Can Of Code

No video playback on Windows 10 Store Apps

I have come across this problem every time Microsoft release one of their bigger “update”.  I go to open say “Redbull TV” click on a video and normally get a generic “playback failed” error.

video app error

That’s not a very helpful error!

This happens because i’m running a “N” or “KN” version of windows which I believe doesn’t ship with media stuff because Microsoft got told they shouldn’t in Europe. Sadly to fix it you have to download a “Media pack” after each update.  A really useful link can be found here:

This lists which “Media pack” you will need for your version of Windows. Proceed to download and install the one that relates to you (installing one for a older Windows version will feel like it has installed but playback will still not work) and you should now have video playback in Store Apps.

To find out your “version” on Windows 10 go to Settings > About.

This is a nasty issue for users as the errors are useless, Microsoft keep releasing updates that remove the media pack forcing the user to re-download it again and worst of all it shouldn’t even be a thing! I hate to say it but you don’t have to jump through these hoops on iOS or Android.

Hope this helps, any questions just leave a comment.

Posted in General | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

BCS Software Testing Foundation book review

I had decided it was time to learn a bit more about Software Testing with the aim of improving my own software quality. The book I decided to read for an overview was Software Testing: An ISTQB-BCS Certified Tester Foundation guide. The book acts as a guide to a certification that the BCS offer so it would likely supply a good overview of the field.


BCS Software Testing book

This book makes no assumptions about its audience and therefore I don’t feel that you need any background in software or testing to get something out of it. If anything I was impressed at the pragmatic insights the book made, clearly showing that it had been written by people who have experience in testing within a wide range of different sized businesses. An example of this would be how the authors have awareness that the task of testing can often get passed to other members of the team when a dedicated tester isn’t present.

I was also impressed by how the book starts by setting the expectation that its impossible to catch all errors therefore its important to focus testing based on risk to do an effective job within the limited time and resources.

I felt that the book and most likely the field of software testing itself has a lot of overlap with other disciplines within software such as project management, systems analysis etc. So if you already have some background in software you are likely to be scanning through some parts of the book, although these do act as a good refresher.

A recommendation the book made which caught my eye was that it recommended external contractors for testing because of their independence from the project and team. This to me reinforced my thinking that a testing consultancy would be a great opportunity to start for the smaller digital agencies who don’t have the level of work load or resources to have a full-time or even part-time tester as part of the team.

Another important message the book conveyed was the importance of testing as early as possible suggesting that finding an error at the requirements stage is a lot more cost effective than at any later stage referred to as the “cost escalation model”.

I found it a little disappointing that the tooling support section did not give links to examples of tools that the reader could then go and investigate to get a better idea of how they work. I do understand that it might have been out of scope of the certification but I believe it would help.


Weighing in at around 250 pages this offers a good overview of testing which I would recommend to anyone in software, more so for those who don’t currently have a formal testing procedure. As a developer myself I felt it give me a better understanding of testing that I could either implement myself on smaller projects or help support in larger projects. From my own experience just knowing the difference between simply retesting something and performing regression testing has been a help regardless of the size of the project. It has also enabled me to focus on risk when decided what should be testing and how that should be tested.

I found that even with the BCS member discount, this was still way cheaper on Amazon or Wordery.

Posted in Books, General, Software | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Grunt and npm

Why Grunt?

Having spent a lot of time in Visual Studio working on ASP MVC sites I hadn’t had a chance to really get my head around the new tools around managing dependencies and running build tasks because Visual Studio does a lot of that for you, with bundling and NuGet etc.

However  work dictated that I had to spend some time working on a WordPress theme which meant leaving the comforts of Visual Studio behind.

I have come to prefer Brackets as my text editor because of its simplicity and extension support. I had plugins that would minify JavaScript when saving as well as a LESS compiler which helped automate some of the common tasks but was far from perfect.

What made me investigate Grunt properly was the laborious process I was performing to make changes to the WordPress theme. At the same time I was working my way through the new Smashing Magazine’s Book “Real life: Responsive Web Design” which included an article explaining Grunt for people like me.

I already had Node installed so I was ready to have a go at grunting.

Grunting 101

In the root folder of your project you will create a few files that will keep track of what dependencies you have added to your project as well as to tell Grunt what you want it to do.

So first off you need to get NPM up and running so we can install grunt. assuming you already have Node setup all you need to do is run in a Command Prompt from within your root folder:

npm init

This will guide you through creating a package.json which tells NPM your projects dependencies. You can just keep pressing enter to power through it.


Next up we need to add Grunt as a dependencies so we can start automating. This is once again a single command

npm install grunt --save

The “–save” flag is important because it adds the dependency (Grunt) to the package.json. This means that when someone else comes along to work on your project. they just have to type “npm install” and all the project’s dependencies will get installed.

The next step is a little annoying, because unlike NPM, Grunt doesn’t have a “init” command so you have to create a new file in the root folder called “Gruntfile.js”. Your best step next is to copy the example grunt file from the grunt website or below:

module.exports = function(grunt) {

  // Project configuration.
    pkg: grunt.file.readJSON('package.json'),
    uglify: {
      options: {
        banner: '/*! < %= %> < %="yyyy-mm-dd") %> */n'
      build: {
        src: 'src/< %= %>.js',
        dest: 'build/< %= %>.min.js'

  // Load the plugin that provides the "uglify" task.

  // Default task(s).
  grunt.registerTask('default', ['uglify']);


Adding useful stuff

The example above uses a Grunt task called “Uglify” which can minify your JavaScript. Before this configuration will work you will need to install the Uglify NPM Package.

npm install grunt-contrib-uglify --save

That should do it. Now you can run:


Grunt will process it’s config and proceed to run “uglify”. Its likely that the task failed because your need to edit the config to fit your project setup.

This is the basic workflow of adding Grunt tasks.

  1. Install grunt package using NPM not forgetting the –save flag
  2. Add task to initConfig. An example of the config is almost always included in the readme of the package
  3. Tell Grunt to load the NPM package with
  4. Add the task to the default registered task by adding it’s name (“uglify”) into the array [‘task1’, ‘task2’]
    grunt.registerTask('default', ['uglify','package-name']);

Get Grunting

Once you get the hang on of it, these tools can be extremely powerful. After a few hours of messing around I was able to:

  • Copy the files I wanted to deploy into a build folder
  • Combine and minify the JavaScript
  • Optimize images in the project
  • Deploy the output using SSH to the test server
  • Automate the whole process when a file in the source directory changes!

I will follow this blog post with a walk through of the Grunt file that handles all of this.  I hope this has inspired you to go and try out Grunt and NPM and in no time at all your be able to tell me all the cool things I have naively omitted.


Posted in Web | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment