Web Testing: darn that Murphy

How today started:

Turn on the PC. Touch base with Dawn and June; agree to meet at 8:30 or thereabouts to car-pool to the testing center. Pick up an orange juice and a couple breakfast bars at the cafeteria. Log into the PC. Attempt to do a simple transaction on the test system. Nothing happens. Absolutely nothing; no response from the web server….

Meantime, Margie’s telling me the production system’s down, too; she’s already heard from one of the beta testers. Different symptoms, though; it’s running, but the system won’t process transactions. I check that; yup, down too. Call Tony; no response, so I leave a message. Call his coder on this project; same result, same message. Call our tech support guy; get him, and get his committment to check the production system. Finally check my e-mail. (47 spam messages and nothing real. Yuck.) Tony’s coder calls me back; reports that the test server was taken off-line for routine maintenance, then hadn’t restarted cleanly. We agree this isn’t a good testing situation. Tony will call me at 9:00….

I go talk to Dawn, and leave a message for June. I have a brief chat with their supervisor. My boss is waiting at my desk; he has a response for Friday’s design question from Tony’s tester Stacy. He leaves, and I pick up a loose end from one of Friday’s discussions: I need to make contact with a vendor about installing an upgrade. I do a little research, compose a short e-mail, and fire it off. Tony calls; we discuss the server situation, agree to hang loose on the testing schedule, and he reports that Stacy’s found a new (as in “this used to work right”) bug. We begin to discuss how to resolve Stacy’s earlier question; I promise to get him a short writeup.

Steve calls; he’s noticed that the production system has malfunctioned and volunteers to help. I tell him it’s already been referred to tech support; Margie’s been talking to them. He and Margie pick up that conversation on her phone. (Eventually, Steve and tech support will get that fire under control. I’m not involved.) The vendor replies to my e-mail with the upgrade question; I do a little more research and reply to that.

Another stop to talk with Dawn & June, and their supervisor, and her supervisor. Check my e-mail again; my boss has relayed a message from his boss, repeating a request for some information from one of our server databases. I reply with a brief summary of that report; I’d created a report with the right basic information, but I needed to check the underlying query because the result set wasn’t even close to what I’d expected. I write the message I promised Tony, and another one because I’m reminded of a wording problem….

That’s a good way to chew up a morning….

No testing, though the system was back up late in the morning. We’ll try again tomorrow. Instead, I got the database query to work right, and spent the afternoon commenting on a couple draft documents….

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