn airport I was lucky to run into Gwen Diagram, Ash Winter and Nicola Sedgwick. Super nice to meet them again! As it was quite late already we went for dinner (or rather tea, as I learned) together with Shey Crompton. Wonderful evening with lots of good food and great conversations!

Tutorial Day & Speakers Dinner

Showing up at the venue for the first time was a big revelation: what an amazing place for a conference! The venue was formerly a power station and got now transformed to host events like this. I heard people had mixed feelings about the venue - they seemed to either love it or hate it. I for one was absolutely on the loving side! I had registered for the Android Application Security Testing tutorial by Marko Belzetski. I wanted to extend my security testing knowledge, to learn about mobile apps and security specifics to broaden my horizon, and in general to practice - and I wasn't disappointed! All expectations were fulfilled. The tutorial was a great mixture of conveying knowledge and hands-on practice (I especially love the latter). It was well structured and instructed, the setup was working perfectly, and we received concise tips and concrete advice. The only downside: for the fourth and final part in the afternoon we had too much content left so we had to rush through and only receive a short demo instead of being able to practice ourselves. For a long day this felt a bit overwhelming, and yet it was very useful knowledge which I wouldn't have missed.

In the evening it was time for the speakers dinner. I knew that last year they had visited the TV tower together so I was curious where we were led this year. We started off to the lovely seaside (I really regret I did not take any pictures there). We went on - and ended up on a boat. Yay? Well, boats and I are not quite friends so I was skeptic how dinner on a boat might turn out for me. In the end it was okay and I could grab more than a bite. The best part of speakers dinner isn't the dinner anyway - it's getting to know speakers you haven't met yet and enjoy the reunion with speakers you know already. Like Alex SchladebeckLena WibergElizabeth ZagrobaGuna Petrova and many more. We had an amazing time!

The Conference Days

The program was packed full of awesomeness. When I realized that the workshops I wanted to go to were completely overlapping with three talks each, I had a hard time making choices. In the end I went to workshops only besides the keynotes due to their topics and my wish to practice my skills hands-on. Also, I learned that some of the talks got recorded so I hope I still get a chance to watch them later.
  • Keynote: Machine Learning from System Quality Perspective by Mikhail Iljin. Really interesting topic in general, yet the core message and takeaways of the talk stayed unclear to me. Unfortunately I could not relate to the talk and would have loved to have an inspiring, thought-provoking, or enlightening opening keynote to set the tone and atmosphere of the conference instead.
  • Workshop: Unit Testing for Non-Coders by Amit Wertheimer. Great session! Amit made a great effort with preparing not only the flawless tech setup (and even backup), but also preparing the people on what they can expect, to explain everything in a language all understand without assuming knowing or not knowing, and kindly supporting them throughout. The provided cheat sheets and exercises were really helpful also for people more comfortable with code to really reflect about things and gain a deeper understanding. The only pity was that we ran out of time in the end; practicing seeing the gap that's not tested, writing a test and discussing their quality would have really rounded up the great workshop.
  • Workshop: Explicit Exploring Using Testopsies and Microheuristics by Alex Schladebeck. Awesome session. Included the right amount of valuable information sharing and hands-on exercises. Ended shortly before time. Lots of energy and fun in the room. Awesome topic as well and really relevant, also for very experienced explorers! The only thing I missed a bit was a short individual debrief after the testopsy pairing session to learn about my own testing better and to practice providing my observations and feedback to another tester. All in all Alex did a great job, being smart, entertaining and engaging.
  • Keynote: How Come Testers Are so Incredibly Successful by Raimond Sinivee. Great speaker on a great topic! Was a really relevant call to action for everyone, perfect for a keynote. We all need to get out of our comfort zones and grow. Loved the personal stories to illustrate this message! Very well presented, with lots of energy and stage presence, while still being authentic - great after a long day to keep the audience focused. Very well done!
  • Keynote: Why Should Exploratory Testing Even Be the Subject of a Keynote? by Alex Schladebeck. Brilliant! The topic definitely deserved to be a keynote, especially presented this way. Lots of relatable stories, lots of energy on stage, lots of thought put in to the content, lots of very relevant and applicable messages. What else could I want? Together with her related workshop Alex was the best speaker of the conference for me.
  • Workshop: Testing with Jest by BlanchΓ© Carstens & Calvin Moore. Great workshop, providing basic concepts, usages, examples and approaches when using Jest. I only had two points that could have improved which I also told Calvin. First, the workshop started a bit slow. It's always difficult to plan for an unknown audience yet a mechanism to scale and cater for different experience levels would have been nice. Second, the workshop ended quite early; instead it would have been great to have the group implement their own tests to apply the gained knowledge. Still, all in all, I got a first introduction into Jest which was what I was coming for.
  • Keynote: Life After QA by Erik Kaju. Interesting keynote with good content, based on experience, well presented. Really relevant topic as well.
In the evening of the first conference day an evening program was announced, including party, game night, lightening talks, and Powerpoint Karaoke. All great! However, what had not been announced and came as a surprise, was that this evening got kicked off by an acrobatic duo of "two old ladies" - what a hilarious and astonishing performance! Love it.

My Workshop

On the last afternoon, just before the closing keynote of the conference, I facilitated a workshop I had done a few times already: Learning to Learn in a Mob. We had a great group of people who did really well and obviously enjoyed the session. It was fun facilitating and I learned a bunch! Joep Schuurkes had asked me upfront if he could join the session and just observe my facilitation of a mob, as he is doing a weekly mob with the testers of his company to share knowledge. Of course, he was very welcome! This turned out to be super valuable to me, as right after the conference we had a super interesting conversation about the observations he had and the ideas it triggered for both of us to improve our mob facilitation skills.

Post-conference Socializing

Part of each conference is conferring - especially during breaks or after the conference already ended. Several speakers had to leave early this time, and still we found a nice small group to relax and have a nice dinner with: Amit WertheimerElizabeth Zagroba and Joep Schuurkes. No wonder our conversations continued in the hotel lobby until early in the morning! We ended up talking about all things programming languages, tools, design patterns, what is "technical", beliefs we got raised with, what changed in tech since the 70s, learning on the job, essential fundamentals and in general educational approaches to teaching programming (by the way, Angie Jones' new free Java programming course just got released!), and many more.
The next day I had time to sleep in and do some sightseeing. In the evening I enjoyed a lovely dinner (or shall I say feast?) with Amit Wertheimer at the wonderful medieval-style old restaurant Olde Hansa where we could dive even deeper into further topics.

A Great Time

All in all: it was a wonderful conference. Huge thanks to the organizers, everything was seamless and smooth, and everyone was extremely kind and supportive. My special shout-out goes to Guna Petrova who supported me just as if she would have been my track chair - which she wasn't. In addition, my actual track chair did an amazing job as well! I loved to see so many awesome speakers. The best thing is that several of them will also be at Romanian Testing Conference in only two weeks!

Monday, May 27, 2019

#CodeConfident: Angular7 Example App

After my recently fulfilled challenge to implement a backend feature for an existing application, I now wanted to do the same on the frontend side. Once again, as soon as I had found my practice application to extend, I could not let go. What helped me accomplish my goal within one week in the end was to pair up, this time with the wonderful Mirjana Andovska! We had already paired on my Testing Tour last year which was a great experience. Now she saw my call for collaboration for my #CodeConfident challenge on Twitter and scheduled a session with me. It was super fun and enlightening and it definitely won't be the last! I feel really honored and lucky that even further pairing sessions are coming up Amitai Schleier and Parveen Khan. Can't wait!


May 19


May 20


May 21

  • small things are easy to change, like removing the GitHub link, removing the footer, etc.; looking for something bigger where I can learn more
  • learned about Firebase, the example app is using a cloud database for all instances, same for the deployed example https://www.angularexampleapp.com
  • learned that even opening a hero detail page will result in POST requests to the Firebase database (interesting to follow up on!)
  • one of the first goals was to be able to open the detail page for newly created heroes instead of getting routed to the hero list itself --> found this decision is done in the heroes list page component html, just a basic case detection
  • feels now that this is the right practice project to work on, forked it
  • played a bit more with "default" and non-default heroes, adapted the search to include both, checked how to display default avatar images for detail page for non-default heroes etc.
  • feature idea would be the one from the project: implement material tables

May 22

  • recent feature idea were to implement tables
  • alternative feature idea would be to implement "Personal heroes", the heroes you liked
  • tried the latter, copy & paste & adapt

May 23


May 24

  • made first steps in Visual Studio Code, had not used it as IDE yet, got really popular at work for frontend development, even over IntelliJ
  • filtered list of heroes not displayed; debugging in Chrome shows that heroes is undefined
  • TODO: display list; write tests

May 25

  • cleaned commits to what is already working (without filtering for heroes that I liked)
  • tried to push, got error that translations are not configured correctly for spec file; lesson learned: run the tests first... -_-
  • found the culprit, fixed, now tests are passing
  • learned how git controls work in Visual Studio Code; yet lacking permissions to push
  • pushed again using IntelliJ UI, failed again due to quite cryptic message
    Push failed: 0% compiling�������������� 10% building 0/0 modules 0 active���������������������������������� 10% building 0/1 modules 1 active ...s! ...
  • using git push in command line finally revealed the prerequisites to push, like running tests in advance etc.; this explained why it took so long... and it worked in the end!
  • TODO: learn how to add authorization to VisualCode to be able to push from IDE as well
  • TODO: filter for heroes I liked only

May 26

  • paired with Mirjana Andovska
  • Mirjana already checked out my practice project and had a look how to filter for personal heroes
  • we found out that the live app URL https://www.angularexampleapp.com runs into a timeout (522) for her, yet does work for me although be both shared the same browser versions; she's located in Skopje, would be interesting path to investigate in itself (yet not now)
  • we shared our approaches how to filter for personal heroes, by using the Angular filters in the html or directly in the TypeScript component like it's also done on the home page; I showed I tried to use the filter function there yet no personal hero was listed; Mirjana had found that the value was always reset to false by logging, so the filter would work it just did not list any as they were set again to false
  • in the hero model the attribute personalHero was set to false whenever we fetched them; we could confirm this by adding simple console logs; for now we just used simple console logs, yet for proper logging we would use the framework used; Mirjana: "logging is like adding adjectives in an essay"
  • we changed the constructor's attribute value to and it was working!
    this.personalHero = hero.personalHero || false;
  • when testing this in different browsers we found that now not only any likes are stored in the global database, but seemingly also the personalHero flag; which we did not intend to, to not interfere with the global database but keep things local for practicing
  • we started learning more about Firebase and how to verify whether we actually stored it globally
    https://medium.com/factory-mind/angular-firebase-typescript-step-by-step-tutorial-2ef887fc7d71
    https://www.learnhowtoprogram.com/javascript/angular-extended/firebase-retrieving-data
    https://www.learnrxjs.io/operators/transformation/map.html
  • we found that we could log the values when subscribing:
    getHero(id: string): Observable<any> {
      const retrievedHero = this.afs.doc(`${AppConfig.routes.heroes}/${id}`).get().pipe(
        map((hero) => {
          return new Hero({id, ...hero.data()});
        }),
        tap(() => LoggerService.log(`fetched hero ${id}`)),
        catchError(HeroService.handleError('getHero', []))
      );

      const subscribe = retrievedHero.subscribe(val => console.log(val));
      return null;
    }
  • this way we could verify it's really stored in the global database; when looking at the tests, we found the same way was done for the mocked databases! Lesson learned: should have looked at the tests in the beginning :)
  • we reset all values by setting the flag to false again, and then re-implemented it using the local storage of the browser instead, setting a new entry for each hero we liked; we tested things out, it worked! we noted for later to change this store a list of ids instead to avoid creating new entries and save memory (https://www.taniarascia.com/how-to-use-local-storage-with-javascript/)
  • we wanted to have our feature covered in the tests as well; added expectations that a hero should be a personal hero after liking them; wanted to test the filtering as well; learned to add a new fixture for a different test setup
  • shortly investigated how to run a single test but then skipped this for later; UPDATE: as we're using Karma & Jasmine here, we can just focus on one test or suite by using "fit" instead of "it" or "fdescribe" instead of "describe"; f = focused, x = ignored
  • we cleaned up files for commit and tried to push; yet TSLint checks failed; we ran the tests but forgot to run about them! fixed them; then the push was successful :D
  • the scope of my personal challenge is now fulfilled, yet we identified next steps we could do to improve and extend the code to practice further:
    1. store the personal heroes ids in an array in the local storage
    2. add proper logging using the framework used
    3. write e2e tests for our new feature
    4. show the user which heroes they liked, either by adding an icon or not allowing them to vote again for the same hero and marking the heart icon gray
  • Retrospective:
    • Mirjana: normally it's a great thing to go to the tests first, can learn a lot from them; now we rushed ahead due to time, but would have been valuable as well
    • Mirjana: we had to be reminded of writing tests; interestingly this would be the first thing we as testers would remark, yet when developing we often stay inside our little box, this is why it's crucial to have someone with a different perspective looking at it from a different angle
    • Lisi: learned there's so much more to learn, there are so many more question marks now in my head as it usually is with learning and trying to puzzle all bits and pieces of knowledge together; thank you so much for sharing your knowledge with me, learned a lot in this session!
    • Mirjana this whole challenge idea a super cool thing to learn outside of our work's boundaries! Would like to create a GitHub account herself and contribute to the project or future ones, we could create pull requests and also learn so much by reading code from each other
    • Mirjana: you reminded me how to learn! use a small project to practice, and especially pair! Lisi: pairing helps me so much, it keeps me accountable and also together we always generated new ideas so we did not get stuck, or at least quickly unstuck again
    • Looking back, we paired for nearly 4h instead of the originally planned 1.5h! It was fun and super enlightening, and afterwards we could fully enjoy our evenings :)

What else?

The great news is: I fulfilled now the promise to myself to have at least 5 repositories published on GitHub. Even in 5 months! Still can't quite believe it. The next and final step: build an application from scratch which will serve as my proof of concept. I'm really excited. And that's not the only thing I'm excited about these days. These are busy days, great days, and especially exciting days!

Sunday, May 19, 2019

#CodeConfident: Spring PetClinic

My last weeks were super busy. As a result, I had to neglect my code-confident challenge and was feeling sad about it. I knew already knew for longer what my next practice project should be about: extending an existing backend feature. I found, however, that getting it started was a lot more difficult than I expected. When I finally could start, I got intrigued yet realized I need to learn a lot more. In the end, I did the biggest part just on one day as I couldn't let go anymore!


April 27


May 12


May 13


May 14

  • pairing session with Amitai Schleier
  • presented him my current problem, first lack of time and now stuck in researching projects trying to decide which one to work on
  • told him about my criteria and desired tech stack
  • started to present my latest list of 5 candidates
  • Amitai: likes to look at tests first to see if they are readable and to see what the app is supposed to be doing
  • after the first project he stopped me and suggested a project he just found by using Duck Duck Go search "open source spring-based application": Pet Clinic, a Spring demo project
    https://github.com/spring-projects/spring-petclinic
    http://projects.spring.io/spring-petclinic/
  • cloned the project
  • Amitai: let's try to run it first
  • ran it using the run configuration detected by IntelliJ; ran but did not find css
  • the readme showed how to run the app --> worked this time including building of css
    ./mvnw package
    java -jar target/*.jar
  • wanted to use IntelliJ and make it faster, found we could add the package step as Maven goal step before launch: "package"; tried out different variants, found we needed to keep the build step before
  • discussed general approach to tackle an existing app; I shared it depends what I am looking for, if I'm reviewing other people's code or if I'd like to contribute myself, etc.; Amitai: wants to see if he can quickly get something to change, see the cause and effect; he could read a lot and model and everything but rather prefers changing something as better test of understanding; wrote a tweet thread about cause & effect
  • we decided to change the pet picture on the welcome page to a different one; used this as valid reason to google for cute animal pictures ^^; replaced the image, replaced the image reference, verified the change got applied after application restart
  • before going further, we felt that packaging took too long as it was running all tests; wanted to comment them out, but could not find them in the pom; looked upMaven lifecycle (https://maven.apache.org/guides/introduction/introduction-to-the-lifecycle.html) and found that tests are included by default; found we can skip them by calling "package -Dmaven.test.skip=true"; startup now a lot faster, still a bit slow for actual fast feedback during development, yet doable
  • had a look at what the app already provided, like "find owner"; decided to add "find pets"
  • added a new menu item (copy & paste from find owners), restarted - nice, we land on the error page as expected
  • added a controller, copied over from owners; copied the owners html page, adapted as well; our "hopothesis" would have been that now we would be able to access a find pets page with a form to search for owners; yet we knew we probably missed something and indeed, we got the error page instead
  • we realized the relationship of owners and pets was not modeled parallel as assumed, but having pets subordinate to owners
  • Retrospective:
    • Lisi: thank you so much, you got me unstuck in a few minutes! Amitai: seems like my super power, as I have to always get myself unstuck: I know how to orient myself in my problem space, and know how to help people orient themselves in their problem spaces
    • Amitai stayed in the navigator role, Lisi as driver; both thought it went well, were not sure if it was okay for the other one but only addressed it in the end; Amitai: felt you picked up things, needed to instruct less and less, you already knew what I wanted; Lisi: when I want to learn, I try to keep myself on the driver seat; I also learn a lot as navigator, having to express my intent and decide where to go next, yet now it's about hands-on practice; Amitai: agree, it's always good to practice; agreed to switch roles next time
    • learned that copy & paste is not always working, we have to learn more; was a good reminder to think about the model and how we would want it to be; having pets subordinate to owners did not feel right; what if a pet changes the owner? We would not want to loose the record for the pet, or the past owners; also from a moral standpoint a partnership would be better
    • I will have to decide where to go next and define my scope for this practice project; Amitai: Gilded Rose is known as refactoring kata, but he likes to call it the "when to stop" kata; what's the cheapest thing you can do? It's about business, not about the cleanest code; it's really important to zoom out, zoom back in, zoom out again, and realize when to stop
    • Lisi: last session and this one as well I gained a lot of benefit from what you shared, bits and pieces of knowledge here and there, and especially from your approaches, how to tackle things; they work well for the concrete thing, but are also applicable in a generic way, will also help me later
    • Amitai: last time you gave me energy, happy to give it back this time!
    • agreed to do a third session end of June / July
  • TODO:
    • set up practice project
    • define scope
    • do it

May 15


May 16

  • tried to understand app better
  • need debugging to understand more
  • not much time today

May 18

  • debugging the owner controller: did not stop in debugger - why? still haven't found out; would be something to investigate in a pairing session
  • learned more about the demo project; https://projects.spring.io/spring-petclinic/ provided lots of info, however, for an outdated version
  • found the community built a lot more versions: https://github.com/spring-petclinic among them also one for Angular :) https://github.com/spring-petclinic/spring-petclinic-angular (could be the perfect target for my next challenge!)
  • learned more about MVC (Model View Controller): https://spring.io/guides/gs/serving-web-content/
  • saw our get mapping is a bit different, realized I need to look that up and learn more
  • learned more about Thymeleaf inputs https://www.thymeleaf.org/doc/tutorials/2.1/thymeleafspring.html#inputs
  • trying to adjust controller to have correct result collection for binding, adding results from search by first name to the results from search by last name https://docs.oracle.com/javase/8/docs/api/java/util/Collection.html#addAll-java.util.Collection-; assumed the resulting collection will contain duplicates --> assumption was correct! keeping fields empty to get full list is now showing duplicates; also, existing first name is still showing full list
  • https://www.geeksforgeeks.org/how-to-remove-duplicates-from-arraylist-in-java/ tried the Stream version and found it cannot be cast to a collection
  • used set instead of collection and it works! bye bye duplicates :)
  • found that when I provide values for both fields, search by first name does work now indeed! --> found I always list all in case one field is empty... o_O changed this to only show all in case both are empty --> still, one empty field will show the list of all owners
  • cases:
    • last name empty, first name empty => list all owners
    • last name exists once, first name empty => show owner details (does not work yet)
    • last name empty, first name exists once => show owner details (does not work yet)
    • last name exists multiple times, first name empty => list selection of owners (does not work yet)
    • last name empty, first name exists multiple times => list selection of owners (does not work yet)
    • last name does not exist, first name exists once => show owner not found (does not work yet)
    • last name exists once, first name does not exist => show owner not found (does not work yet)
    • last name does not exist, first name exists multiple times => show owner not found (does not work yet)
    • last name exists multiple times , first name does not exist => show owner not found (does not work yet)
    • last name does not exist, first name does not exist => show owner not found
    • last name empty, first name does not exist => show owner not found (does not work yet)
    • last name does not exist, first name empty => show owner not found (does not work yet)
    • ...
    • more cases:
    • both names exist, but for different records => show owner not found (now shows both records)
    • parameterless GET request /owners should still list all
  • feel the database query should already take care of filtering everything; implemented look up by full name for results list --> oh my it works!!
  • what about exact same full name, but different entries? should still list both entries --> and it does!
  • not flawless but worth to commit it :D
  • added tests for new controller feature; test for not existing first name fails, not sure why yet --> experimenting made me finally understand better what the "rejectValue" method does in the controller! added handling in case first name is not found; now error message is displayed twice! ^^
  • researched a lot more regarding Thymeleaf and error messages
    https://www.thymeleaf.org/doc/tutorials/2.1/thymeleafspring.html#validation-and-error-messages
    https://stackoverflow.com/questions/50005969/thymeleaf-or-operator-in-thif?rq=1
    https://spring.io/guides/gs/validating-form-input/
    https://teamtreehouse.com/community/where-does-thymeleaf-get-the-error-messages-from
    https://howtodoinjava.com/spring-mvc/spring-mvc-display-validate-and-submit-form-example/
  • found how to display an error for a specific field:
    <p th:if="${#fields.hasErrors('firstName')}" th:errors="*{firstName}">Error</p>
  • however, wanted to have a combined message if an owner is not found, not separated per field; found how to add and display global error:
    • Controller:
      result.reject("ownerNotFound", "not found");
    • Template:
      <p th:if="${#fields.hasGlobalErrors()}" th:each="err : ${#fields.globalErrors()}" th:text="${err}">Global Errors</p>
  • downside: the test for the global error is super generic, did not find a way to test for exact error
    https://docs.spring.io/spring/docs/current/spring-framework-reference/testing.html
    https://blog.codeleak.pl/2014/08/spring-mvc-test-assert-given-model-attribute-global-errors.html
  • tested the tests, made them fail, added assertions; how to assert at least for the number of results found? haven't found an answer yet
  • still, the scope of this challenge is fulfilled for now, I implemented a small new feature :D can still extend it, improve it further and clarify the open questions when pairing with others