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šŸ„§ Pie Mail - cookies and pies and everything nice šŸ„§

publishedabout 1 year ago
5 min read


Hello friend! It's pie-mail time again!

If you're like me, the last two weeks have been full of Olympics action!

The thing I love most about the Olympics is that I get to watch events that just aren't normally available to watch. Diving, gymnastics, all the track & field events - it's really exciting stuff!

It's a reminder to me that there are worlds of sport beyond the usual (for me) football and rugby league.

There's a bit of analogy to testing, too. As a tester, it's important to go beyond testing and learn about other disciplines. Knowing something about product, development, design, operations... all these things will help make you a more well-rounded tester.

Every newsletter I post links to a bunch of events that you could attend. There's a big list this week, and only one of these events is specifically about testing - but I believe all of them will be valuable.

See if you can get along to an event outside your discipline sometime soon!

Until then, here's your regularly scheduled content.


šŸŽ“ This week I learned... šŸŽ“

...about cookies in Cypress.


Cypress is very cool as a test automation framework. But, so far, it seems like a very "on the rails" experience - if you want to do things in Cypress, you need to do them the Cypress way.

Fortunately, the rails are very flexible, and you can do a lot. The documentation on the Cypress website is comprehensive too - I haven't found myself getting really stuck yet.

My problem this week though, was a test that ran the following steps:

  • In a 'before' block, login via the web UI
  • Make some API calls to set up some data
  • Browse to a page in the app and verify that an item appears on screen

When I ran the test in isolation, it passed every time. But, when I tried to run it as part of a larger test suite, it would fail every time at the second step - 401 unauthorized.


It turns out, Cypress clears cookies before every test. This is intentional - it means each test is 'clean' - if cookies aren't managed properly, you might get unexpected behaviour. (I've had this happen to me in Postman before).

My API requires a 'session' cookie for authorization. So when I run the test by itself, it still has that cookie from the login step.

But if I run other tests between the login step and the API step, that cookie is now gone - so the API call fails!


I need to manage this cookie somehow. The cool thing is, it's very easy to do - Cypress has built in functions to preserve the cookies you want.

All I needed to do is make sure the following code runs before my tests begin:

> Cypress.Cookies.defaults({ preserve: 'session'})

and my 'session' cookie will be retained throughout the tests. Nice!


āœØ Some interesting links āœØ

AI Weirdness:

One of my favourite blogs to follow is "AI Weirdness" - I've finally gotten around to reading a couple of posts.

A couple of funny ones:

ā€‹"The Bachelor" profiles generated by AIā€‹

and Startup advice generated by AIā€‹


We need to talk about testing:

A lot in this article from Dan North resonates with me. It's a good read, and he covers a lot. Share it with your teams :)


Observability in GraphQL:
My friend Nigel Sampson writes about how to do observability in GraphQL - an interesting challenge, when calls to GraphQL all hit the same url.

It's cool to see how he solved this problem!


Heuristics for effective software development:

A nice list from Allen Holub of things that make for good agile software development. Just reading through this list, I've picked up on some things my team has, and some they're missing. Simple, but really gets me thinking.


Gamify learning CSS

I love gamified learning. Here's a couple of games to help you learn CSS tools from Codepip - learn Flexbox with Flexbox Froggy, or CSS Grid with Grid Garden. Fun times!


šŸ§© Puzzle time šŸ§©

Puzzle time! ...or should it I say, pie time?

I tried to order a pie this week, from the Pie Piper.

I found a small bug with their website when trying to add a 'gift card' to my pie.

Try it yourself:


This weeks question is: Firstly, can you find a bug? Secondly, how would you report this bug? Finally, what change would you make to the order form to fix this bug?

(I'm not working for or sponsored by Pie Piper by the way. Nor is this meant to be a criticism of their website - building a good website is hard! They sure make great pies though, you should try one.)

šŸŽŖ Events coming up šŸŽŖ

Events for those of you in New Zealand:

Junior Dev Auckland meetup (Auckland, August 11)

Join the junior dev community as they hear from Lory Costa from Maker.Tech, and Blair Woods from Ambit. Lory will be sharing her experiences with Contentful, and Blair is going to give some advice about remote work. It should be a good night!


Women in tech - Bianca Andrada-Banez (Tauranga, August 12)

Bianca is the CEO of Cinch & Strike, a successful Salesforce consultancy. Head along to this Women in Tech event where she'll be sharing the story of her journey.


TalkCode - Latest and Greatest (Tauranga, August 17)

At this TalkCode event, three speakers will be sharing their adventures and learnings in trying out new technologies. Including Marco van Emmenes from LawVu talking about Unity, and Roland Rich from UBCO sharing some Kubernetes stories.

(This will be the first time I attend an event in Tauranga too - if you're at this one, please come say hi!)


The Role of QA Engineer in Modern CI/CD (Auckland, August 18)

Ministry of Testing Auckland are hosting Suraj Chande from CornerStone on Demand. He'll be sharing his experience testing in a CI/CD environment, and demonstrating some of their practices.


How to build a unicorn (Auckand, August 19)

Startup Grind Auckland will be hosting a fireside chat with Mahesh Muralidhar. Mahesh is a proven startup leader, having been part of the team at Canva, Airtasker, Simply Wall St and more. Get along to absorb some of his expertise!


Events for anyone anywhere!

The Shape of Work to Come (August 10)

Agile Wellington are hosting this online event. Judy Rees from Clean Language will be talking sharing about using metaphor to explore how teams may change in this new post-Covid world.


Machine Learning in the Real World (August 12)

An interesting session from ProductTank Auckland, that will be livestreamed too. Machine Learning is a buzzword - but it can be more than that too. This panel discussion aims to go beyond the buzzwords and dive in to how Machine Learning can really be useful for Product teams.


Ethics and Strategy (August 24)

ā€‹Two great talks for the price* of one at Product Talks in August. Tanya Johnson (Auror) will be sharing about weaving ethics into product management. Franck Bassy (Xero) will then be sharing on how to link your business strategy to your product strategy.

Both are excellent and seasoned product experts who will no doubt have some good stuff to share. Be sure to make this one if you can, or dial in to the live stream.

*is a joke, it is free event


Microservices and Security (August 26)

Sam Newman and Laura Bell will be discussing some of the pitfalls and misconceptions around security for microservices. If you're working in microservices, I think this is a must see - there's bound to be some great advice.


šŸ‘‹ Thanks for reading! šŸ‘‹

Whew! Thanks for reading, have a great couple of weeks!

I'll be in Tauranga (technically, Mount Maunganui) for a bit next week, if anyone's in the area and wants to connect, please sing out!

Take care, and reach out to me any time on LinkedIn or Twitter.


James a.k.a. JPie šŸ„§