IBM Innovate 2011 is just around the corner – and excitement is building behind the scenes.  With so much going on, this is the busiest week of the year for myself and my teammates.

One of my favorites things we’ve done this year is the Coolest Software Ever contest.  The idea is simply to take a picture of someplace interesting or unique where you have found software.   Here are some of my favorite entries to date.

IBM Innovate 2011 Coolest Software Ever

Software as Hardware

IBM Innovate 2011 Coolest Sofwtare Ever

Pigeon GPS

Ok – so I’m biased – those are my entries…but still, they’re pretty cool, huh?  Vote for me and I’ll let you play angry birds on the iPad  we’re giving away as first prize!

Oh – oh – oh – and not also is there an iPad available – the winner gets a chance to nominate who plays in our Jeopardy Challenge – where IBM’s Watson will take on Grady Booch and Felicia Day!  How cool is that?!?!?!?!  Coooooooollllllllleeeesssssssstttt Evahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh!!!!!!!!

Posted by: Brian | January 10, 2011

IBM Innovate 2011: We want to hear from you!

Our annual conference, IBM Innovate 2011 will take place next June in Orlando.  We are currently hard at work building up a solid curriculum, and we’d love to hear from you.  To give you a starting point, here’s some of the types of things we are looking for:

  • Case Studies with quantitative, measured results
  • Strategies for collaborating with the entire software delivery team: Business Analysts, Developers, Project Managers, IT Operations, etc…
  • Quality management strategies for specific contexts: Agile, Packaged Applications, SOA, etc…
  • Quality management strategies for specific industries: Financial Services, Health Care, etc…
  • Innovative uses of IBM® Rational® Functional Tester, IBM® Rational® Performance Tester, IBM® Rational® Service Tester for SOA Quality and IBM Rational Quality Manager

Step up, submit and share your knowledge with customers and peers! We’d love to hear from you!

If your submission is accepted, you will receive a complimentary pass to Innovate 2011! Come join us for the IBM Quality Management networking opportunity of the year!


Submit Today!

Posted by: Brian | September 28, 2010

Goodbye Star West

The Rational Tester is 15 minutes away from boarding his last flight to the annual Star West testing conference.  I can’t remember the first time I attended a Star West, but it’s safe to say that I haven’t missed many of them since I started back in 1995.  We were SQA then, for a while Rational, and now IBM.   Whatever the name on the business card though, Star West has always been an important stop on the To-Do list.

A few weeks ago, the Rational Tester accepted a new position in IBM as Rational Technical Evangelist.  It’s pretty much the role I’ve been doing for some time now in Quality Management, but with a wider, broader scope – across all things Rational.  It’s going to be a big learning curve, but I’m looking  forward to the challenge.

So, please stop by at Star West to say hello, and good-bye.  It’s been a good run.   I’ll be at the IBM booth and speaking at 3.oo pm on Wednesday with my partner Matt Holitza.  Our session is “Transforming Software Delivery through Collaboration” where we’ll talk about how the collaborative economy and collaborative software delivery is impacting quality management.

Posted by: Brian | July 26, 2010

Rational Functional Tester: File Compare

The Rational Tester was visiting a client who had recently purchased Rational Functional Tester. During the meeting, a question came up as to what would be the best approach to comparing two files in a Rational Functional Tester script. It was fun to get back to my geeky roots, and with Rational Functional Tester being built upon Java, we had lots of easy options.

For this particular situation, all that was required was a simple “Yes / No” answer. Either the files were the same or they were not. In this situation, probably the simplest approach is to leverage the apache commons i/o libraries.   In this library, you’ll find one line file compare function called contentEquals.

To use this library from Rational Functional Tester, download the library (currently the latest version is “”, expand the zip and copy the “commons-io-1.4.jar” to the RFT customization directory which by default is C:\Documents and Settings\All Users\Application Data\IBM\RFT\customization.  This process, by the way, is documented in the Rational Functional Tester Help.

From there, you’ll need to add two import statements.  First you need to gain access to the File object type that is required by the contentEquals function.  Of course, you’ll also need the contentEquals function which is in the package.

With the imports in place, create two file objects, one for each file, and then use a vpManual to compare the results of the comparison.  Here is a screenshot of a simple test I wrote.  Unfortunately, the blog limits the types of files I can share, so I can’t share the actual script with you.

import*; import; public class FileCompare extends FileCompareHelper { /** * Script Name : FileCompare * Description : Functional Test Script * @author Rational Tester */ public void testMain(Object[] args) { File file1 = new File("C:\\File1.txt"); File file2 = new File("C:\\File2.txt"); try { vpManual ("File_Compare_1", true, FileUtils.contentEquals (file1,file1)).performTest(); vpManual ("File_Compare_2", true, FileUtils.contentEquals (file1,file2)).performTest(); } catch (IOException ioe) {} } }

In the above, two verification points are created.  The first compares the first file to itself, which will always pass.  The second compares two different files, which results in a fail.

A logical next step would be to log the actual differences.  We’ll save that for a subsequent post, but for a quick fix, here is an article which shows some sample code that would get you started.

Posted by: Brian | June 7, 2010

IBM Innovate 2010: Did you notice?

The Rational Tester has attended and been involved in the last 15 SQA / Rational / IBM User Conferences. Yes 15…don’t make me list them out! Much has changed over those years. Obviously the company names have changed a couple times, we’ve even in the past changed locations (and hopefully will in the future), and this year we’ve changed the name…but this year, there are few telling small changes that caught my attention.

1. The staff shirts. After 5 or 6 years of the same shirts, staff this year got some new duds. Amen! The lucky ones got the black shirts, the unlucky stayed teal blue. (The difference, btw, is blue for staff, black for expo hall demo’ers). Anyways – if you look closely, you’ll see this is the first conference shirt that doesn’t have the words “Rational” on them. This subtle omission reflects the change winds at IBM where focus is shifting away from “the brands” (Rational, Websphere, Lotus, Info Mgmt, Tiovli) and on to the mother ship, IBM.

2. Scott Hebner didn’t wear one during his keynote. Every year until now, the host of the keynote, the VP of marketing, has always worn the staff shirt. Scott Hebner, and before him Roger Oberg, Tom Bogan and Eric Shurr all wore team colors. This morning Sir Scott walked out with a long sleeve button down. It’s a glimpse into the shift in the conference away from a geek show to a business show. Next year, I’m betting he wears the IBM manager uniform of shirt and jacket.

3. The GM keynote didn’t disappoint. It has been a tradition at the conference that the GM presentation has always been “uncomfortable”. Be it Dr. Dan or Paul Levy & Mike Devlin, before him, it never felt right. Like a shirt that just didn’t fit. There’s probably a million reasons why – the least of which being it’s a damn hard thing to do – but unlike previous years, this morning, Dr. Dan was on. Was it just a good day, or has Dr. Dan now fully taken the helm, and driving his vision? He spoke like he knew and cared what he was talking about….like he was in charge. Maybe he now fully is.

Whether these are insignificant small nuances, or a sign of changing times – I guess only time will tell…

Birds of a feather no longer fly together.

This year it’s all about U-Innovate.  We’re taking a new approach to what was formerly known as BoF (Birds of a Feather) and bringing people together in a similar, but smarter,  “unconference” format.  The session will start with an open panel moderated by our experts – and any volunteer experts – then break out into individual group discussions focused on the hottest topics from Innovate’s solution tracks.

Additionally, the first 250 people to show up that night (June 8 at 7p ET) will receive a free copy of Cloud Computing for Dummies.

Learn more about IBM Innovate 2010 Unconferences and how to get your free copy of Cloud Computing for Dummies.

Well, if you’ve been sitting on the sidelines waiting for the “Agile thing” to pass, it seems like you’re out of luck.  Agile development practices, in whole or in part have taken hold, have broad adoption and are showing positive results.

As such, Agile is one of the main themes we’ll be covering at Innovate 2010 – the IBM Rational software user conference.  Here’s just a couple of the sessions on Agile which we’ll be running:

QM-1620 – In the trenches: Implementing Agile Testing practices using Rational Quality Manager
Tuesday, June 8, 3.00-4.00
Scrum Master Reedy Feggins examines RQM and Quality in an Agile context.

QM-1941 – Quality in the Trenches Panel: Traditional?  Agile?  Something else? – Hot Topics – Agile
Tuesday, June 8, 11.15 – 12.45
Mark Lines, Unified Process Mentors, Co-founder
Scott Ambler, IBM, Chief Methodologist for Agile/Lean, IBM

QM-1984 – Case Study: How to Build a Successful Agile Test Team with Non-Technical Testers – General
Thursday , June 10, 8.30-9.30
Kim Werner, ATSC, Senior Management Consultant, IBM Business Partner/ISV

Register for the conference today with the code: QMT and you can save $100 off your conference fee.  This discount code is good right up to the last minute.

Register now with the Rational Tester Innovate 2010 Discount Code.

Thinking about going to the Innovate 2010 Rational Software Conference ?  Thinking about a discount or promo code?  You’ve come to the right place!

Register for the conference today with the code: QMT and you can save $100 off your conference fee.  This discount code is good right up to the last minute.

Register now with the Rational Tester Innovate 2010 Discount Code.

Ok – so the Rational Tester knows that there’s always an issue around certifications.   Test curmudgeon James Bach often rallies against such certifications, as outlined on his blog.  And while he does make some interesting points, I think the goal of certification is a good one.  I come at this from my perspective as a professional accountant.  All professional accountants in Canada must be certified by one of three accounting entities, which effectively insures a core level of accounting competency in all practitioners.  Same goes for Doctors, Lawyers, Mechanics, Plumbers, etc…

So why not testers?   I know there are challenges, and maybe current certifications don’t make the grade, but I believe it would be a step in the right direction if there was some sort of certification mechanism for test professionals.

On the topic, at this year’s Rational software conference, Innovate2010, all attendees are entitled to two free product certifications.  For Quality Management, we have certifications for IBM Rational Functional Tester, IBM Rational Performance Tester and IBM Rational Quality manager to name a few.  So do your homework, read your manuals, and get yourself certified – for FREE – at Innovate 2010.

Click Here formMore information on Innovate 2010 Free Certifications.

In what is becoming a bit of an annual tradition on this blog, I am reporting any and all Innovate 2010 Discount and Promo codes.  So far, the best I’ve found is a $300 savings off your Rational Software Conference / Innovate 2010 registration fee.

To get the discount code, sign up for the Innovate 2010 Jam.  The Jam is a short term open discussion between IBMers, customers and thought leaders.  It lasts only 2 days, and the purpose is to get a pulse on what these groups think about major trends in software delivery, from application lifecycle management to cloud computing.

Register today to participate in the discussion and to get your discount code.  Based on previous years, $300 is the high water mark of discount codes.  We have not seen any higher, so this could very well be your best chance to save money on your Innovate 2010 / Rational Software Conference registration fee.

Hurry – the Jam, and the discount, ends April 1, 2010.

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