What it is like to be a tester on the Microsoft OneNote team and day to day life as an SDET in Office. Plus a few tips for using OneNote and an occasional powertoy.
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Using asserts to help find bugs in OneNote
Of the many different types of bugs testers find in products, "asserts" seem to be the most obvious. Vastly simplified, an "assert" is a piece of code that checks for some unexpexted condition before continuing, and pops up a dialog if those conditions are not met. A simple example would be checking...
22 Sep 2008
Top 5 OneNote tips, and a nice little win
A request I get face to face is "What is a way to get more out of OneNote?" I don't think I've ever gotten this in email - must be something about the way people interact. So after a year of using it far more than I ever did before, though, I want to share my favorite tips. If you are in a hurry, you...
24 Mar 2008
Calendar templates for OneNote
I found another blog here which showcases templates for different applications in Office. It's called (in the most straightforward naming manner I can imagine) the Template Blog and they posted some updated for year 2008 calendars at http://office.microsoft.com/en-us/templates/results.aspx?qu=CT102633041033&av...
10 Mar 2008
Some soon to be updated documentation for napkin math
I had an old machine give out on me earlier this week. The memory on it had started giving parity errors, and the hard drive finally went out completely - fdisk simply would not even run any more. This particular machine had been the machine I use to write automation scripts, so I had to recreate all...
21 Feb 2008
Automation tasks for the OneNote test team
Right now we have a little bit of spare "bandwidth" to complete some automation tasks which have been building up over the last few months. The lingo around here never lets us refer to spare time: we always call someone who has a few free hours to spare as having "extra bandwidth." Like every other job...
18 Feb 2008
Some initial results from the "Week of OneNote Powertoys"
I've heard from quite a few people already via email and comments and seen indirectly some great feedback via other blogs on the "Week of OneNote Powertoys." And as usual, I was surprised by the most popular addin: the Task Request from Meeting Notes ! I think time will show the template manager will...
18 Dec 2007
Notebook cleaner and privatizer powertoy
People that publish shared notebooks in some environments have a couple of requests which need to be addressed. First, suppose you are an administrator creating a section or some pages in a "New Employee Orientation" notebook which will be shared with all new employees at your company. OneNote keeps...
15 Dec 2007
Task Requests from OneNote Meeting Notes powertoy
The "Week of OneNote 2007 Powertoys" continues... One of the most frequent requests we hear for new OneNote functionality is "more integration with Outlook Tasks." Frustratingly, it always seems like no two people agree on what this means. A few users have wanted a method to assign tasks to others...
12 Dec 2007
Powertoys in development
I dropped a few hints last week about what we (the test team) has been doing recently. And one other hint was my lack of entries for a week in mid-November - I was on vacation. Vacation typically means long travel times, and what better way is there to fill the hours crammed onto an airplane than writing...
3 Dec 2007
Sharepoint notebook problems and another hint
One bug report we've been trying to track down has to do with sections from Notebooks on Sharepoint servers getting marked read only. One cause has been isolated, and David Rasmussen has the details here . It involves how your computer is set up to use a proxy server to make an internet connection, and...
29 Nov 2007
Two new items to track for OneNote enthusiasts
It's been very busy around here. The upside to November and December at Microsoft is that plenty of people start taking vacation time, so there are fewer meetings and distractions at work. That gives plenty of time to get caught up on all the low and medium priority tasks that have been piling up. ...
26 Nov 2007
An easier way to troubleshoot addins for OneNote
I got fed up with attaching a debugger to addins in OneNote. The typical process (as suggested by Dan Escapa) is to have your addin open a dialog when it starts, then attach to the running process while the dialog is onscreen. That got annoying rather quickly and I started to look for an easier way to...
21 Nov 2007
I had to relearn the lesson of paying attention to details recently. I was writing some code to work with OneNote's table XML via extensibility, and could not get my code to work correctly. After a couple of days of working on this in my spare time, I was just about ready to give up. I wound up in the...
19 Nov 2007
Brouhaha with verifying my math script during automation week
I tried to get my automation script for payment verification as part of the napkin math area checked in. One of the testers on my team rejected it. Here's why. First, remember the equation I was using: pmt(0.05;36;30000)=1813.033713614259 Ultimately, this is a hard coded string that the...
6 Nov 2007
My first thoughts on OneNote when I came to the team
When I first came to the OneNote team, I got sent links to no less than 15 notebooks, had my monitor "upgraded" from a CRT to an LCD, was issued a Tablet PC, had the COM API dropped on me and had to make the transition from enthusiastic user to tester on the team. One of my first tasks was to give the...
29 Oct 2007
Logs, Lns and Log10: OneNote gets it right
As I mentioned before, one of the areas of OneNote I took when I came to the team was what we call "Napkin Math." This the ability to type equations like 8-4= And getting a "4" when you press Enter or the spacebar. It also works for basic trigonometric functions like Sin(45)=0.707106781186547...
11 Oct 2007
Shared Source Object Model Update 1
I wanted to share the status of our shared object model over on http://www.codeplex.com/onom So far, we have 7 people willing to contribute in different roles. This is a great start, and I look forward to more contributors as word gets out about this project. Here's one way of looking at the...
8 Oct 2007
More lessons learned when taking notes in a class environment
I'm still using OneNote 2007 to take notes on an ordinary differential equations class I downloaded from MIT. As I discovered earlier this week, this is really a stress test of notetaking. Advanced math classes like this are not the "typical" class most students take, and most of my notes are formulas...
4 Oct 2007
Using (and testing) OneNote in a classroom
I was wondering aloud the other day about how students use OneNote in a class environment. I've heard a little bit of feedback through our newsgroup and from a few other websites like www.tabletpc.com . Nothing compares to first hand use, though, so I decided to try it out myself in a classroom setting...
1 Oct 2007
An addin to manage printouts to OneNote
I was talking with Jeff Cardon the other day about an addin I was creating to take slides decks printed to OneNote and break them up into one slide per page. He had been thinking (and doing something) about it as well, and came up with this - an addin to completely manage items printed to OneNote. This...
19 Sep 2007
A Shared Source Object Model for OneNote project
Donovan Lange, a developer from OneNote last release, started a managed code object model as a side project. He happily gave me permission to take his codebase public and release it under the Microsoft Shared Source License. You can get the code at http://www.codeplex.com/onom . And you can...
17 Sep 2007
Testing Insert Date and Time functionality
One of the areas I took over when coming to the OneNote team is the functionality that inserts the current date and/or time into a page. You can try this by typing : SHIFT+ALT +T to insert the current time SHIFT+ALT+D to insert the current date SHIFT+ALT+F to insert the current date and time...
10 Sep 2007
Make Subpage addin updated, and a Lenovo update
Thanks to a couple of testers (pebuaa and Joe), Jeff Cardon patched his make subpage addin to work in section groups. Update as of 3/12/2009 - the download link is at the end of this blog entry after my signature. I'm marking the next paragraph NA - winisp is no more... A few people have been having...
7 Sep 2007
A good bug report with the Replace the Outlook Sticky Notes folder with OneNote
One of the bugs discovered with the powertoy to start OneNote instead of opening the Outlook sticky notes folder came onto my plate looking like this: Install the addin Start Outlook Open the sticky notes folder Click the folder again Result: 2 instances of OneNote get started...
4 Sep 2007
Finding an easier way to reproduce a bug
We spent a good amount of time trying to reproduce the exact customer reported problem trying to repro the crash in the merge pages addin. Theo and I sent about 8 emails backs and forth, and three testers here donated our time to try to solve this problem. After the big clue that Theo was not seeing...
30 Aug 2007
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