The applications in our system require a screen resolution of 1280 x 1024. They also require a certain font size for everything to work. We document these settings in our computer operator handbook. Almost all developers and testers run the application on a screen with the wrong resolution. The result is that the application operates in a degraded mode.
Recently we upgraded the development tool set, and modified our code to work with the new tools. The test team was tasked with validating that we did not break anything. As usual they were conducting their tests with the wrong screen setup. So we started getting all kinds of false positive trouble tickets. Static text on the screen was getting whole words clipped. Or sometimes portions of words were getting clipped. The test team kept concluding that we were misspelling words. This is laughable. Many times the problem tickets would come to me. The first question I always asked was about they screen resolution. And the normal response was, “Oh yeah”.
I have been pondering what the best solution to this set of problems is. Our customers almost always follow the handbook and set the correct screen resolution. So they do not have any of these problems. Perhaps one solution is to set a policy where all staff (especially the test team) needs to set their screen resolution correctly. A more dramatic solution would be for the application to refuse to run if the resolution was not set correctly. However this seems a bit extreme. The application can run, albeit in a degraded mode, when the screen resolution is not set correctly.
The best approach might be to modify the application to work correctly in any screen resolution. This might seem like a great idea. However this will take a lot of time and testing. We operate on a maintenance contract at my work. Therefore this task will effectively cost a lot of money. Our schedule is tight. And the problem does not seem that important in the big scheme of things. So I will probably not have the bandwidth to tackle this huge problem like this. But I can try to make small improvements whenever I can. That’s what its all about in the end.
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