I honestly don’t know how I managed to ever complete a software development project prior to virtualization. Although as I think about it more closely, I realize that the way I did it was to maintain a plethora of workstations, each with another O/S on it, and used only occasionally. It certainly was NOT a “green” solution. Now I carry a complete (enough for testing) network on my laptop! Using virtualization my “laptop” network consists of a WIN2003 Server, WIN2000 Server, XP Pro, Linux and XP Home. These are the O/S’s I need to test my applications with — and they are all now available to me on my Vista laptop used as virtualization host. This single source network has been absolutely key to my ability to say confidently to a customer that “It will work on …” or “I have tested it on…” the operating systems referenced. Hence my statement earlier that I “…don’t know how I managed…”. Virtualization has now been in my toolbox for close to a year (I am generally NOT an early adopter of new technology).
Of course, as with all development projects and software testing, there can be those “glitches” which plague the industry, begging for answers. There exists also those times that one bypasses (or shortcuts) the testing, as I suspect most of us who are independent developers have done on at least one occasion! I’m glad that you can’t see the egg on my face today!
I found myself so anxious to get an application up and running at a client site that I failed to follow my tried and true (..been referred to as anal) methodology of testing on all environments prior to install. Well readers, I’m sad to admit that today, October 20th, at about 10:30 AM — I got burned! What should have been a 5 minute quick update at a NEW clients site quickly (actually not so quickly as I can be stubborn at times :-), became a retreat. It seems that I failed to test their newly designed application on the operating system used by their workstations, and had not tested it as a client running at a workstation running their O/S. (Windows XP in this case).
I really have no excuse for it. Yes, I DID do testing on my existing physical network, which includes my Vista laptop and a MS Server2003 box. Do you notice the absence of WIN XP in my testing? “It works great on my network” I found myself saying as I made my retreat.
As it turns out, had I taken the time to test as I normally do, I would have discovered the error and been able to resolve the issue before going to the customer – but haste does make waste as “they” say. The cause is now determined, and I will go next week to the client and have their newly updated application active very shortly after my arrival — and I WILL remember to avoid the shortcuts the next time.