VaultPress to the Rescue!

This site is hosted at WordPress.com, which means I don’t have to worry about backing up my content or breaking things. (At least not when I’m blogging — and so far I haven’t broken anything while working, either. Knock on wood!) But I also have a self-hosted site, Happy Photos, where I share photos and test all sorts of things. You can see where this is going, right?

I was doing some testing on Happy Photos earlier this week, and I managed to break something. I’m not exactly sure what happened (I think it had to do with rashly deactivating a plugin I relied on) but the end result was a broken login page.

Now, a broken login page isn’t the end of the world when everything else still works. My site itself was still running and I had access to the dashboard. So I was ok. And then, for some completely unknowable reason, I had the bright idea of logging out.

No more access to my site’s dashboard.

Thankfully, I had some other options. My site uses Jetpack, including Jetpack Manage, so I could update the site and even manage the plugins directly from WordPress.com. And I had FTP access to fall back on. Unfortunately, none of the fixes I tried worked … at all. Plus, I was feeling a little impatient to just get back in there. So I turned to VaultPress.

VaultPress is another Automattic service, and I spent a few months last year learning the ropes and providing support for it. In a nutshell, VaultPress provides backups and security for self-hosted WordPress sites. And ever since last year I’ve been using it to back up my self-hosted sites. So tonight I logged in, chose a backup from a couple days ago, and hit the restore button. A few minutes later, this glorious screen appeared:

VaultPress to the rescue
You don’t actually have to keep your browser open during this process, but I couldn’t look away. As soon as I got this success message, I pulled up my site — and there it was, login page and all!

To all of my incredible coworkers and Safekeepers, thank you. You give me the courage to go on testing and breaking things without fear.

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Using WordPress. On Android. On a Mac.

I recently read an article on The Verge about how you can run Android apps on a Mac (or PC) using Chrome. That was all the invitation I needed to try it out. So off I went to find the three things I needed:
1. An APK
2. A PC, Mac, Linux, or Chromebook on Chrome Version 41+.
3. The ARC Welder app

I have a Mac, and you can download the ARC Welder app from the Chrome store, so all that was left was the APK. I’ve never owned an Android device, so I wasn’t sure what an APK was, but I assumed it was some kind of file type for Android apps. (It turns out APK stands for Android application package.) The article I read said you can get APKs from the Google Play Store, but I didn’t have any luck finding them there. Luckily, I had another idea.

I was most interested in testing (maybe you guessed already) the WordPress app. Since it’s an open-source app, I headed to the WordPress Android app repo on GitHub. There’s a release page there where you can download the APKs for all of the previous releases. Bingo!

After installing ARC Welder and adding the WordPress APK, the app fired up and I was ready to go. Easy peasy. The biggest challenge now is figuring out how to interact with a touch app on my laptop. For example, I have to tap twice to paste, rather than using a keyboard shortcut. But it’s really fun to explore the app this way, especially as it’s my first time interacting with the WordPress Android app (which is a bit different from the iOS app that I use on a daily basis).

And here I am, composing my first blog post on the app. Pretty neat. 🙂

Testing as Exploration

In the beginning, there was testing.

Thus begins James Bach and Michael Bolton’s essay on Exploratory Testing 3.0. The point they make is that, at the start, there wasn’t a clear distinction made between exploratory testing and automated testing. It was only after the rise of automated, scripted testing that the term “exploratory testing” came about to define human, interactive, ad hoc testing.

Bach and Bolton describe the evolution of exploratory testing over time. They note how the concept of agency came to characterize exploratory testing as opposed to scripted testing, and how they eventually decided to do away with the distinction altogether. That is, their new definition of testing is not exploration versus scripting — it characterizes scripting as just one technique through which we can explore and test our software:

Testing is the process of evaluating a product by learning about it through exploration and experimentation, which includes: questioning, study, modeling, observation and inference, output checking, etc.

As someone who loves tinkering with, exploring, and trying to break new things, I wholeheartedly support that perspective.