A quick look at the test team’s Learning Center

One of the notebooks that I have open across all my machines is our Learning Center notebook. This is a notebook we (the test team) uses as a wiki to track all types of information we use on a day to day basis. We have everything from archived training videos to basic tips to how to enroll a machine to get an enlistment in our projects started to detailed information about Skydrive and Office 365.

A few of these sections are worth mentioning.

The Training Videos were started at the beginning of the OneNote 2010 cycle. This was based on our developer team's "Boot Camp" mentality. When you start on the team, there is some amount of knowledge you need to get started and the quicker you can learn this the faster you can start making contributions. So the developer team recorded a set of lectures about how we sync, store data, work with the UI, etc… for new developers on the team. We took this idea and developed a set of talks about topics like how to test the different OneNote clients, how to perform code reviews and the test team naming conventions, how some of our tools are used, etc… This section has proven very useful over the past few years and we have started sharing it with partner teams.

Another section is simply titled "Newbie Info." This is set up for folks both new to our team and new to Microsoft in general. It has recommendations for how to set up your machines so that you can both complete your daily work (your "dogfood" configuration) and how to set up an enlistment machine. It also has a great set of useful command line commands that we regularly use for making changes to our test code. And it has what is to me the most useful data - a set of command lines to actually launch our tests in a variety of configurations. Now I don't need to memorize the differences between running our automation on a Windows 7 Arabic machine with 64 bit windows vs. running the same tests against an ARM based machine with Spanish support installed.

We have a whole section group with information about our tools. Some tools are very easy to use - log parsers and stuff like that. Others can be more obscure. I ran a tool against our codebase earlier this week and almost all our source files were green, but three were red. Sadly, I have no idea what green and red mean. The tool was only called "CheckIt" so that gives me no clues. I have contacted the owner and will find out what this tool is telling me and when I have that data I will update our notebook. Obviously, this tool was created by someone for a specific purpose, and I just want to document what that purpose is for the future. It was probably something that was used once and then archived in case it is ever needed again and I just want to make sure we know why we are keeping it around.

This notebook also doubles as a pretty good "test" notebook. We all use it (around 100 folks ) , it has gotten rather large over the years - near 100MB and growing, and that does not include embedded files - and we host it on Office 365 so we get coverage there. All in all, this allows us to test many different codepaths we know our users regularly hit.

Since I often get asked how big notebooks can get or how many people can share them, I thought this one little piece of anecdotal data might be interesting.

Questions, comments, concerns and criticisms always welcome,


Comments (2)

  1. Excellent idea... Using one notebook for sharing knowledge says:

    Love the idea of having one notebook to share knowledge and prepare new team members. I have tried to do something similar for my team. However, I have noticed that the uptake has not been as fast as I would like.

    On another note, I would be ecstatic if you would be able to share some of the workbook with others. What are the chances of having such a public workbook for various people to add and learn from your knowledge?


  2. JohnGuin says:

    Our notebook is shared with everyone so we can all edit it.

    What exactly are you trying to share?  Some of the notebook or all of it?

Skip to main content