April 28, 2018

Setting up Ubuntu Linux with Docker

Let's say that I only have a Windows 10 system at home, and I wanted to take a refresher course, Michael Hartl's Learn Enough Command Line to Be Dangerous. There are many ways to get Linux on a Windows machine. The easiest I found? Docker. Besides, they use Docker at work, so I need to practice that, too.

There are some technologies that keep on popping up again and again in my short career as an automation developer. One of those is Docker. "Docker is a software platform that allows you to build, test, and deploy applications quickly. Docker packages software into standardized units called containers that have everything the software needs to run including libraries, system tools, code, and runtime", according to AWS's article, What is Docker?

Back in July 2016, I was doing some weekend work to see if my company might be able to set up Docker with the new Docker Toolbox, with me working with our DevOps team, implementing a Selenium Grid using Docker-Selenium to possibly offload some of the cost of Sauce Labs, which can get pricey. I was inspired by a Selenium Conf India 2016 talk, "Testing as a Container". The month before, I was also tinkering with Setting up a Virtual DEV environment with VirtualBox, Vagrant and Docker, based on a Test Driven Java Development book I was reading. The projects were nixed, and I moved onto other things.

Years later, in March 2018, I would revisit this project, Starting a Selenium Grid using AWS + SeleniumHQ Docker images and Docker Compose.

That's how it goes jumping from gig to gig the past few years: from workplace to workplace the technology stack changes. Hopefully with my current full time permanent gig I can stop tinkering, settle down for five or six years and actually get good at some of this stuff, instead of always feeling that I am paging through the book "How To Skydive" while I am in free fall.

With this blog article we are not doing anything so fancy. All I want to do is bring up a Docker image containing Ubuntu. You see, as much as I love my work Macbook, at home I always use a Windows machine. Every few months I am tinkering with a new tool or technology, installing the Windows version of whatever I am tinkering with. It gets cluttered with half-forgotten tools. Maybe if I use Docker, I can start using a real Linux environment while at home instead of the half-baked hybrid I have been using.

Yeah, I could Start a Linux Machine with Amazon Web Services Free Tier, which I researched back in January of 2018 ... but between you and me, I worry about leaving a process running, and being stuck with a hefty monthly bill. Luckily, Docker for Windows would work just as easily!

Docker Community Edition

April 9, 2018

So You Want To Be An Automation Developer - Guest Post on Blog.SmartBear.

Last week, SmartBear.com -- the company behind TestComplete, ReadyAPI, QAComplete, SoapUI, and Swagger -- tapped me on the shoulder. Did I want to write a guest post on their blog? How about something that manual testers could use as a guide to switch to automation?

It took me three hours, but I came up with an article: So You Want To Be An Automation Developer.

 "Are you a software tester trying to break into automation? Need pointers to get your first job? Although I only have three years of experience as an automation developer, I may be able to point you in the right direction.

"Step One: Take a Coding Class

"When you are writing automation, you aren’t simply tinkering with a new toolset or technology. You are writing software in order to test software. It will definitely help you if you start learning how to code. With your first job, you won’t need to know how to write clean code or refactor tests right away, but if your job interviews are anything like the ones I had, you will have to demonstrate some knowledge of a programming language during your job interview.

"My biggest recommendation if you are brand new to coding? Check out your local community college to see what programming classes they offer. Testing and developing are completely different mindsets. Learning from and interacting with a teacher, bouncing ideas off of students, and forming up study groups will help with the ever growing frustration as you are learning this brand new skill. You will hit wall after wall trying to understand the basic concepts. Your study group can be your wrecking crew. It also helps that everyone in the class are tackling the same concepts at the same pace".

Read more here.

Thank you so much, SmartBear for publishing my article! Happy Testing!

-T.J. Maher
Sr. QA Engineer, Software Engineer in Test
Meetup Organizer, Ministry of Testing - Boston

Twitter | YouTubeLinkedIn | Articles