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         +=======    Quality Techniques Newsletter    =======+
         +=======                                     =======+
         +=======             January 2000            =======+

QUALITY TECHNIQUES NEWSLETTER (QTN) (Previously Testing Techniques
Newsletter) is E-mailed monthly to subscribers worldwide to support the
Software Research, Inc. (SR), TestWorks, QualityLabs, and eValid WebTest
Services user community and to provide information of general use to the
worldwide software and internet quality and testing community.

Permission to copy and/or re-distribute is granted, and secondary
circulation is encouraged by recipients of QTN provided that the entire
document/file is kept intact and this complete copyright notice appears
with it in all copies.  (c) Copyright 2003 by Software Research, Inc.


   o  Our Y2K Resolution: TTN Becomes QTN!

   o  The First Asia-Pacific Conference on Quality Software (APAQS 2000)
      - Call for Participation

   o  National News: Software Glitch Leads to Online Offer of $33 TV

   o  New Century, New Dates: The Real Truth

   o  CAPBAK/Web Feature Summary

   o  Open Source Design Competition

   o  The Daily Telegraph: "Halifax Share Service Halted" by Suzy Jagger

   o  "Basic Concepts for Managing Telecommunications Networks -- Copper
      to Sand to Glass to Air" - excerpts from a new book by Lawrence
      Bernstein & C.M.  Yuhas

   o  "Software Testing - Myth or Reality" by Romilla Karunakaran (Part
      I of II)

   o  Second ICSE Workshop on Web Engineering - Call for Participation



                  Our Y2K Resolution: TTN Becomes QTN

Times change, focus shifts, and new things come along.  At the start of
the New Century and the New Millennium, we will be expanding the scope
and type of coverage of our monthly newsletter.  Perhaps more to the
point, we've recognized the inevitability and fundamental importance of
the Internet.

o  Our new "Quality Techniques Newsletter" will include not just
   "testing" but more general quality issues as well, including process,
   risk assessment.

o  We plan to expand the range of articles to include not only
   conventional application development, client/server application
   development, but also website and e-commerce application development.
   This also reflects the certain future dominance of the internet and
   internet-based or internet-evolved systems and approaches.

o  And, we aim to include much more timely, current events and "hot
   topics" than we have in the past.

You'll see these changes in QTN as they evolve in the coming months'
issues.  We hope you enjoy the NEW QTN!

Edward Miller




                               HONG KONG
                          OCTOBER 30-31, 2000


-  The Software Engineering Group, The University of Hong Kong
-  Software Technology Centre, Vocational Training Council, Hong Kong


The quality of software has an important bearing on the financial and
safety aspects in our daily lives.  Unfortunately, software systems
often fail to deliver according to promises.  It is well known that
there are still unresolved errors in many of the software systems that
we are using every day.  The Asia-Pacific region is far from being
immune to these problems.  The prime objective of the conference is to
provide a forum to bring together researchers and practitioners from
this region to address this issue seriously.


We are soliciting full-length research papers and experience reports on
various aspects of software testing or quality assurance.  Specific
topics include, but are not limited to, the following areas:

-  Automated software testing
-  Configuration management and version control
-  Conformance testing
-  Debugging
-  Economics of software testing
-  Formal methods
-  Metrics and measurement
-  Performance testing
-  Process assessment and certification
-  Quality management
-  Quality measurement and benchmarking
-  Reliability
-  Review, inspection, and walkthroughs
-  Robustness testing
-  Safety and security
-  Testability
-  Testing tools
-  Testing standards
-  Testing of object-oriented software
-  Testing of real-time systems
-  Testing processes
-  Testing strategies
-  Application areas such as e-commerce, component-based systems,
   digital libraries, distributed systems, embedded systems, enterprise
   applications, information systems, Internet, mobile applications,
   multimedia, and Web-based systems

All the papers submitted to the conference will be refereed by three
members of the program committee according to technical quality,
originality, significance, clarity of presentation, and appropriateness
for the conference.  The conference proceedings will be published by
IEEE Computer Society.


-  Dr. T.H. Tse Department of Computer Science and Information Systems
   The University of Hong Kong Pokfulam Road Hong Kong

   Email: Fax: +852 / 2559 8447 Telephone: +852 /
   2859 2183

-  Dr. T.Y. Chen Department of Computing and Mathematics Hong Kong
   Institute of Vocational Education Vocational Training Council 30
   Shing Tai Road Chai Wan Hong Kong

   Email: Fax: +852 / 2505 4216 Telephone: +852
   / 2595 8152


-  March 15, 2000        Deadline for submission

-  May 15, 2000          Notification of acceptance

-  June 30, 2000         Deadline for camera-ready copies of accepted

-  October 30-31, 2000   Conference


  NATIONAL NEWS: Software glitch leads to online offer of $33 TV sets

Sunday January 9 2000:  Argos, the catalogue shopping company, was given
a lesson in the perils of e-commerce yesterday when a software glitch
led to an slew of orders for Sony television sets mistakenly priced at
$33 each.

The company's refusal to honor any of the orders could lead to a test
case on the extent to which online contracts can be enforced.  Lawyers
who studied the terms of the offer said there was no obvious reason why
Argos's site should be exempt from regulations requiring retailers to
sell at the price displayed.  The Sony Nicam TV sets should have been
advertised at $3299.99 - $330 off their normal price. But a software
error resulted in the $3299.99 being "rounded up" to $33.00. News of the
too-good-to-be-true error spread quickly over the internet, encouraging
some users to place orders for dozens of sets.

Argos eventually discovered the error, but not before hundreds of orders
had been placed. The company, part of the GUS retail group, said last
night it had decided not to honor any of those orders after consulting
its lawyers and the Advertising Standards Authority. Because it had not
confirmed that any of the orders had been accepted, no contract existed
to sell the TVs at the $33 price, Argos said.

An e-commerce lawyer cast doubts on whether this stance would stand up
in court. "It is likely they will be honor bound to fulfil (the orders)
- if they refuse, it could turn into a test case to determine exactly
what the rules are (for online sales)," said Kiran Sandford, a partner
of Taylor Joynson Garrett. Several people at the firm ordered the TVs.

The only significant disclaimer on the Argos site was that sales were
subject to availability, Ms. Sandford said. "I don't see why the
regulations about misleading consumer pricing should not apply online".
Terry Duddy, Argos chief executive, said: "We have a great internet site
that now gets over 100,000 hits per month. It has some tremendous offers
on it but clearly a TV for $33 is not one of them. This was obviously an
error we rectified very quickly. We shall be contacting each customer
directly to apologize, explaining their orders cannot be accepted in
this case."

Forwarded by Mark Lawton, Dynamic Futures, England.


                 New Century, New Dates: The Real Truth

According to the U.S. Naval Observatory, the end of the second
millennium and the beginning of the third will be reached on January 1,
2001. This date is based on a calendar created in 526 A.D. by Dennis the
Diminutive, the head of a Roman monastery who forged a common calendar
from the divergent dating systems of his day.

To read more about this please go to: <>


                      CAPBAK/Web Product Summary

CAPBAK/Web(tm) is a full-featured Test Enabled Web Browser(tm) based on
IE 4.n or IE 5.n for Windows 95/98/NT.  This powerful tool lets you
perform all of the functions needed for detailed WebSite dynamic
testing, QA/Validation, and load emulation -- including functions many
that are difficult or awkward with other approaches -- very easily and

CAPBAK/Web's WebSite test and validation functions include:
 > Intuitive GUI for all functions built into the browser.
 > Recording and playback of user sessions in combined true-time and
   object mode.
 > Fully editable recordings/scripts expressed in "C".
 > Convenient Pause/SingleStep/Resume control during playback.
 > A range of user-interactive runtime validation options, including
   document features, selected text, selected image, and all images and
 > "Test wizards" that create scripts that exercise all links on a page,
   push all buttons on a FORM, and manipulate a FORM's contents.
 > Built-in support for recording in a "secure zone".
 > Support for JavaScript and VBScript and Java applet navigation.
 > Views of the keysave file (editable), messages file, errors file and
   event-log files (all files spreadsheet compatible).
 > Timer with 1 msec resolution for accurate performance measurement.
 > Cache Management functions under user control (you can play back
   tests with an empty cache).
 > User Preferences to provide a variety of recording and playback
 > Multiple playback capability (multiple independent copies can play
   back simultaneously).
 > Batch mode command-line interface.

Take a quick look at the GUI and other material about the product at:


Download the latest CAPBAK/Web release at:


To get an evaluation license key send Email to  or go



           Los Alamos National Laboratory & CodeSourcery, LLC

                           Software Carpentry

                     Open Source Design Competition

                          $100,000 in Prizes!

The Software Carpentry project is pleased to announce its first Open
Source design competition, with prizes totaling $100,000.  Students and
professionals from any country, working individually or in teams, are
invited to submit design outlines for:

* a platform inspection tool to replace autoconf;

* a dependency management tool to replace make;

* an issue tracking system to replace gnats and Bugzilla; and

* a unit and regression testing harness with the functionality of XUnit,
   Expect, and DejaGnu.

The best four entries in each category will be awarded $2500, and
invited to submit full designs by June 1, 2000.  The best design in each
category will then receive an additional $7500, while runners-up will
each receive $2500.  Once winning designs have been announced, $200,000
will be available through open bidding for implementation, testing, and

Participants may submit separate entries in one or more categories by
March 31, 2000.  Entries must be in English, and no more than 5000 words
long.  For more information, see the Software Carpentry web site at  All of the project's work will be
Open Source; all tools will be written in, or scriptable with, Python,
and will be required to run on both Linux and Microsoft Windows NT.

The competition will be judged by a panel that includes the following
noted software developers, authors, and computational scientists:

    Stephen Adler       Brookhaven National Laboratory
    Frank Alexander     Los Alamos National Laboratory
    Donnie Barnes       Red Hat
    Chris DiBona        VA Linux
    Paul Dubois         Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory
    Andrew Hunt         Pragmatic Programmers, LLC
    Stephen R. Lee      Los Alamos National Laboratory
    Josh MacDonald      University of California, Berkeley
    Brian Marick        Reliable Software Technologies
    Doug Mewhort        Queen's University
    Bruce Perens        co-founder of the Open Source Initiative
    Dave Thomas         Pragmatic Programmers, LLC
    Jon Udell           author of Practical Internet Groupware
    Guido van Rossum    inventor of Python
    Tom Van Vleck       TransIlluminant
    Phil Wadler         Bell Labs
    Scot Wingo          AuctionRover

The Software Carpentry project is sponsored by the Advanced Computing
Laboratory at the U.S. Department of Energy's Los Alamos National
Laboratory (, and administered by CodeSourcery,
LLC (  The project's aim is to encourage
adoption of better software development practices by making software
tools easier to use, and by documenting design, testing, and related

For more information on the project, or to let us know that you intend
to submit a proposal, see, or mail


          Article from The Daily Telegraph 27th November 1999

                  ISSUE 1646 Saturday 27 November 1999

                     Halifax Share Service Halted,
                             by Suzy Jagger

                        Press releases - Halifax

THE Halifax's online share dealing service, launched less than two
months ago, suffered a setback yesterday after a "technical glitch"
allowed users to access other people's private share dealing accounts.
The bank stopped its service just after 10am yesterday after one of its
10,000 customers called to say when he logged on to the share dealing
system another user's account appeared on his screen. David Walkden,
general manager of Halifax Direct, said he was not concerned that the
error had not been spotted first by in-house monitoring systems.

He said: "I believe that our security procedures would have picked it
up. It is regrettable for a handful of people that this has happened.
However, we will make sure that no customer has been disadvantaged; if
they have, the bank will make good.

"As soon as we found out we halted the system and we are working flat-
out all weekend to find out what went wrong and to sort it out; we are
going through every transaction done during the morning."


       "Basic Concepts for Managing Telecommunications Networks
             -- Copper to Sand to Glass to Air"  (Excerpt)


Lawrence Bernstein

Software people working in telecommunications face a hugely complex and
constantly evolving industry.  Each facet of telecommunications requires
both formal and practical education to such a degree that the
perspective of the whole can be lost in the intense specialization
within one area.  When that happens, individual decisions that might
seem perfectly reasonable in a narrow context can sometimes be
counterproductive to the larger enterprise.

Developers need to understand the context and origins of the systems
they are building.  The evolution of the technology has led to
compromises that are important to understand.  Often, complicated
solutions cannot be changed because of those compromises and knowing the
history of the systems can save the people from repeating historical
mistakes.  Software, in its current state of development, is a fragile
commodity, reasonable expectations and appropriate precautions can be
employed to reduce the frustrations of repeating previous mistakes.  An
awareness of the industry complexity can also help understand why simple
management schemes that were once adequate for small networks will not
scale up to larger networks.  That networks are in a constant state of
evolution and change is a fact of life can be welcomed with genuine
exhilaration rather than fear and resistance.

Programmers need an appreciation of the application domain for which
they write.  They need an understanding of the reasons behind the
interfaces they must satisfy and the relationship of the software they
build to the whole network.  Programmers also need to understand that
there is a sub-discipline of psychology called human factors that has
amassed a body of experimental data upon which they can draw.  The data
range from finely detailed parameters of human physiological responses
to larger issues of human interaction with mechanized systems.

The first four chapters of:

"Basic Concepts for Managing Telecommunications Networks -- Copper to
Sand to Glass to Air."  describe the challenges of contemporary
telecommunications, a view to the future and a basic explanation of how
networks evolved.  Chapters 5 through 9 each describe one critical
aspect of automation, together forming the "five pillars of success."
The final chapter discusses economic impact and cost studies for proving
in new systems.  Appendix A lists the full compound terms for the
acronyms used in the text.  Appendix B lists some other works that treat
various aspects of the basic concepts introduced in this text in more
detail and offer specific problem resolutions.

"Basic Concepts for Managing Telecommunications Networks -- Copper to
Sand to Glass to Air" is part of Manu Malek's series Network and Systems

         Publisher Kluwer Academic/Plenum Publishers
         authors:  Lawrence Bernstein and C M Yuhas
         ISBN 0-306-46237-0
         Price: $75
         call 781-871-6600 or go to to order

Bernstein has been a regular contributor to TTN/QTN.


           Software Testing - Myth or Reality? (Part 1 of 3)

                         By Romilla Karunakaran
                         InterWorld Corporation


Software testing as bold as it may sound and with all other factors
remaining constant, is the golden hand that delivers the quality of the
product in the state that clients want it to be. It is the testing
manager who holds the reign to the crowning glory and it is this same
individual who ensures that a "flawless" software product is delivered
or at best, that the product is delivered with the least number of bugs
that could cause a potential software failure. The methodology behind
software testing is a carefully crafted art about what constitutes the
rightful method towards effective software testing. Software testing is
not just a simple process of thumping on the computer to determine as
many bugs as possible, but involves a careful evaluation of the product
based on business and product requirements and specifications, and
verifying that the software product developed meets those required
criteria. Even then, this may pose a daunting task, as the testing team
has to determine the required subset of a whole combination of input
values that could result in a buggy application. The software testing
team also has its importance in being able to sanction the release of
the software product to the respective client. It is therefore little
wonder that in today's highly rapid application development environment,
the importance of the software testing field cannot be emphasized any
lesser - it forms the core and facet of any successful software
development project and should be structured enough to allow for a
repeatable testing process within the software development lifecycle.
Software testing is a part of the quality assurance entity and can also
be aptly described as the audit tool of the executive management team.
This means it is responsible for determining the state of the software
product developed and provides the means on what should be done to
ensure that the software product is shipped in the quality that clients
or end-users expect it to be.

Unfortunately, software testing and software testers are the least
understood puzzle piece in the entire realm of the software development
world. There is often a conflict about realizing the goals that are
visible on the part of the development team and those of the software
testing team. Most often, development cannot fathom the reasoning behind
the need for fixes and the business issues that require the need for
such a fix. The development team often relies on its engineering
expertise to determine why a fix should be made the way it is and when,
while the quality assurance team relies on its shrewd business sense and
everyday wisdom to ferret out the bug that will not give that "decent"
feel to the software. And while development can proudly point towards
the birth of a tangible product, the software testing field can only
confidently point to an intangible service which is the assurance that
the product has been policed as "ship ready".  It comes as no surprise
to one then why software testing is perhaps the most misjudged field in
the software development lifecycle, its importance often taking the
backburner and naturally the backseat in most software development

The process of software testing is naturally destructive for it
determines as many defects as possible to ensure that the final software
product is "bug-free". While this can be a harrowing experience for the
developer who is either not too comfortable with receiving reports on
bugs that he/she claims as "by design", it is always important to
remember that the issue of quality in a software product is an area that
will be eventually judged by the client, not by the developer, not the
tester nor the executive management team. There will always be a need to
understand the people relations in a software development project and
that can work when both parties develop a mutual need for such a
relationship and to understand that the ultimate deciding factor on what
constitutes a successful project is the client.  Although the software
tester lives by the creed of ensuring a "bug-free" product, he/she too
has the duty to understand what bugs should be reported and in what
manner they should be categorized.  Although the identification and
categorization of defects does not form part of the discussion in this
article, it represents a body of knowledge that the tester should be
equipped and familiar with. Since it is almost impossible to deliver a
100% bug-free product, the software tester has the duty to ensure that
the software product is delivered with what constitutes the minimum
acceptable number of defects and with no possibility of a software

                           TO BE CONTINUED...


                            Call for Papers

                Second ICSE Workshop on Web Engineering


   (Held in conjunction with the International Conference on Software

                  4 and 5 June 2000; Limerick, Ireland

This Workshop is in response to the increasing need to systematize the
current ad hoc approaches to creating and maintaining Web-based
applications. It focuses on successful development of large, complex
Web-based systems and provides a mix of academic research and experience
of industry practitioners to address the major problems in building and
maintaining such systems.

It builds upon the previous one at the ICSE99 and incorporates the best
practices from Software Engineering and other disciplines which impact
upon Web-based application development.

The Workshop covers processes, methodologies, system design, lifecycle
and management of large Web-based systems and educational and research
issues. Further, it would review ongoing work in this area, discuss case
studies and best practices, and pave directions further work.

For further details, please visit:

Deadline for Submission of papers/panel proposals: 1 February 2000

San Murugesan and Yogesh Deshpande
Dept of Computing and Information Systems
University of Western Sydney Macarthur
Campbelltown NSW 2560, Australia


------------>>>          QTN SUBMITTAL POLICY            <<<------------

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o Length of submitted non-calendar items should not exceed 350 lines
  (about four pages).  Longer articles are OK and may be serialized.
o Length of submitted calendar items should not exceed 60 lines.
o Publication of submitted items is determined by Software Research,
  Inc. and may be edited for style and content as necessary.

DISCLAIMER:  Articles and items are the opinions of their authors or
submitters; QTN disclaims any responsibility for their content.

Xflight, STW/Regression, STW/Coverage, STW/Advisor, TCAT, and the SR
logo are trademarks or registered trademarks of Software Research, Inc.
All other systems are either trademarks or registered trademarks of
their respective companies.

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                               ## End ##