Upgraded annathepiper.org to WordPress 5.0

This is a test, this is a test, this is a test. This is me playing with the new “Gutenberg” editor that comes with WordPress 5.0, and yep, this is sure different.

Gutenberg is oriented around the concept of “blocks”. It keeps offering me things to do to various types of them, including paragraphs and shortcodes. I’m not sure yet if I like this experience yet. But at least there’s a plugin I can install to restore the classic editor if I decide to get rid of this.

For now, anyway, I’ve got this version of WordPress installed on my personal network of sites (which includes both annathepiper.org and angelahighland.com). Assuming nothing obviously explodes, I’ll be rolling it around to the other sites hosted on murkworks.net this weekend.

Rearranging things around here again

I have a tendency to let projects get away from me if I’m not careful, and lately this has tackled me again as I’ve found myself trying to spin off two separate WordPress sites on my network–one for doing indie SDET work, and another for photos. The first was motivated by me getting laid off recently from my long-running day job. The second was brought on by Flickr announcing that they were going to start limiting free users to 1,000 photos and/or videos on their site, which made me think that I might want to move a lot of my Flickr content here.

Both of these projects were nice in theory. But in actual practice, I discovered that having too many WordPress sites to keep track of is annoying for me.

I also discovered that while I liked the idea of a standalone photos.annathepiper.org, this meant that I couldn’t easily get at the photo galleries I wanted to put on it. Say, from pages on the main annathepiper.org site, or old posts. So I’m opting to do the photos thing here instead. And while I think I like the theory of having a standalone dev site on my WordPress network as well, again, I think it’s a bit too much fracturing of how much I need to keep track of with WordPress.

So I’ll be pulling the few posts I put on both of those sites into the main blog on annathepiper.org, as well as the photo gallery plugin I’ve been playing with.

Y’all may also notice that I’ve changed the theme here to WordPress’s Twenty Seventeen theme, since I got tired of looking at Twenty Fifteen, which I wasn’t ever really happy with anyway. And I’ve put up one of my favorite pics as the header. This is my stuffed mammoth Jean-Claude, next to Andre Brunet’s guitar, as taken at Camp Violon Trad in 2017. <3

I’ve taken down the previous menu I had up, as I think about what new things I want to add to it instead. A lot of my older content on this site is stuff I don’t really want to get rid of. But I also don’t want a gigantic menu either!

Anyway. Hopefully this may lead me to actually play with this site more. Let’s see if it does!

(EDITING TO ADD: Hi Dreamwidth people! If you’re seeing this post there, this is of course me talking about rearranging things on my annathepiper.org site, not on Dreamwidth. But the extra bonus of me doing more with annathepiper.org is that you get to see it, too!)

Hiya!

If you’ve been reading me a while, you probably also know that I’m mostly a writer and a geek and an amateur musician. You may also know that periodically I like to take pictures on my iPhone.

Up till now I’ve generally posted my pics both on Facebook and on Flickr. I’ve been using the latter site in particular because while I’m active on Facebook, I also want to have a way for people who aren’t on Facebook to actually see what pictures I take.

This has been lovely up till now. The problem, though, is that as of January 2019 Flickr is moving to a model of allowing free accounts only 1,000 pictures and/or videos. My problem: I have over 1,400 photos there.

Now I have two considerations before me:

  1. I don’t quite care enough about Flickr to want to pony up for a Pro account there.
  2. I do actually have my very own web server.

So this is me playing around with using annathepiper.org as a place to archive older photos. Right now I’m using a WordPress plugin called FooGallery, which offers some really nice UI for album-creating and gallery-creating purposes.

I don’t expect this to be high-traffic. If I turn out to be wrong, I’ll have to tweak the gallery functionality accordingly, and/or post significantly smaller pics than what I can pull off my phone. (Because y’all don’t really need to be downloading full 8 megapixel pics off my phone, do you? Though if you like one of my photos and you DO want the full version, hey, that’s what Dropbox is for.)

Anyhow, let’s see how this works.

Rough test plan for my first indie SDET project

In order to keep my SDET skills active, and to have something I can point hiring managers at, I’m going to do some test projects that will use this very site as the test bed. Here’s a rough plan for how this is going to work.

Requirements

  • Using Python, write a small Selenium suite that will test dev.annathepiper.org from the front end.
  • Using Java, write a separate suite that will use standard WordPress API endpoints to verify the site.
  • Also using Java, since I did this recently in a research task at my last job, show how I’d do Selenium-based testing against the site. Use Selenide as the framework for doing this.
  • Version 1 of this project should be a BVT-level thing that will be testing basic front-end things like “are there pages?” and “are there posts?”
  • Version 1 from the API level should be essentially testing the same BVT level things, only querying via REST as opposed to hitting pages on the site.
  • Stretch goal for the front end: a test that verifies you can leave a comment on a previously existing post.

Test Environments

  • Ubuntu, since that was the environment I most often worked with in my last position.
  • Windows 10, with the Ubuntu subsystem installed.

Both of these are installed on Savah, my dev box, which dual boots between those two operating systems.

Additional tools I plan to use:

  • For the Java code, I’ll be using IntelliJ as that’s what I’m most recently familiar with.
  • Within IntelliJ, I’ll be setting it up to run the tests as a TestNG suite, but also through Maven.
  • For the Python, I will also be doublechecking if IntelliJ will let me deal with Python. If it doesn’t, I will be doing one of two things: investigating PyCharm to see if I like it, and failing that, installing Eclipse. (Eclipse was the last thing I worked with in depth for Python code.)
  • For manual verification of any WordPress endpoints I want to play with, I’ll be installing Postman.
  • I will be installing a local instance of Jenkins to demonstrate my familiarity with running automation jobs via that.
  • For Selenium server purposes, I’ll be installing Docker and the official Docker Selenium images. I’ll be experimenting with whether I will do a standalone Chrome or Firefox image, or setting up a grid via Docker-Compose. (Prior experience with researching this suggests it’ll be the latter.)

What I’ll Do With the Code

I’ll be creating the Python and Java projects as two separate repos up on my GitHub account (taking steps to make sure that any information I don’t want to reveal about account credentials doesn’t get included).

I will include documentation. And, time permitting, perhaps a Powerpoint slideshow to talk about it.

More on this as it develops!

My history with test plans

My last position was pretty standard in terms of how testing a project went. Something like this, in a rather loose implementation of Agile methodology:

  1. Project management, Dev, and QA got together to go over a project concept and discuss what it was asking for. Usually, but not always, this would involve reviewing a BRD (“business requirements document”) or a spec. These could involve wireframes from Design, actual mock screenshots, written expectations for how a thing should work, or all or none of the above.
  2. Sometimes in the same meeting, or sometimes in a different meeting, we’d discuss the logistics of how to implement the desired functionality.
  3. Dev and QA would then task out the expected work. I am familiar with using points to scope out the size of a task, but at this particular position, we mostly just scoped tasks as “this will take me X number of hours to do”.
  4. Once we had the tasks, we’d agree who was expected to perform what, and see how long it would take us to accomplish them so we could commit to a release date. Sometimes this would take us just a single two-week sprint, maybe two depending on how long Dev would need before handing off to QA.

Now, as a member of the QA team, it’d be on me to work with the expected plan for how to test things. Usually this plan would be whatever set of tasks we’d committed to for any given sprint, and we’d take care to write out within each task what the expected work would be. These tasks would often be based on the BRD of whatever we were testing.

But for larger projects, particularly ones where we’d need to pull in external help, we’d often write out actual test cases to use for reference. The tool we most often used for this was TestRail.

Why do I mention all of this?

Partly to go into a bit of detail about my most recent experience with testing, so that I can be able to coherently describe it for later interviews. But also because I want to lay the groundwork for how I plan to do a couple of test projects against this very site.

More on that in forthcoming posts.

Let’s get this party started

Last month I was laid off from my last job, where I was an SDET. As of this writing I’ve been spending the last couple of weeks looking for a new position–and as anybody who’s worked in the tech industry goes, interview loops can be pretty involved and detailed.

My problem: I haven’t been in an actual interview loop for nearly ten years. So I’m out of practice answering the sorts of questions such loops will often give you, like, say, “write me a method that’ll return the smallest integer in an array” or “given a list of input integers, how do you see whether a target integer is in that list?”

In my experience these kinds of questions are not usually the sorts of things you’d have used in an actual job situation. But when I’m out of practice with them, it means I look bad during an interview.

So this site is to help me practice my coding skills to keep them in the forefront of my mind, and to have something I can point at for the sake of hiring managers.

I’ve used this dev site before when doing dev work on my main sites, annathepiper.org and angelahighland.com. So I’ve now reset its database, and will be writing a couple of small automation suites to serve as examples of the sorts of things I did on my last position.

More on this to come!

Some housekeeping updates

Point of interest in case anybody wanders by here, since I don’t update this site very often (most of my activity is over on angelahighland.com):

I’ve done a bit of under-the-hood site maintenance, due to a couple of plugins I have been using on this site being deprecated and/or outright vanishing off of the WordPress.org plugins repository.

This has impacted three things here on the site:

One, my Contact page no longer has a form on it. But I do mention my email on that page, so if you really want to get in touch with me, you can do that.

Two, I have swapped over to using a different Flickr plugin to show stuff from Flickr. This impacts a small number of old posts here, but also my Great Big Sea Pictures. Visually, things should only look slightly different, but work the same general way: click on a thumbnail, it’ll take you over to the actual picture on Flickr.

And three, I’ve done some rejiggering of the custom code on my Roleplay Logs archive. Way back in ye olden times before this site was hosted on WordPress, I whipped up custom PHP to organize those logs and show you all the various sets of them. When I pulled the site into a WordPress install, this necessitated me taking that PHP code and making a custom plugin out of it.

The problem with this: WordPress doesn’t natively let you run PHP on posts or pages, so I’d been using another plugin to allow for the execution of that PHP on the pages in question.

However, since that plugin vanished off of WordPress.org, I felt it was appropriate to rejigger the code so that the actual site pages would no longer need PHP in them directly.

This has meant I got to teach myself how to do shortcodes today! Which basically means I still have the pages calling the logs PHP, but there’s an intervening layer now between “page” and “PHP code”. I.e., a shortcode, a short string that basically tells WordPress “okay now go find the code in the plugin that handles this shortcode, and do the right thing as a result”.

So that’s fun. :)

Anybody notice anything looking wacky, do please let me know!

Decloaking to note a few new log tweaks!

I don’t often post to this site (which would be annathepiper.org for those of you reading this on LJ and Dreamwidth) anymore, but wanted to stick a post up to make a note that I had to do some overhauling of how my RP logs archive works. That, for those of you who haven’t visited this site in a while, is this page over here. Updates to WordPress as well as the operating system on our server required me to make sure that the PHP I’ve been using to organize my logs database was working correctly.

Which I’ve done. But since I’ve also been in a mind to revisit the logs archive in general, thanks to getting caught up on the current EQ storyline and chatting with Dara and our friend James (a.k.a. Flashfire from our days on Two Moons), I found a few logs that had broken links. Those have now been fixed. I also added one new log from 2004, Meeting Akira, in which I was playing Ynderra of Lostholt meeting Akira of the Cat Elves.

The other logs I tweaked, as well as that log, can be seen as recent updates on my New Logs page.

I’ve still got a pretty sizable backlog of RP logs I never posted from assorted MUSHes. I may amuse myself with posting more.

Site update announcement

This is my official post to note that as of the beginning of the new year, I’ll be doing the majority of my posting on my other blog, which is about to shift primary domains from angelakorrati.com to angelahighland.com. This is to consolidate my posting activity, and to make it easier for people who are reading my books to keep up with what I post about.

Annathepiper.org will stay online, but future posts here will probably be much more infrequent. If I post here, it’ll be likely to be about maintenance of content here such as occasional updates to my old MUSH log archive, or other seriously niche things on my part.

For the majority of my book and music and fangirly content, though, please go visit angelahighland.com!

TechFail, December 2012 edition

Internets, I swear to gods, I am deeply grateful to have enough income to spend on Shiny Things. I DO love my Shiny Things. But wow, sometimes transitioning from one set of Shiny Things to the next is positively crazymaking!

As I’ve mentioned on the various social networks, I opted to get me a MacBook Pro rather than a MacBook Air–and among the many reasons for this was to allow myself budget to also upgrade my iPhone. The phone was still working okay, but as it was a 3GS, it was getting long in the tooth and pokey. I didn’t like the idea of being about to fall off the support queue for devices that could run current builds of iOS, and I was quite sick of the erratic performance of the 3G network in Seattle.

I swear on a stack of the complete works of Tolkien, though, that I I did not lose that phone just to have an excuse to get a new one. It was nevertheless deeply, deeply aggravating to lose my phone at work, pretty much necessitating me having to buy the new device. The old one, I note, never did make its way back to me.

Meanwhile, I got the new laptop yesterday! Which was shiny and lovely and all… but then things started getting aggravating when I tried to migrate data off the old laptop, Winnowill, onto the new laptop, Aroree. Mac OS provides a lovely Migration Assistant utility that’s supposed to let you hook two computers up and slurp data from one to the other. I had this going over an ethernet connection last night, and it was chugging happily away… until it hung at the “40 minutes left” mark.

It stayed that way for well over an hour, up until I finally decided screw it, I had to go to bed. So I put the laptops in our guest room, so that their cords would be out of the reach of the cats. And I went to bed.

Got up to discover that Winnowill’s hard drive had gone to sleep–but that when I woke her up again, she was still stuck at the “40 minutes left” mark. AUGH, I said, time to break out of the Migration Assistant and try Plan B. Aroree was happy to do this and return me to Mac OS.

Winnowill, not so much. When I broke out of Migration Assistant on that box, she froze up. I had to power cycle the box. At which point it completely refused to boot, and I got a flashing gray folder with a question mark in it. Mother Google informed me that this is Mac-OS-ese for “your startup disk has vacated the premises, your file system is fucked, and you better pray you have a good backup”.

AUGH, I said. But, my belovedest userinfosolarbird, possessor of wit and wisdom, proposed the plan of grabbing the external drive off our Time Machine server and slurping data out of my last backup directly from that. We enacted this plan. THAT worked, and I have as of this writing recovered the vast majority of my data off of Winnowill. I’m happily typing away on Aroree. There are still some kinks to be worked out, but by and large, I’m back in business.

Winnowill, though, is toast. Dara further cleverly proposed tonight that we take Winnowill’s hard drive and try to boot it in her older laptop, Kiliandra, just to test whether another computer could boot the same drive. This test failed, though conversely, Winnowill was able to boot Kiliandra’s drive. Relatedly, I had just replaced the battery in Winnowill; it was starting to bulge with heat damage. Our working theory at this point is that perhaps the battery going bad in Winnowill adversely impacted the drive, and I happened to get just lucky enough that the drive held out long enough for Aroree to show up AND for me to recover data out of my last Time Machine backup.

We have no way of knowing at this point, but that’s a real plausible theory.

And in conclusion, HOLY CRAPWEASELS, damn good thing I had a working Time Machine backup, innit?

Now to let Aroree’s first, gigantic backup (214.17 GB, baby!) complete. Then I’ll need to finish smoothing all the other little rough edges left over from the data transfer–and THEN I can get back to work.

Couple all of this with how a major project at work has been making my entire team kind of crazy, and I swear, I’ve been spending this entire week trying to remind myself that no, it is not advisable to throw ALL OF THE COMPUTERS OUT THE WINDOW. It only helps a bit that I was also amusing myself by bitching about this in French too. Because some things are irritating enough that you need a whole extra language to contain the bitchery!

Aren’t computers FUN?