WebWalker keeps on walking

I coded up a little automated web testing tool, WebWalker, just under 2 years ago and released it on Sourceforge. It’s the only tool I’ve actually completed well enough for others to use with documentation. Most of my stuff I code for myself and I know all the little spots to kick when something isn’t working right.

I’d forgotten all about it until I just now found a bookmark to it. Surprisingly, it’s had over 3000 visits to the page, with over 300 downloads. I’m impressed. I’ve actually received some emails for feature additions in the past, but never had the time to add to it, nor had the need to continue using it.

My code is really just a wrapper around HTTPUnit allowing non-programmers to write web tests to walk a website without having to program. They could write simple xml to do the dirty work. WebWalker interprets the XML and then changes that into code HTTPUnit can understand. I’d tried using HTTPUnit at a previous job, but it didn’t make sense to write a Java class for a test. If a webpage changed, you’d have to recompile your code to rerun the tests. And it limited the test writers to coders. Many QA departments don’t have full coders, so WebWalker would abstract the test with a layer of XML that was much easier to update. No recompiling required. It’s command line scriptable as well, so it makes a great tool for nightly tests.

The kinds of “walking” it can do right now is limited to opening URLS, clicking links, submitting forms & some verification (word checking, etc). If there’s interest in this, maybe I’ll start it up again. Might be a good pet project. Leave some comments if you’ve got feature requests.

Skate or die

Two weeks ago, I was driving through a neighbourhood near my house looking at available houses to buy and spotted a concrete skatepark. What a find. This weekend I finally got time to go. Jenn came with me…I didn’t want to go alone just in case I hurt myself and required some emergency assistance. Hopefully not. Jenn actually really enjoyed watching all the skaters. We were there for almost 3 hours. It was a bit scary dropping in for the first time. It’s been years since I’ve been on a ramp and I’ve never skated a concrete bowl before. It’s really slippery as I found out the first time I tried jumping in. I still haven’t figured out pumping the walls to keep the speed up. I started to get the hang of it but then a bunch of really good guys showed up and it was hard for me to get enough time in the bowls. It was a great day and I’ve always wanted to ride a concrete park. I’ll definitely be back there again next weekend. It was amazing watching some of the guys. A few of them were going upside down in the 3/4 bowl with serious speed. And the greatest thing is I wasn’t the oldest guy there. There were 3 or 4 guys who were in their mid to late 30’s and tearing it up. I was inspired. I think I’m back in the skating game again.

Photos – click to see larger image
Blaine skate Blaine skates
Blaine skates Blaine skates
Video – click to download
Video from skatepark

My superpower: comedy

I was daydreaming about what I’d like for a superpower, that’s not really very powerful. I was thinking it would be good to have the power of laughter. I’d like to be able to say 3 words and the pure juxtaposition of those words would be enough to bring people to laugh til it hurts.

On command you could make people burst out in happiness. Saying new combinations of words would result in even further laughter to the point of rolling on the floor. With this superpower comes a great deal of responsibility. It must be used for good, not evil. Evil-doers could walk into a bank, tell a few word combos, have the bank staff rolling on the floor while you walk to the vault and grab all the cash. I’m sure it wouldn’t be too long before people would think of just putting their hands over their ears.

As a good-doer, I’m sure you could get lots of benefits. Walk into a restaurant and give them a few laughs in return for a free meal. I’d eat realy well. Eventually you’d get on tv, lots of people would want to see you. Life would be great.

Never a dull moment

Just walking into work and I’m always amazed with the city. Crossing the intersection, I passed by a man sipping his coffee and barking out loud like a dog. Reminded me of the Seinfeld episode when Kramer had the same cough as a dog and shared medicine.

On a more serious note, the bad side of the city and this is very rare. In the downtown core of the city a man fired shots in a office tower food court, was chased to the street where he grabbed a woman and was holding her hostage. The swat team subsequently took him out. That kind of drama is rare in this city.

I did have a run-in with swat about 6 years ago. An ex-boyfriend held his girlfriend hostage in her apartment. I was walking down the street when a bunch of black vans rolled up, guys jumped out of the back with machine guns, sealed down the street, cleared everyone out and picked their sniper spots. I didn’t stick around, but I think it was resolved peacefully.

PerformaSure and Sun Java System Application Server 7

An article was just recently released on developer.sun.com about measuring application performance using PerformaSure. The screenshots are small and hard to read and the network diagram looks like it’s circa 1990, but hopefully it explains how PerformaSure works to those that read it.

If you’ve ever used PerformaSure, what were your likes & dislikes? Leave some comments.

SUSE 9.1 is up and running

Over the weekend I wiped my extra machine and installed Suse 9.1. I’m very impressed with the ease of installation. In the past, I’ve installed Redhat & Mandrake and this went much easier, but it may be because of the hardware this time.

Everything was autodetected and configuration was simple. I’m still playing around with it and getting essentials installed. My plan is to use the linux box strictly for software development work and keep my XP machine for household, photos, graphics, music, surfing, etc –all the stuff that distracts me when I’m trying to do real work. I’m trying to get my brain to associate linux=work, xp=leisure.

I’ve started installing Java dev tools & libraries. I’m not a real linux user yet, so are there any suggestions for what I should install to make the transition from win->linux more transparent? What about great apps for linux that just make life better? Comments welcomed – what apps do you have on your linux box that you can’t live without.