Wednesday, 31 January 2018

Looking for a cheap quick UI testing and monitoring Tool - end test and Ghost Inspector Review

Problem:  My client is looking for a simple tool to monitor a website is up and running and can run a small set of UI tests and asserts to verify it is working as expected.

Initial Hypothesis:  There are a lot of monitoring sites like uptime that meet this requirement, but I reviewed Ghost Inspector and endtest.  I am not looking to do full CI as I would look at Selenium WebDriver for an enterprise solution for UI testing.

Resolution:  Trial endtest and Ghost inspector on my O365 subscription to validate it monitors and alerts, can perform advanced logins and it can validate custom pages after JavaScript injection.  Price and feature wise both tools are pretty similar.

Ghost Inspector Initial Thoughts
Easy to use and there is a recording function for Chrome.  This review has put me off Ghost Inspector to some degree but definitely an excellent product to evaluate.
Bad review for Ghost Inspector but it does assume enterprise level UI testing more suited to tooling like Selenium.

endtest Initial Thoughts
Easy to use, setup testing in a matter of minutes, recorded actions and assertions.  The trial is limited as I could not check the scheduling mechanism, but end test looks like the ideal tool for my requirement.  Would need to go for the pro licence at $79 per month.  A simpler smaller option would be more attractive but let's see what the client thinks.

Other Tools for UI Testing:
Selenium IDE is an excellent tool for UI testing and UI automation testing.  Here is a post on Selenium I did a few years back.

qTest Explorer
This is a Manual recording and documentation tool that records browser and desktop interaction.  It's straightforward to use and great for Manual UI testing.  It is not for automation or re-running test but great if the project requires manual testing and proof.

Tuesday, 23 January 2018

Basic Branching Strategy for TFS and GIT

  • The main difference between standard TFS branching strategy is that you branch more often for shorter time periods and check in small code change units into the "Development" branch.
  • Delete the black line once the feature is complete and checked back into the Development branch.  Can easily start a new functional local GIT branch to amend the next feature.
Note: Easy to also grab a GIT local branch from the Main branch (inline with you production code base), make changes and then when checked back in they hot-fix goes into both the Main and Development code branches.

Choosing the branching strategy is normally: Release, patch or feature driven.

Visual Studio 2019, Commit code to GIT repository

Friday, 19 January 2018

Interviewing Developers, Leads and Consultants for Projects

Overview:  I look for 3 key areas: are you 1) hardworking, 2) smart & 3) do I like you.  The technical part of the interview helps me see if you are hardworking.

Budget is always a big issue, you don't want to waste your time or the employees.  Upfront, both parties need to know they are in the right space.  Also, pay, you need good quality and you don't want people shifting as most companies don't raise properly after recruiting.
Timeline, it takes time to find the right person.  And it takes time, they have notice periods, need to be to onboard/train the person, start early, for a contractor you'll need 1-2 months and for permanent it generally will take 5-6 months.
Clear Job And Expectations is key, it will help scan/find suitable candidates.  Be sure to cover KSA (Knowledge, Skills, and abilities).
Listen don't sell, I see interviewers including me selling if I like the candidate, rather listen than talk a lot.

Depending on the project will dictate the skills and experience I look for.  This post lists the skills I generally look for when hiring dev and leads for SharePoint based projects.  Firstly, I compile a list of skills for the project and ensure each developer role covers multiple areas/expertise types.  My general list is shown below.

Skill needed:
  • Azure or AWS
  • SharePoint/O365/MS Teams
  • PHA
  • TFS / GIT
  • .NET/C# 
  • WCF / Web API/ Open API / Swagger
  • SQL Server/T-SQL
  • Evening/Enterprise Service Bus
  • Entity Framework/Code First
  • JQuery, JavaScript
  • ALM, DevOps, CI/CD
  • Angular JS, KnockOut React VueJS, Other JScript Libraries
  • O365
  • Networking
  • Federation/OAuth/Security
  • Agile/Scrum
I keep a scorecard and Notes that I fill in for each candidate.  If they score too low in the technical section, I don't start the Personal section, and until I think they are a good candidate then I start the problem solving which I find to be the best indicator of if a guy is going to work out.  Looking back at a lot of developers and leads hired, the 2 critical sections are problem-solving and admits limitations (the guys that don't know when to say "I don't know" are generally a problem if hired). 

Candidate Template:  John Doe

Branding, knows SP limits excellent,
8 missed JS injection
SAML, ADFS, passive clainms and SSL
Types, S2S vs ACS, Certs, MVC app pkg
Namespaces, versions ng,
Trimming, CEWS, components, DisplayTemplates, KQL
SSRS, Power BI, SSAS, rdl, understand no depth in knowledge


Super adjusted


Admits limitations


Problem Solving:       

SharePoint Problem Solving


Smart, nice guy, super knowledgeable.  Admitted he does not know BI at all and then actually gave a solid explanation of BI on SP. 
Technical: 9
Personal: 9

Problem Solving: 8

Example qus when trying to identify a candidates strengths:
QU: Difference/compare Web Services vs WCF vs Web API
Web Services is the oldest, .asmx extension are ASP.NET Microsoft's web services.  HTTP protocol only and uses SOAP (XML).  Microsoft proprietary.
WCF was the next release and ends with the extension .svc.  Supports the following protocols: HTTP, HTTPS, TCP, Named Pipes, MSMQ.  WCF uses SOAP (XML)Complex to configure but offers flexibility.  Add REST support using webHttpBindings and then can use XML, JSON and ATOM data format.  IIS needs config change to support PUT and .. verbs.
WebAPI is part of MVC template wasn't originally.  Simple to setup and supports REST.  Lightweight and easy to setup.  Easy to consume.  HTTP protocol only. Supports XML and JSOM data format.

CSS Basic Qus (as I am rubbish, thanks to Jeff H):
QU: How can we add/implemented CSS to our pages (3 approaches)
ANS: Inline css, in the head section of the page or call/reference an external CSS file
QU: Explain Z-Index
ANS: Stack order
QU: Browser engines used
ANS:  IE uses Trident or now called HTMLEdge, Chrome & Opera use Blink; Safari uses webKit; Firefox/Mozilla uses Gecko.
QU: Explain block object positioning between: Absolute, relative and fixed. 
QU: Diff class selector vs and id selector
QU: Explain Display: None vs Display: Hidden

Template used for a Delivery Lead:



Kam Score







Programming C#



Front end/JS/HTML











Kam Score       
















Admits limitations



Problem Solving:       


Kam Score


Problem Solving



Thursday, 18 January 2018

TLS Issue - The underlying connection was closed

Problem:  I have a console using CSOM that stopped working when the TLS settings were updated firm-wide.  The communication is between the console and a SharePoint farm, using CSOM, and now it no longer works.  The event log generates the following error message on the client machine: A fatal error occurred while creating an SSL client credential. The internal error state is 10013.

Initial Hypothesis: The outbound HTTPS traffic is the issue as the error is telling me that the mistake was creating the SSL client credential.  The console runs on a web server, and the TLS restriction change has caused the issue.  This issue is that the console running can't create an SSL client credential.  The TLS change was made to the console VM and not the SharePoint farm.  Here is the PS script to validate TLS versions written by Vadims Podans.

The post below helped me query the windows web servers to check the TLS settings using PowerShell.  I believe the outbound is controlled by the inbound TLS settings.

Resolution:  Change the console to use a know TLS version e.g., TLS1.2 as shown below:
ServicePointManager.SecurityProtocol = SecurityProtocolType.Tls12;

Alternatively, revert the TLS setting in the registry. Apparently, this means your server is more susceptible to attack.

Alternatively, specify all the portocols you support from the calling client side application ServicePointManager.SecurityProtocol = SecurityProtocolType.Tls12 | SecurityProtocolType.Tls11 | SecurityProtocolType.Tls | SecurityProtocolType.Ssl3;

Read this section if you are still having issues.
Factors that Influence Settings:
My CSOM console sits on a VM that hosts IIS, so there are three components to ensure connectivity excluding networking:
1.> SharePoint Server needs to support the TLS version
2.> VM hosting my console's outbound SSL is also set by IIS local TLS settings, so if I want to speak on TLS to the SharePoint server, I also need to have SSL enabled (or registry hacked) on TLS1.2 on the IIS VM hosting my console.
3.> My Console needs to support TLS 1.2 or all versions so it can negotiate for itself.  Regedit to check TLS setting is shown below:
More Info:

Also look at this post to enforce TLS1.2


   SchUseStrongCrypto = (DWORD): 00000001
       SchUseStrongCrypto = (DWORD): 00000001