Free .NET Testing Courses This Month

This month all my Pluralsight courses are available for free including a lot of .NET testing content that can help you either get started with .NET testing or level-up your tests to make them easier to read and more maintainable.

Suggested Courses

Step 1: Learn a base testing framework:

Step 2: Level-up the base testing framework:

Step 3: Power-ups to complete your test strategy

Bonus Step: Help convince your co-workers and managers to let you write tests with the Testing Automation: The Big Picture course.

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Exception Handling in C# Course Update

An updated version of my Exception Handling in C# course is now available that updates demos to to use .NET 5.

From the course description: “At the core of handling errors in C# code is a thorough knowledge of exception handling. In this course, Error Handling in C# with Exceptions, you’ll learn how to write code that can detect and respond to runtime errors. First, you’ll learn why exceptions are used to represent errors in C# and how they are organized into class hierarchies. Next, you’ll explore how to throw, catch, filter, rethrow, and wrap exceptions. Finally, you’ll discover how to define, throw, and catch your own customized exception classes and also write unit tests for exception throwing code. When you’re finished with this course, you’ll have a thorough knowledge of C# exceptions that will help you to create production-ready C# applications that detect and respond to runtime errors.”

You can start watching the course with a free trial.

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How to Make 2021 Your Best Year Ever

Happy New Year!

I think we can all agree that 2020 was one of the most challenging years any of us have experienced. Even though here in Western Australia we have been relatively lucky due to our isolation – we even had our border to the rest of Australia closed, let alone international travel… I’ve had close friends in other countries contract Covid, luckily they are ok.

One thing 2020 has helped me learn is to really try and differentiate between the things I can control and the things I can’t.

If you’ve been a reader of my blog for some time you’ll now I make heavy use of the 3 Wins Technique. I just set my 3 big wins for 2021 and what I realized was that my 2020 wins were, in reality, not things I could  control.

I’m not saying having goals that are not 100% controllable is a bad idea, for example having a general savings/investments/paying off debts goal is fine. However you don’t control interest rates or share prices for example.

I still believe the 3 Wins Technique is a simple and effective tool, this year however I am going to be more conscious of setting goals that are in my control.

As a hypothetical  example, suppose one of your 3 wins is to “get a pay rise”. This is out of your control. I know that sounds negative, but you can’t force your employer to give you a pay rise. A better goal would be something like “I’m going to learn as much as I can this year and add as much value as I can”. This should lead to the opportunity to have a discussion with your employer and show them the extra value you’ve added and talk about a pay rise. Of course the answer could still be “no”, at which point you can control whether or not you apply for jobs elsewhere – you’ll now have more skills to offer a new employer.

As another example: “get 1000 subscribers/followers on [INSERT SOCIAL MEDIA PLATFORM HERE]”. This is also not in your control. A better version: “I’m going to learn everything I can about how [INSERT SOCIAL MEDIA PLATFORM HERE] works, I’m going to learn how to create valuable content, and I’m going to cross-market my content on the other platforms”. Again, it’s about reframing what you can and cannot control.

It’s likely that 2021 will be another challenging year, but if you set your “wins” based on things you can control and work hard to make them happen, you‘re more likely to finish 2021 with a sense of achievement rather than disappointment.

Best wishes,

Jason.

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Goodbye 2020, Hello 2030

It has felt like a looong year. We have been relatively lucky here in Australia and especially so in Western Australia. We still went through the toilet paper panic, the handwash shortages, and the travel restrictions between regions within Western Australia and worldwide. Even so, with friends and family situated around the world it has been a mentally taxing year for most people. If you have lost loved ones, you have my sincere sympathies.

However, a year in the scope of a full lifetime is is merely a small fragment and what you can achieve in 10 years can be truly astonishing. The 24 hour news cycle is an even smaller fragment.

As 2020 draws to a close, ask yourself where you want to be in 2030, who you want to be with, what work you want to be doing, how healthy will you be?

As a race, humans are capable of some truly horrible things but also some truly wonderful, beautiful, awe-inspiring things and good is the norm.

As we head into 2021, I want to wish you the happiest holidays possible and for those that celebrate it a Merry Christmas.

Best wishes for the new year.

Be kind to yourself and others.

Things will get better.

Jason.

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Prevent Procrastination With This One Simple Tip

I’m currently reading Limitless by Jim Kwik and there’s an excellent  method that he outlines if you struggle with getting stuff done due to procrastination. So I though I’d share.

Generally I am fairly disciplined when it comes to getting stuff done but like most people I can find it easy to fall victim to procrastination.

Procrastination is really deferred progress for no good reason. One cause is that a task seems to big, or you feel like you don’t have the time or energy to complete the task.

Jim Kwik introduces the concept of Small Simple Steps (or S cubed).

The essence of this approach is for any task that you find you are procrastinating on, pick a small part (step) of the task to start on. The key thing is to pick a step that is so small and so simple that you cannot fail at it.

For example the task of losing 50kg of fat could be as simple as putting on your workout shoes.Don’t worry about actually going for a walk/run/workout just do the small simple step of putting your shoes on.

You can also apply this to work, for example if you have a bad quality codebase with no tests and unreadable code it’s easy to put off making it better. One small simple step here could be to add the first unit test. It could be even smaller such as add a unit test project.

I’ve applied this technique a few times since learning about it and even though it seems trivial, it does work.

If you like this technique and use it successfully let know on Twitter :)

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You Can Watch All My Pluralsight Training Videos for Free This April

No credit card needed, sign up for free now and start watching all my Pluralsight training courses for free.

Some suggestions:

C#

Testing Frameworks:

Testing Tools You May Not Know About:

Expand Your Software Development Horizons:

The following are some suggested courses on topics that may not be on your radar but that your may find interesting.

Skills Paths Featuring My and Other Author’s Courses:

If you want a ready made “curriculum” in the form of a skills path check out the follow paths that feature some of my courses and courses by fellow Pluralsight authors:

P.s. Remember to take care of yourself physically, mentally, and emotionally during these trying times.

From the Pluralsight website: "Free April is open to anyone who is not a current, active subscriber."

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New Pluralsight Course: Creating Automated Browser Tests with Selenium in C#

My newest Pluralsight course was just published and you can start watching today. Selenium is a tool that allows you to automate a web browser and simulate an end-user interacting with your web app. You can combine Selenium with a test framework such as xUnit.net to create tests that check your web app is working as expected.

Automated browser tests can compliment your other types of tests such as unit and integration tests.

From the course description: “Unit and integration tests can help you catch a range of bugs, but not all of them. Even if your unit and integration tests pass, you could still deploy your web app to production and find it doesn’t work as expected. In this course, Creating Automated Browser Tests with Selenium in C#, you will gain the ability to create tests that automate the browser and simulate a real person using your web app. First, you will learn how to set up your test project and write your first test. Next, you will discover how to interact with web page elements from your tests, such as clicking a button or typing text. Finally, you will explore how to create a suite of automated web tests that are easier to maintain over time. When you are finished with this course, you will have the skills and knowledge of Selenium automated browser testing needed to help ensure your web app is working as expected before you release it to production.”

Check out the course today and if you’re not a Pluralsight member you can currently start watching for free with a Pluralsight Free Trial with Unlimited Access .

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Do Your Own Personal Agile Retrospective

I recently started to adopt a new practice for my personal life in which when I go to bed and my head hits the pillow, I ask myself three question as I fall asleep.

These 3 questions are:

  • What’s one thing I could have done better today
  • What’s one thing I did well today; and
  • What’s one thing I can be grateful for today

I designed and worded these questions to promote continuous improvement without negative self-talk, and to finish the day with gratitude.

Notice that they all say “one thing” – this is deliberate to make the practice easy to adopt and quick to implement. The funny thing is, I usually think of a few answers for each question.

You could use this technique at the end of a work day, for example on the commute home or as you walk out of the building, to reflect on the work day or project you are working on.

Let me know in the comments if you think you’ll give this a go and what you think of the idea (personal and/or work).

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Watch All My Pluralsight Courses For Free This Weekend

This weekend (Friday 22nd to Sunday 24th of November 2019) you can watch all my Pluralsight courses for free.

You could also watch an entire skills path such as C# Unit Testing with xUnit or C# Unit Testing with NUnit.

The free weekend starts November 22nd at 10:00am Mountain Time.

Check this link for the full list of all my courses.

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One Simple Technique to Help Achieve Your Goals

As the New Year approaches and people start to comment “I can’t believe it’s November”, thoughts start to turn to New Year’s Resolutions and things not accomplished in this year.

Whilst I don’t believe in New Year’s Resolutions per se, rather I try to adopt a mindset of continuous improvement, the end of the year is a great time for reflection.

At the start of each year, I make use of the Three Wins Technique to think about 3 goals (aka “wins”) for the year.

Whether you like to make New Year’s Resolutions, use the 3 Wins or another technique, there’s one thing that a lot of people don’t seem to do…

…and that’s to write them down.

It sounds silly, “I know what I want to do next year”, but for some reason, somehow, writing down your goals gives them power.

You could write them on sticky notes and put them on your bathroom mirror so you see them every day. You could write them on a bit of paper and keep them in your wallet, purse, handbag, backpack, etc. You could (as I do) have a OneNote page for every year with my 3 Wins listed at the top with check boxes next to them.

The important thing is to write them down.

Since I started writing down what I wanted to achieve, I have achieved more. Maybe not everything, but still more.

I’m not saying “write it down and trust in manifestation”, you’ve still got to do the work, but at least start by writing down what you want to achieve.

If you think this sounds silly, why not give it a go anyway? Take your goals, write them down,and see what happens…

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