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Article The Collective

How IT has changed: a KJR 21st birthday special

Article The Collective

As of July 2018, KJR has been in business for 21 years. A proud achievement given the pace and amount of change within the IT industry. To celebrate, we’re releasing some special content in a three-part series that will give you an insight into just how far we have come, and why KJR has stood the test of time…

This is Part One

Remember ‘surfing the net’ in the early 90’s?

A time when there were just 200 websites?

Dial up. 28k modems?

Mosaic. Netscape Navigator. Alta Vista?

In 21 years of KJR we’ve had to ride the waves of change that have aggravated, excited or inspired our business. Here are a few of our favourites.

Lone testing tools to a full toolbox

Before the year 2000, testing tools were few and far between. Ever the opportunists, KJR saw this problem and made some lemonade. 20 years ago, the action word framework wasn’t much more than a concept outlined in academic papers. Someone had to bring it to life. Cue KJR’s original gangsters, producing a proof of concept, some crappy code, followed by some legible code, and finally a pretty decent framework. So decent in fact, the service was used in dozens of companies around Australia and the globe. These days the service is common-place, but we like to think we helped bring it to the mainstream.

Far from one trick ponies, there’s a rumour (or a joke) going around that KJR’s Test Manager, developed in Microsoft Access, has stood the “test” of time with some code sneaking into Microsoft Visual Studio 2010. Can we prove it? Probably not.

We also had SMARTCat – proactive production monitoring tests for web applications at a time when most other offerings would do little more than ping the server. And with a slogan of ‘On the prowl’, how could companies resist?

Today, testers have a big beautiful toolbox full of everything they need, which means more people can perform the role, faster.

We’re totally Agile, right?

Well and truly a 21st Century concept, Agile as we know it in the tech world didn’t even exist when KJR was born. With the ‘Manifesto’ published by a clever crew in 2001, one of the earliest adopters of the approach in Australia was ANZ Bank in 2005. And of course, KJR was there, testing. Backed by practical experience, we wrote some of the first Agile testing courses in the country and have been teaching it ever since.

As with all things, Agile has evolved. More often a buzz word than a genuinely new way of working, we’ve seen lots of instances of FrAgile, WAgile and Sloppygile. Since then we’ve helped dozens of clients go beyond just doing “standups” and get real about agile in practical, pragmatic ways: after all, you don’t get to the key principle of working software without baking quality into the process.

“Back in my day”

If you told today’s kids that you had to deal with the blue screen of death multiple times a day they’d ask, ‘what’s a blue screen of death?!’ – a true symbol of how far technology has come in the last 21 years. And with it, the expectations of its consumers.

Although it wasn’t the first smart phone, perhaps the turning point was the release of the iPhone. At the time, if you bought a laptop then crashes, reboots, viruses, and lost work were the norm.

But when what was essentially a computer with an operating system, a screen and user installable applications appeared in the shape of a phone, people expected that it should “just work”, like all other phones. And for the most part, it did.

These days, there’s in excess of 2000 different mobile devices and at least 24 different mobile operating systems in common use. It’s a lot harder these days to make sure that everything works everywhere, but that’s what customers expect. No surprise then that there’s a huge demand for mobile app testing skills, especially automation.

Stay tuned for the next article in our 21st birthday celebration series…