- You can do single key presses in selenium with key-press. This is very useful in some scenarios – for example, predictive typing in search fields.
RSpec global before/after: In addition to Behaviour-scoped before and after method forms, Rspec also has global
prepend_before, prepend_after, append_before, append_after methods.
RSpec Custom Expectation Matchers: Remember that you can write your own Custom Expectation Matchers to make your specs as expressive as desired. For example:
Self-Signed SSL Cert Gotcha: Firefox and IE hate it when your Certificate Authority and Server Certificate have the same Common Name.
RailMail: RailMail “gives you a persisted view of any mail your application has sent… With railmail there is no need to set up testing email accounts while developing your application; just send out mail to any address and Railmail will capture it.” Nice…
validates_presence_of in ActiveRecord calls
blank?. This means you can use it check for dependent objects if you define
Dave asked about this, in response to my “Best Remote Pairing Settings” post (http://www.pivotalblabs.com/articles/2007/04/13/best-remote-pairing-setting), so here’s my take on it.
For audio, Skype is the best. It takes a lot of CPU though. Sometimes the audio gets flaky, but restarting it usually fixes it. Also, Skype on the mac seems to crash sometimes. Audio over Yahoo and MSN messenger is pretty bad compared to skype, I think this is because Skype’s peer-to-peer technology gives a much superior audio quality.
For video, Skype is very good, but only does 1-on-1 currently, not conference video. If you want cross-platform conference video, Yahoo video is the currently the best (only?) free option. Unfortunately, yahoo doesn’t let you resize the video window like skype does.
iChat is really nice and does video conferencing, but requires a Mac on both ends. Also, iChat seems to need a lot of open ports (see portforward.com). I still haven’t gotten around to playing with our firewall to open the necessary iChat ports. I tried ssh-tunneling all the ports listed for iChat on portforward.com, but that didn’t work.
For group conversation, the PolyCom Communicator, Model C100s, is the best (http://www.polycom.com). It works on Macs and PCs. It also has built-in echo cancellation which usally works pretty well with Skype. It also takes a headphone jack, so you can hear the room, but still let your pair wear headphones. The only downside is that the speaker is kind of underpowered, and you can’t be heard in a loud room, but unless you are talking to the entire room your pair can just wear headphones. Also, it’s hard to hear really large rooms over the polycom. For that, you can use a sudio mic (see below)
For headsets, the Plantronics GameCom Pro1 (Digital Signal Processing) is an awesome headset. It’s really comfortable, which is a big deal if you wear it all day long. The only downside is that it is USB only, which means you can’t use a splitter to
If you want to listen to a large room, and the Polycom isn’t cutting it, you can invest in a studio quality microphone, and a tube preamp. We use the Behringer Tube Ultragain MIC100 Preamp, and a nice sudio directional mic – not sure of the brand now, because I’m remote :). Just plug these into an input jack via an adapter. The main downside of this is you don’t get the echo-cancellation like you get with the Polycom, so you always hear yourself talk. You can mitigate this by putting the speakers far away from the mic, but it’s still difficult.
One other note – on MacBooks, the audio input doesn’t seem to work with a normal jack mic (non-USB). It is a dual-purpose jack or something. I’ve only had success with USB mics on my MacBook.
The QuickCam Orbit MP is a very nice webcam, and you can even move it around through software – it has little motors on it that let you point it different directions, if you have remote VNC access to the box it is connected to.
The QuickCam Orbit works with Skype and Yahoo on the Mac, but has problems with other software. The remote motor control doesn’t seem to work, and iMovie and some other Mac apps don’t recognize it.
The iSight is also a decent Mac webcam, but the resolution isn’t as good as the QuickCam Orbit, and it’s not remotely controllable.
I am a remote employee at Pivotal, so I do a lot of remote pairing, and I’m always trying new options. Here’s a quick writeup on what I’ve found to work best.
This is specifically for working over a WAN. If you are on a LAN, other options will be better (and you should just get on the same machine as your pair anyway!). Remote pairing is pretty usable unless bandwidth is causing problems. CPU also makes a big difference – performance on an iMac is a lot better than on a Mac mini, especially the 1.6Mhz mini. I’m using the term “server” to mean the machine running the VNC server, and “client” to mean the machine running the VNC client.
OSXVNC (Vine Server) with default settings. Turn on shared VNC connections if you want.
UltraVNC with the Video Driver Hook seems to work best; it’s almost as fast as Windows Remote Desktop, but it requires that you use the UltraVNC client, which is only available for Windows. However, sometimes you get screen redraw issues with the video driver hook. This seems to be due to network or CPU issues, because it works great most of the time on most machines. If this happens, you can fall back to the Tight protocol on the client.
The “WinVNC Current User Properties” I use for the UltraVNC server are:
Windows Client for server with a single monitor:
If you are using the UltraVNC windows server with the video driver hook, then you should use the UltraVNC client, with the “Ultra” encoding and 256 colors, with CopyRect and Cache encoding enabled.
If you are not using the UltraVNC video hook on your server, then UltraVNC is still a good client, with these settings:
Windows Client for a server with a dual monitor and a client with a dual monitor:
UltraVNC client has a bug where it scales, but will still not show any more width than one of the client’s monitors, even though you make the window bigger. RealVNC does not have this problem, so it’s probably a better client in this situation, even though it doesn’t allow configuration of all the above options like UltraVNC does (at least not from the GUI).
Linux server and client:
I’ve not been too impressed with the VNC linux servers or clients. They seem to be slow and crash a lot (both RealVNC and TightVNC). Your mileage may vary.
Alternatives I’ve tried and found to be inferior:
I’ve read that running VNC over a compressed SSH tunnel will help performance. However, I think with the latest VNC protocols, which already do compression, this doens’t make much of a difference.
Most of these observations are from running different clients side-by-side. They are very subjective, because bandwidth and CPU are always affecting the performance. Let me know what your experiences are, and if you have any different ideas.