really...seriously otter

In software we so often focus on the new, new products, new features, new technology. The thing is we don’t all get to work on the shiny new stuff, many of us spend a good amount of our time maintaining existing, often referred to as legacy products.

It might not always be pretty but it generates revenue and pays the bills for you and your company. You mean people still update and test desktop forms apps? Your API might not be restful, but at least SOAP sounds clean…

Say you are maintain a WCF webservice or a windows forms application and you want be an upstanding automation engineer and create some tests to cover common regression scenarios.

Here are a couple reasons a seemingly easy task may turn tough. Maybe they’ll help you set expectations or at least know other people have been where you are and sympathize.

Good Information

It’s tough to sort the wheat from the chaff. When you come across blog posts or reference material it can be hard to pinpoint when in the timeline of the technologies existence you are reading about.

You are left wondering, am I the only one still doing this? If I’m not is what I’m seeing still what is a good practice? Then if you hit snags and start looking for help in your usual places you don’t have a frame of reference for the relevance of the information. Some blog may look like its the answer to your problem but maybe you just can’t find a good guide for getting this setup. M

You start to see that most people were using some tool, but if you filter google to more current time period all links disappear or look to be from questionable sources like vendors…

Even resorting to vendor docs, you may have trouble getting access to downloads for the tools needed to support it because even they have moved on.


Researching tooling is like strolling through a graveyard. When you search Stack Overflow for your topic and find suggestions for libraries and tools you get excited and think maybe this is the one. With this tool our problems will be solved, you click the links with so much optimism.

I guarantee one these two things will happen next:

The page will not load Could be a 404 error, maybe a redirect to godaddy for hosting options or for some other reason

The latest version will be from years ago You’ll ask yourself was it so good it didn’t need more updates or did the creator abandon this project like I wish I could.

It has obscure requirements Like only running on windows XP

You end up back at my first topic if hunting around for information in a minefield.