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Cucumber + Capybara = Web Testing Delight

Following on from Chris’ screencast showing the simplest Cucumber project ever, I recorded a screencast showing the simplest Cucumber web testing project ever. In just five minutes, I’ll show you how to use Capybara to drive a simple Google web search from a Cucumber scenario.

If you’re looking to get started using Cucumber to test any kind of web application, this is a great introduction.

Getting started with Cucumber and Capybara from Matt Wynne on Vimeo.

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Speaking at Lean Agile Scotland 2012

The Lean Agile Scotland conference is shaping up to be a really great event. I’ll be speaking about why agile fails, drawing on my experience coaching numerous software teams and organisations. I’ll highlighting the reasons why so many companies fail to reap the benefits enjoyed by the early adopters of agile and give you some insights into how to make your agile adoption a success.

We’ve also got some other great spakers like David Anderson, Liz Keogh, Karl Scotland, Clarke Ching and Gojko Adzic, to name just a few. Book your ticket now!

Lean Agile Scotland Speaker

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Passwords are Backward

I really hate passwords. Today I read this, and realised I’m not alone:

http://me.veekun.com/blog/2011/12/04/fuck-passwords/

If you feel like me, go and have a read. I’m pretty sure it will cheer you up.

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The Joy of Craftsmanship

I identify a great deal with the label of “Craftsman”, but some of the rhetoric around the current “Software Craftsmanship” movement bothers me. Why?

A little lightbulb went on recently as I read “Let my People Go Surfing”, by Yvon Chouinard, the founder of the outdoor clothing company Patagonia. Patagonia was founded by a group of friends who were social misfits: “dirtbag” climbers and surfers who only worked in order to save cash for their adventures. When they came to work, they wanted to enjoy it:

I wanted to have a company where people came to work on the balls of their feet, taking the stairs two at a time.

Yvon describes in the book how they’ve worked hard to keep this culture alive at Patagonia. Increasingly over, the years, I’ve prioritised enjoying my work over how much I can earn from it, and I believe that this search for joy is a fundamental part of my model of craftsmanship. When I haven’t enjoyed a job, either I’ve worked with people to change things so that I do, or I’ve left. I think it’s impossible to truly craft something when you’re working in an unpleasant environment with people you whose company you don’t enjoy. On the other hand, when I’ve had the privilege to work with great people using great tools, I feel like nothing can stop me.

So for me, craftsmanship is about finding joy in your work. Here’s Brian Marick on Joy:

Now, I could say that a joyful employee is a productive employee, and that lack of joy on a project is like a canary keeling over in a coal mine: a sign that something big is wrong and you better pay attention. Maybe that’s true. I’d certainly like to believe it. But, fundamentally, I don’t care. I think joy is its own excuse. We deserve it. More to the point, those people around us deserve it.

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The Importance of Being Idle

It says over there on the left that I like to be idle, but I don’t often take the time to write about it. I’m not going to write much now, really, but here’s a thought for you:

An idle mind is a questioning, sceptical mind. Hence it is a mind not too bound up with ephemeral things, as the minds of workers are. The idler, then, is somebody who separates himself from his occupation: there are many people scarcely conscious of living except in the exercise of some conventional occupation.

– Robert Luis Stevenson

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Twitter me up

If you think it’s got a bit quiet here on the blog, there are two reasons for that. One: my current project is very very nearly ready for the next round of beta invites, which has keeping me extremely busy. More details on that soon.

Second, though, is that I have well and truly caught the twitter bug. If you haven’t tried it yet, I really suggest you give it a go. It’s a great way to engage in conversations, and it somehow breaks down barriers very effectively, possibly better than any electronic medium I’ve played with yet.

See you over there? http://twitter.com/mattwynne

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Saving Bletchley Park

> Bletchley Park, the codebreaking centre that helped to win the Second World War and launch the modern computer, is in danger of irreparable decay unless the Government steps in to save it.

What can you do?

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Hire Me

I bring you good news and bad news, dear reader.

The bad news is that it looks as if my present client may be running out of interesting work for me to do, for the time being, which is a real shame as I’m greatly enjoying working there.

The good news though is that this means I’m now available for hire again! If you need an experienced, charismatic programmer, technical architect or coach to join or lead a team of programmers, and you’re serious about that team producing high-quality code that delivers maximum value to its users and enjoying it as they do so, then I think it’s time we had a little chat.

Read more here: http://mattwynne.net/work/cv/programmer/

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Browser History That Doesn’t Suck?

I just came across this post from Kevin Lim about a cool new tool for the (Apple-based) Safari browser called SafariStand.

A bit like HistoryHound, this plug-in allows you to quickly search your browser history, review it as thumbnails, and has a killer, iTunes-style cover-flow view of your history called History Flow:



Like Kevin, I’m still not satisfied with this, and would like to see something more like TrailBlazer, that allows me to visualise my browsing history as paths and branches.

Ideally I’d also like this data to be shared so I can socialise with other people who hang out on the same bits of the internet as I do.

Maybe it’s time to dig out that firefox extension tutorial again..?

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Spa 2008 (Day 1.5)

So I got to SPA yesterday afternoon, but this is my first day proper.

The sessions are longer than at other conferences I’ve been to, which allows for more depth. I’ve been to three today: – Code Debt (Workshop) – Is Software Practice Advancing? (Panel Discussion) – Real Options (Workshop)

The evening is ensuing with more BoF sessions, so there’s no rest!

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