testing – An effective way of finding regressions

There is a rather large data flow engine – more than 2000 different flow definitions of “what to do with inbound data”. The engine deals with various data formats (flat-file, CSV, JSON, XML, or even binary), performs filtering, transforms data formats, etc.

The flow engine consists of a number of libraries and tools involved in the processing. There are 3rd party ones like Saxon performing XML transformations or Jackson for JSON parsing and a variety of in-house converters, filters, etc.

Naturally, there is a need for deploying new versions of the libraries and tools (new features, security fixes, etc.). This is a risk since correctness of the processing is business-critical.

A simple tests like – unit testing the new feature, integration testing with a fixed set of input data – is not enough. There have been cases of regressions which first appeared after several days after deploy. For example, a very rare combination of numeric values triggered a formatting in a way it triggered a Saxon optimization bug which caused the formatting being omitted.

The currently employed method of testing is to compare new and current versions “online” for several weeks. It’s like adding a “copy & divert” stage resulting in processing the inbound data using both the current and the new version of a tool/utility and then comparing results. This is a very cumbersome, time consuming and potentially risky.

I’ve been thinking about a more effective way of doing this. Any ideas?

Why is Facebook marketing effective?

Why is Facebook marketing effective?

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java – Effective thread usage under blocking scenario

I have the following scenario.

I am listening file requests and when one arrives, I am starting download task in a new thread. After download task ends, a process task starts but this is important, process task must wait for download task. To do that, I can use dt_thread.join() or just stop using thread and download in blocking way. But in both cases, upcoming file requests get blocked and this turns out to be a performance issue.

I need to handle download tasks in threads but also need to ensure that process tasks start after relevant download task.

What kind of thread logic can I apply?

public void activateListener() {
    fileRequestService.listen((name) -> {
        DownloadTask dt = new DownloadTask(); // DownloadTask implements Runnable
        Thread dt_thread = new Thread(dt);
        dt_thread.start();

        ProcessTask pt = new ProcessTask(); // ProcessTask implements Runnable
        Thread pt_thread = new Thread(pt);
        pt_thread.start();       
    }
}

pull requests – Tips for more effective PR reviews

My team of 4 devs is a steward of a large UI application where on a weekly basis, at least 2-3 other teams are making changes. I am inundated daily with 4-5 fairly large PR’s, and even if they break their PR’s up, the volume is still very large. I feel like I’m either spending most of my day reviewing PR’s, or I’m not doing a through job.

Do you have any tips on making PR’s more efficient and effective in a way that prioritizes quality feedback?

dnd 5e – Does a spell cast from a Glyph of Warding with a range of Self have infinite effective range?

It is widely agreed that spells with a range of “Self” can be stored in a glyph of warding. The top answer to “What are the targeting range limitations of Glyph of Warding?” states:

That’s it: the spell is cast with all its normal statistics including range.

While the trigger of the glyph can be unlimited in range (“Trigger when I move 12,000 miles away”) the spell that is cast is cast from the gylph with all its normal limitations.

Spells with a range of “Self” do not have a numerical range limit on them, and as stated above, there is no range limit on the trigger either. So, using glyph of warding, could I effectively trigger a “Self” range spell from any distance?


Example:
I cast fire shield into a glyph of warding in my home with the trigger “When I speak the command word ‘flame on'”.

Could I then speak the command word to have fire shield cast on myself when I am 100 miles away in a dungeon, or on another plane?


tables – Most effective way of highlighting key information in a tabular format for public emergencies

With lots of government information being published and used during the COVID-19 pandemic, there is a lot of opportunity to apply effective design when it comes to infographics and data visualization. Here is an example of the Queensland Government in Australia providing a table to compare the symptoms between COVID-19, Common Cold and the Flu

enter image description here

Personally I find the use of long tables difficult for making comparisons, but much more suited to the display of data, but in this case there may be some good reason for doing so:

  1. There are three well defined conditions that people are presenting with so there are not too many comparisons across the page
  2. The information is critically important and very easy to get confused so diagrams might be less useful for self-diagnosis purposes
  3. It is easy to update or change information presented in this format

I think there are possible improvements that can be made, and I am wondering if there are examples of this type of information being published around the world that are good examples. I think improvements could include:

  • Grouping symptoms so that we can quickly see those shared by all three and those that are unique to each of the conditions
  • Ordering the symptoms in order of most common to least common
  • Provide description of symptoms rather than the use of icons, which doesn’t really add much more to the information
  • Use of colours to provide better contrast and for accessibility

usability – What is the thinnest a top bar can be for effective touch navigation on mobile devices?

We have other questions (such as this one) looking at the ideal height for a sticky top navigation bar on mobile devices. In most situations you’ll want it to be reasonably high so that users don’t have trouble interacting with it.

But some sites have a very thin top bar, where they do not expect users to need to frequently interact with them.

Some examples:

  • AMP sites have a 32 pixel top bar (which I do more frequently use because I prefer opening the original source page)
  • 4chan has a top bar of only 21 pixels

These heights are in virtual pixels, not physical pixels. For comparison, on my Android phone the top notification/clock area looks to have the same height as the AMP bar, 32 pixels.

I know I’ve visited some other sites with a similarly thin top bar, but can’t remember what they are anymore. I think 4chan’s one is probably the thinest I’ve seen though (and that may be because it’s not deliberately designed for mobile browsers?).

Have there been any studies investigating the minimum height bar which can be effectively interacted with by most users? Obviously mobile devices vary widely in screen dimensions and pixel densities, but assuming the user hasn’t set their UI settings to too small for them, are there any rules of thumb for thin bars which can be tapped on in the rare occasions you need to? Again most sites will want higher nav bars because they’ll be used far more frequently, but some sites will want to have a bar which gives the users options they’ll only want to use very infrequently and so they want one that doesn’t take up much space.

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