Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Four Quick Questions While Testing

This is a quick post in between a testing session. Right now I am testing www.ibibo.com and they have a 'Friend Suggest' feature where ibibo suggests friends for you.
Here is the screenshot from ibibo.com
Friend Suggest
I assume that friends are suggested based on some algorithm. The number of mutual friends is also highlighted.
I clicked on 'Add as a friend' against one of the profiles displayed. A popup was displayed.
Once you click on 'Add as Friend' link
While it is good to inform the user about an action he performed, as a user I was not able to perform any other action till I dismissed the popup by clicking on the OK or close button.

Compare that to what Facebook does. Even Facebook has the Friend Suggest feature by another name: 'People you may know'.
Facebook Friend Suggest

Once I clicked on 'Add Friend' link, the particular profile slowly disappeared after displaying 'Friend request sent'.
                                                          
Do you see the difference? Is there a problem here?

After this observation, I made some notes. Few questions which helped me find a problem were:

* What is the purpose of the feature?
* How will the users use it?
* Are there any problems in what you observe? Primarily any inconsistency or usability issues?
* Have you seen such a feature elsewhere? Comparable products heuristic?

Let us go through each of the questions in detail.
Purpose of the feature
As a tester, do you understand the purpose of the feature. What problem does the feature try to solve? As the product is a social networking site, more the friends, the better. The feature is trying to help you add friends. In the case of ibibo, does it really help?

Users using the feature
As a user, is it easy to understand the feature? Is there help available? Is it user-friendly? Can the user use all the feature's functionality? How is the first impression? Is the feature easily visible or hidden behind a lot of junk?

Usability Issues
This morning, I read the latest blog post by Michael Bolton - http://www.developsense.com/blog/2011/12/why-checking-is-not-enough/ on why checking is not enough.
I am not sure how a check might find the level of user's frustration or happiness.
When I was not able to click on any other link till I dismissed the confirmation popup, I was slightly frustrated.
Confusion, frustration, delight and other emotions - how will a check handle it?
As a tester, are you aware of your emotions when you test, after the tests?

Comparable with similar products heuristic
Finally, as a tester make use of the similar products heuristic if given a chance. Just as I write this post, I hear the dialogue from 'First Blood II' - Mind is the best weapon.  So true.

Maybe, next time too - I will use the four questions as a quick heuristic.
What is the purpose, who will use it, any usability issues, how the competitor handles it?

Leia Mais…

Friday, November 18, 2011

Release of my ebook: "What If... : 50+ tips to win testing contests"

October 16th, I released my first ebook titled - 'What If...'. It is a collection of tips on software testing. Thanks to everyone for your wishes, more than fifty copies were sold.

This sunday - Nov 20th, I am releasing my second ebook titled -
"What If... : 50+ tips to win testing contests"

Contents page

What is this book about?
This book is a collection of tips which might help any tester competing in a testing contest. Testers are under tremendous time pressure and the competition is tough. Skilled testers have a better chance of winning the contests. After participating in a number of testing contests, I realized that it is easy to win any contest if you dedicate some time and demonstrate the right skills. In this book, I have tried to highlight few points which will improve your chances of winning the testing contest.

As seen in the image above, initial chapters focus on test environment, test planning. Then the focus shifts to bugs - finding important bugs, bug reporting and finally learning from the testing contests.

Just like my first book - "What If...", the tips are short and to the point. Focus is on ready-to-use tips. Hope you enjoy reading the book and win many more contests.

How can I buy your books?
1. Please transfer INR 200 to the following bank account.

Account Details:
AJAY BALAMURUGADAS
Account No: 00531610015960
Bank: HDFC Bank 
IFSC Code: HDFC0000053

If you are using Paypal, please transfer USD 4.5 to ajay184f@gmail.com

2. Once I receive the money, I will email you the book.
Any questions, feel free to email me at ajay184f@gmail.com

Do I get any discount?
Buy both books at INR 285 or USD 6.0
If you have already bought the first book, please pay INR 160 or USD 3.5

Special Thanks to
Praveen Singh - Director of www.99tests.com for founding 99tests. It is an excellent platform to participate in testing contests and learn from other testers. I learn from every contest at 99tests.

Friends who helped me review the book:
It is a tough task to review any book. Alek, Bernice and Elena helped me by reviewing the entire book. Thanks to them, I am able to release the book on time.

Hope this book helps you win at 99tests and many other testing contests.

Leia Mais…

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Release of my ebook: "What If..."

Today is a special day. It is my mother's birthday.
To celebrate the birthday, I released an ebook :)
  

About the book:

This ebook is a small collection of my experiences in software testing. In 2006, I started my career as an Associate QA Engineer. Straight after my college, I dived into this job with a lot of energy. The entire corporate world was new to me. I was not aware of the term ‘Software Testing’. After three weeks of training sessions, my first task was to execute the test cases. As you read these words, I have completed five official years of testing software. When I logged my first bug, I thought – ‘What if’ this bug was found after release? Years passed, many products were released, and I gained a lot of varied experiences.  

I made a few embarrassing mistakes too. There were few instances where I wished that someone had warned me beforehand. So, I started preparing a book of tips targeted at software testers. Special care has been taken to keep each of the 22 chapters short and to the point. Emphasis is on ready-to-use tips which would give you instant results. I do believe that there is no single best practice which would suit every context. Being a student of context driven testing community, I agree that there are good practices in context, but there are no best practices. This book is heavily influenced by my experiences with industry experts, reading books, testing software, talking to customers, end-users, support team, testers, programmers and their managers. Do let me know if you have a topic in mind which I have not covered. 

How to buy the book:
2. Buy the book. You may need to create an account [Less than a minute!]
3. Take a screenshot from the payment history page and email to ajay184f@gmail.com. I will immediately email you the book.

NOTE: Anyone with a valid credit card can buy this book even if you live outside India.

Jumadi.in accepts credit cards, debit cards, net banking.

How can I buy your books?
1. Please transfer INR 125 to the following bank account.

Account Details:
AJAY BALAMURUGADAS
Account No: 00531610015960
Bank: HDFC Bank 
IFSC Code: HDFC0000053

If you are using Paypal, please transfer USD 2.5 to ajay184f@gmail.com

2. Once I receive the money, I will email you the book.
Any questions, feel free to email me at ajay184f@gmail.com

Do I get any discount?
Buy both books at INR 285 or USD 6.0
What this book is NOT:
This book is not THE book on software testing. If you want to know in detail about any topic, this is not the right book. In fact, I have recommended other books in my book. 

What do other testers say about this book?


Bernice

I recommend Ajay’s e-book “What If’” for anyone who is new to software testing as it provides many valuable tips in how to approach testing situations from a tester’s real-life experience.  This e-book is also valuable to more experience testers who may learn about new tools and techniques such as mind-maps and alternative ways of sharpening testing skills such as competitions and weekend testing.  This e-book is not only packed with tips but also many useful links for further learning opportunities such as books, training                                                         courses, articles, and much more!
Bernice Niel Ruhland
Software Testing Manager for a privately owned software development company


Alek
Ajay writes I wished that someone had warned me beforehand. I can't agree more I wish someone gave me the book of tips about software testing on the beginning of my career or at least taught me to use "what if" question more often. If you aim at skills improvement in software testing and you want to find out the ways you can do this, I strongly recommend this book.
Aleksander Lipski




Huib
With this ebook Ajay helps the testing community with some great checklists in a FAQ-style. "What if" helps junior testers to get up to speed in testing more easy but it is also quite useful for experienced testers. In this short and to-the-point ebook, he covers some important topics for software testers who want to learn! A quick win is in there for everyone!
Huib Schoots


Elena

I wish I had this quick reference book when I first started testing. It would have saved me from a lot of growing pains. It is an easy read and a tremendous resource of useful information and tips that any testing professional can benefit from.
Elena Houser


At this moment, I need to thank a few people.
My special thanks to 

My parents, my sisters and my grandparents.
They make sure there is no disturbance to me. They take care of my needs, stay awake even when I return home late and save money for me to spend on improving my skills.

My friends.
I have learnt so much from each of the interactions with testers online. Thanks to each of my friends who have constantly exchanged ideas and helped me learn new things. Thanks to Eveline for patiently listening to me every time I talk. Special thanks to three friends - Narendra, Vinay and Praveen for being the '3 Idiots' in my life.

My office colleagues.
They have always helped me whenever I wanted to test a different software. It is a cool experience to test different software and thanks to my colleagues and managers who have always helped me.

My friends who reviewed my book.
From the moment I started writing the first chapter till the last moment, Shruti always encouraged me, constantly reviewed the book and provided the comments. She is a good friend of mine who does not hesitate to critique and help me.

Thanks to Miagi-Do school members who have spent their valuable time to review my book. Special thanks to Alek, Huib, Elena and Jeroen.

My sincere thanks to Satish from Jumadi.in for listing my book and helping me launch in time for my mother's birthday.

Hope you like the book :)

Leia Mais…

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Vote for Cartoon Tester Today!

1. Browse to http://eurostarconferences.com/content/teamstar-2011.aspx
2. Click on the link 'Click here to vote' and enter your email id.

3. Click on the Register button once you enter your email id.
4. Vote for 'A License to Test' video.
5. Complete the question, captcha, click on Submit and send the link to your friends.

Leia Mais…

Sunday, September 25, 2011

100 days to 2012

At the beginning of 2011, I posted about my goals for 2011 here. I was very eager to complete the year on a high and make this the best year. There was enough planning. As it often happens with me, I was able to successfully meet some of the goals. I started working towards some goals and I added few more *NEW* goals and pursued them.

Today, I look back at the months gone by and count the days to 2012. I am trying to assess my performance this year. I am happy to say that I have met the expectations even though I could have exceeded my own expectations in some other way.

To start with January, I started reading the books mentioned for January. I learnt a very important lesson from this experience. I could not finish a book in one go. I needed 2-3 months to fully absorb a book.

Though I felt that I was on track for most of the year, I achieved a lot more which was not present on the Goal Chart.

I participated in http://www.99tests.com/ contests and was in top three in most of them. I added few more books to my collection.
Books in my reading list

2011, I was thinking of not attending any of the conferences and I ended up presenting at THREE conferences!

First of them was at Chennai - BugDeBug conference:
Resources to help a tester
Then I presented at STEP - AUTO conference at Bangalore. 
Summary Slide of my presentation
Finally, my dream came true. I met the Bach Brothers and Matt Heusser in person. I met all my online heroes and friends in person. I was at CAST 2011. I presented at CAST 2011.
The Bach Brothers' Award
Then I had the opportunity to present a webinar for EuroSTAR 2011 and the topic was
'The Joy of Weekend Testing Facilitation'

Weekend Testing Facilitation
I wrote articles for Testing Planet and Testing Circus.


The latest was the mindmap to EuroSTAR 2011. As the Country Ambassador, I presented the following mindmap:


And finally, here I am - analyzing how the year has gone by so quickly.
Close to 100 days and I am focussed on just one book for now
THE CODE

Lets meet in 2012.




Leia Mais…

Friday, September 16, 2011

Have you registered yet? 
Don't miss the Early Bird Discount!
Click here to register.
Also, Group booking details can be found here

Leia Mais…

Saturday, August 20, 2011

I am in love with you!


Lost in your steps - I realized the severity, tried hard to reproduce but you were developed by someone else. What could I do?

I cannot remove you from my memory, you have been saved as a known issue. Just wondering if I should let her know about you because she is very tough on those who bug me... I want you back in my life... I want you to get fixed and come clean to me...

I searched for you in my entire system but you hid so well... I cried & cried, fought for you in the bug triage, went back to my old system to retrace our sweet memories but no use... You taught me the value of patience and observation. I stayed awake whole night waiting for the one call, one message but your new partner took away all your attention. I am a stranger to you now...

Remember the first time I saw you, the first screenshot I took, the first letter I wrote to your developer?
Why me dear? Why me???? Come back please!

I'm sorry dear. I should not have shouted in front of everyone. I realize that mistakes happen by everybody. Next time, I will not stress your system, I will not make you run so fast, I will give enough memory, enough hard disk, but give me just one more chance!

I can't spend my weekend without you. If you want, I am ok to meet all your relatives. I am spending time reading our old conversation logs, the tickets we bought together,,, please onde ondu salla plz (Please Only chance please).

thank you so much friends. She came back to me this morning. Her developer fixed her thoughts on me & made me understand the importance of Dev relations. She is going to introduce me to her relatives today. Nervous & excited at the same time. Its going to be a great weekend! :)

Leia Mais…

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

CAST 2011 - Tester Competition - Miagi-Do School Team

After Part I and Part II , here is the blog post about the CAST2011 Tester competition.
On Day 1 - Aug 08th evening, there was a testing competition for four hours from 06:00 PM to 10:00 PM US time. After the awesome sessions the first day, it was time for some fun. And how do testers have fun? Testers have fun by competing in a testing competition.

As I belong to the Miagi-Do School, all the students of Miagi-Do formed one team. There were few other testers who were not part of the school also joining us. So, the team members were: Matthew Heusser, Markus Gaertner, Michael Larsen, Adam Yuret, Elena Houser, Justin Hunter, Simon Schrijver and myself. We were never in chance of winning the cash prize of $1401 as Matthew Heusser was one of the organizers. And still we wanted to participate in this contest. We wanted to test as the Miagi-Do school team!

06:00 PM - Setting up and Learning the Application
As we had more Mac machines than Windows and the application to test was a Windows app, we paired. Michael & Matt, Markus & Adam, Justin & Simon, Elena & myself formed different pairs. The first half an hour was very irritating. The app was close to 19 MB and the network speed was too slow compared to the usual speed. Close to 50-60 testers were accessing the same link from the same hall! I and Elena had USB and we got the app downloaded on them and passed to others in our team. By that time, Michael had already downloaded the app. Then we started to play around, learn what the whole app is about, read the document which came along with the installer. Some clicks here & there, there were few Access Violation errors displayed.

06:45 PM - Calm planning amidst chaos 
Markus takes the lead and brings some calm amidst the chaos. Justin points that instead of everyone testing in their own way, we could have a plan of attack. Markus brings the flip charts to play. After our initial testing, we set ourselves a time limit of 20 minutes of testing sessions followed by 5 minutes of de-brief. The first few sessions were interesting - everyone took different features and going was smooth. The bugs were found and it was time to log them.

07:30 PM - A bit disconnected but focussed on testing
I can't speak for other pairs but our pair (Elena & myself) found some cool Access Violation errors. By this time, we found 3-4 errors. They were not easily reproducible but popped up now & then. After spending close to 40 minutes, we wanted to nail the errors. We also went to the developer who was also in the same room and asked him if he needed exact steps or just the error logs were sufficient. He was happy wit the error logs and the screenshots.

08:45 PM: Bug reporting in full flow
By this time, we had captured most of the bugs and we decided to log them. We had to upload the screenshots, video and the error logs. All these had to be zipped and uploaded. We tried uploading them to the specified location but it failed twice. Sometimes it displayed 90% uploading and then failed. Then I thought of uploading them to my most trusted friend - Dropbox. All the zip files were dropped onto my account and the link was shared. We felt happy that we overcame the link barrier.

09:30 PM: Test Report & Bug Hunting
Matt, Markus, Justin & Adam were busy with preparing the final test report. Matt asked me to report the bugs on the typewith.me document too from which he would consolidate all the bugs in the final report. We were busy logging bugs and did not update the document. In fact when the team was busy adding sections to the final report, Elena & I were still hunting bugs and reporting them.

What did I learn:
This team rocked! Everyone took a considerable amount of tasks out of the final list of tasks and contributed equally to the final test report. The testing coverage in terms of the different features model was also very good. During the de-brief, each pair picked up something new. Sometimes, if they felt that a particular area needed more testing, they continued. The approach was fantastic - 20 minutes of testing followed by 5 minutes of debrief was very effective. With such a big application to test, that was a very good approach to gain coverage and reduce redundant testing.

I liked the way Markus used flip charts to record during de-brief. The flip charts helped a great deal at the end as we were the only team with good flip charts highlighting test coverage. Those also helped in the preparation of the final test report. I liked how Matt organized the final test report. He gave us simple instructions  - update the typewith.me and he would take over. I liked how Michael picked up the areas left by others for further investigation and filled the gaps. Markus was too good organizing the entire de-brief. Justin was cool with the mind map. Simon, Adam helped with the final test report. Elena was very helpful in paired testing especially the bug investigation for the Access Violation errors. She helped me use Jing (which I had never used before). Me & Elena were also talking with the developer asking if some of the bugs we found were useful for him.

The four hours were very exhausting. It was like an extended weekendtesting session. Being used to the weekendtesting sessions, I was kind of used of competing in these kinds of hectic testing environments. I learnt a lot about team co-ordination, organizing testing & de-brief sessions. I learnt how to prepare a test report for such a project quickly.

And finally, the next day - Matthew Heusser promoted Elena Houser, Michael Larsen and myself to the next level - Black Belt in the Miagi-Do School of Software Testing. That was a proud moment. I am waiting for the next testing sessions to demonstrate the learnings from this tester competition.

Leia Mais…

Sunday, August 14, 2011

CAST 2011 - First Impressions

Preparation for CAST 2011 blog post is here.
Continued here...

Aug 07th  09:00 pm US time: 
I finally reached Seattle after a long flight journey. I was tired. I wanted to go to Courtyard Marriott hotel and on inquiring, I found that it would cost close to 200 USD for a cab. I wanted to board Shuttle Express as per Lanette Creamer. And the cost was just 26 USD. After a journey close to 1 hr, I reached the hotel.
At the hotel lobby, I found Matt Heusser, Lynn McKee and Nancy Kelln. I was sharing the room with Michael Larsen. When I went to the room, he was awake even though it was close to 10:30 pm US time.

Aug 08th  - Friends meet!
Michael & me went down to the hotel lobby and we met Markus Gaertner, Michael Bolton, Matthew Heusser and few other testers ready to walk to the Lynnwood Convention Center. After close to five minutes of walking, we reached the hall. We were at the registration desk of CAST 2011. I saw Jon Bach talking with  a tester. The moment had arrived. I shook hands with Jon and proceeded to the registration desk. I collected the T shirt, conference kit from Dawn Haynes and saw Sajjadul Hakim busy with his laptop.

I saw James Bach, Anne-Marie Charrett, Adam Yuret, Lanette Creamer, Carsten Feilberg, Simon Schrijver, Fiona Charles and Pete Walen. I was so happy. As Jon Bach said: "It felt like a big party". All the online friends I had were in the same hall as me. The day started with Jon, James welcoming everyone and Michael Bolton's keynote. There were no slides as there was some problem with the laptop/projector combination. I remembered my dream :)

Michael Bolton's Keynote
A keynote without any slides. Michael once again highlighted the CBC show - Ideas and the 24 part series of "How to think about Science"
Notable quotes were:

  • Decisions about quality are political and emotional.
  • Shake the constraints. Refuse to accept the apparent constraints.
  • Testers know that things can be different.
What if there is no time to find all bugs?
We find the important bugs.
What if there is no time for that?
We would conduct a Risk-Analysis.
What if its wrong?
We also take an approach which considers non-risky areas. We will learn from mistakes.

Do we accept failures? No, we accept reality!

We testers discover how the product actually works. We do not confirm that it works.

Acceptance of the reality is maturity. We need to remain skeptical [Rejection of certainty]
Michael also highlighted that testing should focus on human values. The document by Dr. Cem Kaner can be found here. Testing as social science provides partial answers which might be useful.

Michael recommended the study of Philosophy, Epistemology, measurements. Testers should be able to tell both the testing story and product story. We need to be beware of bogus metrics. Also, testers need to be aware of Safety language. There is a difference between "It seems" and "This is". It is important to recognize the difference between observation & inference. "The vs A" problem was also discussed. "The terrible problem" sounds so different from "A terrible problem". Heuristics play an important role in a tester's life. We need to learn & unlearn rapidly. Every minute of the keynote was filled with great learning moments!

Troubleshooting Skills by Chris Blain
After the keynote, there were few RED cards flashing across the hall. There were K cards being used to facilitate the discussion. My cards were numbered 186. After the keynote, it was time for some fruits and the track sessions. I attended the 'Troubleshooting skills' session by Chris Blain. I did not attend Markus' session as I had already seen it at EuroSTAR 2010. Troubleshooting skills are important specially when you do bug advocacy. Chris Blain pointed that as testers, we should not take anyone's words for granted. We should work on improving our skills by learning a range of systems. Systems thinking, modeling, thinking from different perspectives and asking lots of questions to gain information might help troubleshoot better.

Multiple tools like the Process Explorer, Visual Studio, WinDBG, Registry Viewer, DTrace, WireShark, Fiddler, ChainSaw, Log Parsers were highlighted. Some interesting stories like the accidental shaking of a wire causing static electricity and a bug was narrated. When I asked about the books, he highlighted the 'Advanced Windows Debugging' by John Robbins. Chris asked us to be aware of the cultural differences too in troubleshooting.

Weekend Testing presentation by me
After lunch, I presented about Weekend Testing As I had dreamed, there was no laptop and I had to borrow James Bach's laptop. Though I logged in to dropbox and clicked on download against the presentation, it failed to download. I soon realized that creating a rule made the download possible. All set, I entered the room. There were close to 15 members in the audience. I was happy to have James Bach, Michael Bolton, Jon Bach, Michael Hunter and Michael Larsen along with Elena Houser in the audience. Every time I present about Weekend Testing, some titbits which were never shared before come to light. After close to 40 minutes, many questions were asked. One of the question was what is required to participate in the session. I told that as long as a tester has passion, skype and knows english, he can participate!

Jon Bach highlighted how weekend testers tested eBay and helped him gain more information to his questions.      He facilitated few sessions with missions on eBay and those were really useful sessions to the weekend testers. Michael Larsen, Co-Founder of Weekend Testers Americas highlighted how weekend testing was a different experience from a facilitator's perspective. Jon, James, Michael liked my presentation style. I was happy to present at CAST :)

Presenting a Compelling Testing Story by Benjamin Kelly
Ben started with a video of a movie and how a junior finally convinced his senior to agree to his views.
"Give compelling reason to take specific action" was the lesson.
He narrated his story where he and his team presented a 15 page report to the senior management. Whenever the management asked if there was any problem, he replied that nothing more than what was present in the report. The Green flags of the project slowly turned to Red. When management was shocked, Ben was even more shocked. The reports were never read! Ben realized that he had used a wrong medium and a wrong format to present the report. The manager was not willing to spend so much time reading the 15 page report.

People do not respect your testing if they don't like your test reporting. As testers, we need to present the test reports in formats which is appreciated by the stakeholders. He highlighted the different ways how we format information - verbal, written & visual. Ben started with Modeling. Asking questions helps gather information and understand what stakeholders want.
Questions like - What would describe project success, what should happen to achieve project success, what might look like failure, what are the most important aspects of the project to each stakeholder help bring every stakeholder to a single page.

Meta modeling - model of model was also highlighted. As testers, we need to compare our meta models to the models of the stakeholders. What is different, what they don't know and learn what they tell you?
Once we learn about the different models, Ben moved to Reporting part!

The two types - Push Reporting & Pull Reporting was described. Mike Kelly's MCOASTER heuristic was also recommended for effective test reporting.
Pull reporting is when someone asks you for a report. If you are not comfortable, ask for time, Ask for clarification if it helps. There is no point in giving a wrong report without understanding the exact questions.
Push Reporting is when you provide information. The most important aspect is that the audience is briefed. Ben suggests that you as a tester take time to ensure that your audience is briefed. Examples are bug reports, critical bug discovery and risk report.

Prepare, know the purpose, have the story, know the model of audience, understand the difference between your model & the audience's model. Also, pay attention to the audience's model of you. Speak the language of the audience!

The next blog post is about the CAST 2011 tester competition.

Leia Mais…

Preparation for CAST 2011

Dec 2010: I was happy when James Bach asked me on Skype if I was interested to be present at CAST 2011. I asked for 1-2 days time and accepted the invitation. I got a speaking slot and Weekend Testing was the topic James wanted me to present on.

I started saving money for this trip. Though the conference fees was waived off, I had to cover the travel, accommodation costs. I knew that it is worth spending 2500 USD for CAST 2011. My mother and few friends thought that I was crazy.

June 2011: I applied for VISA and there were no dates available for VISA interview at Chennai. I had to wait for few more days. The date slots opened and I selected the first date available - July 13th. I had to be in US by Aug 07th and the visa interview was scheduled on July 13th. All the forms were filled & submitted.

July 13th 2011: Visa interview
Few questions were asked about the conference, my company, why my company i snot sponsoring, why am I spending so much, when will I return and so on. Then why did I go to Vietnam & Germany were also asked. I was granted visa. I was very happy. Finally, I could meet the Bach brothers and my first hero - Matthew Heusser.

Aug first week:
I polished the slides, added/deleted few slides and sent the dropbox link of my presentation to James & Jon.

Aug 05th dream:
I had the dream that just before my presentation, the slides were corrupted. James, Cem told me that such things happen and asked me to download again. I accessed dropbox website and found a totally new GUI. Quickly, thanks to some exploration - I found the slides and downloaded them. In between James asked if I really needed the slides for my presentation. I replied with a big NO. I woke up smiling.

Aug 05th 2011 will be a special day. Reason: I got the award: "The Bach Brothers Legion of Testing Merit" http://www.satisfice.com/blog/archives/591

Aug 07th Flight
The flight was at 04:00 am IST from Bangalore to Dubai. I left home at 12:05 am on Aug 07th and reached airport by 1 am IST. Very sleepy, getting ready for the long flight journey.

Leia Mais…

Friday, July 8, 2011

Dropbox: I love you

Being a tester, I like to test many applications. This exercise also helps me in choosing a product for the weekendtesting sessions. Over the last two years, I might have installed more than a hundred applications. I would download, install, test, retain it if I like it or uninstall after few days.

There are some applications/tools which have taken a permanent place in my toolkit. Today's post is about one such application and it is Dropbox.

What is Dropbox and how is it useful?
It is a free web based file hosting service. Once you install Dropbox on any computer and save files in the Dropbox folders, they automatically are backed up on Dropbox website. If you want to access the same files on some other machine, install Dropbox on that machine. If the Dropbox service is running on both the machines, any files you modify on one computer gets automatically synced and saved on both the computers and on the website too. You no longer have to copy folders/files from one computer to another. Let Dropbox do its job and you concentrate on the files.

Usefulness:

  • Backup feature: Every file you edit is saved on the Dropbox website too. 
  • Online availability: Forget your test machine, personal machine and all the different machines you use to test. Be assured that your files are always available online.
  • Freedom from emails, USBs, CDs: Are you in the habit of emailing yourself copies of the document every time you edit and switch to a different computer? Do you carry a device with the data everywhere you go? Dropbox solves it. 
  • Sharing feature: Do you share files with your friends a lot? You don't want to spend on the upload/download charges and make it a simple process to share? According to me, Dropbox solves it in a matter of few clicks.
  • Accidental Deletion: Did you delete the files by mistake and work on them from scratch? Dropbox saves even the deleted files and you can RECOVER them easily!
  • Free upto 8GB space! When you install, you get 2GB free space and when you refer friends (share link) and they install, you get 250MB/referral. 
What are you waiting for? 
Click on the link http://db.tt/xcAYzF1 , install Dropbox and enjoy the benefits! 

Post your questions about Dropbox as comments to this post and I will answer them for you. 
If you are someone like me who can't live without Dropbox, feel free to share this post or comment on how Dropbox helps you. 

Leia Mais…

Monday, July 4, 2011

Testing Mindset: Should we compete against each other?


                          
I participated in a recent competition conducted by www.99tests.com
There was a restriction of 40 testers and limited to 4 days contest. I saw few new testers join this contest. Whenever I join the contests, I do not jump in right from start. I wait for few hours and watch the bugs logged. I observe what areas are being tested, what testing oracles are being applied and so on. One of the advantages of starting late is that I get to know the thought process behind bug validation. What kind of bugs are termed as invalid and what bugs are accepted - these are useful information for me participating in the contest.

So, this time too I waited for sometime before starting my testing sessions. There were close to 20 bugs logged and some of them were validated too. The top three listed on the leaderboard were unknown to me. I love this challenge. New faces, new application and this application was a bit tough to understand. I felt the users had more of read-only access and no rights to create the data. It was different from the usual applications where the bugs danced right in front of you.

End of Day 01: Total bugs logged: ~200
Day 02: ~350
Day 03: ~400

Once the competition ended, a thought stuck me:
What made the testers log so many bugs even though the contest was a tough one in terms of easy bugs?
Is it the mindset of *find bugs at any cost* or *the five prizes* or *the competition mode* that brought out so many bugs out in the open?

In the daily projects, most of the times - there is a bug pattern: xx number of bugs. I have rarely seen so many bugs logged in such a less time. I do agree that the number of testers is different and might be the biggest factor in the number of bugs logged. There is obvious difference in having forty testers testing an application and say five testers testing an application.

It might not be feasible to add so many testers to every project. So, my question is: 
Should the testers test with a competition mindset once a while? 
It might be a good idea to engage a group of testers to test as if there were in a competition and there were prizes for the top testers. Maybe spend ten hours/week and see how it works...

I am going to try it out with my team in few days time :) Idea worth trying?

Image Credits: http://mindspower.com/mindspower-strategies-ii/out-%E2%80%93-innovating-the-competition/

Leia Mais…

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Are you a 99tests tester?

After a routine day at office, I am in my cab to home. Relaxing at the last seat, chewing Center Fresh and listening to songs, I am lost in my thoughts... What makes me confident to take up any testing tasks without any fear? I am about to complete five official years of software testing and looking back, I need to credit my success to many people and many tasks I did again and again.

The long post is reserved for the fifth anniversary. Today I want to highlight how a single community has helped me grow and is helping many testers to grow. Few months ago, when I googled for 'Beta Testers', I hit the site www.99tests.com I registered as a tester and as the site was in Beta stage, there was nothing in store for a 'hungry-to-test' tester like me...

Few months passed, I had even forgot that I had registered for the site when I received the email about a new testing competition. Immediately I joined and found many colleagues from the testing community already in the hunt for the top tester for the competition. Healthy competition and true test of testing skills were on display. The best part about these competitions is the short duration. They are spread over few days (3-5 days) and lots of value to be gained compared to the few hours spent. One gets to know the thought process of many testers, learn different test ideas and earn some money too. I regularly participated in most of the 99tests competitions and had healthy contests with my co-testers.

What have I gained from 99tests?


Time management: Few contests taught me how to prioritize my testing tasks. Though the deadline was two days away, due to the high number of bugs, the competition would end 24 hrs in advance. Such experiences helped me learn the importance of time management and prioritizing the testing tasks.

Test Ideas: There were few competitions where I learnt a totally new test idea which I was unaware of before the competition. The new test idea got added to my list of test ideas.

Customer's Expectations: Though few bugs seemed very obvious, the customer would mark them as invalid. This happened to most of the testers in the competition. I learnt about what bugs actually mattered from the customer's point of view.

Healthy competition: Few competitions were so close that I felt I was playing international cricket. There was a healthy competition to be one among the top three testers.

Test of testing skills: After participating in 5-6 competitions, I tried testing my skills. I joined the competition late on purpose and tried if I could still win it. Sometimes I could and sometimes, the lead was too big to make a entry to the top three.

Variety of products: I must have participated in 7-10 competitions and that means 7 varied products. It is an amazing experience to learn the product, log bugs as per the customer's expectations and win the competition. You need to experience it to understand the feeling.

And I gained some money too...

I am proud to admit that 99tests has played a big role in my learning curve and continues to do so.
I am a 99tests tester. Are you one? 
Better late than never: join www.99tests.com and enjoy testing :)

Leia Mais…

Monday, April 18, 2011

I overcame my fears of Security Testing

Today I am very happy. What is so special about today?
I came 4th in the recently concluded security testing competition held at 99tests.

So, what? How does this make special? You are not even in top 3!
This competition is special for many reasons.

First Time - Security Testing
I have been testing software officially close to five years now. I have found few bugs in every application based on different quality criteria - Functionality, Usability, Performance, Testability, Install-ability but never based on SECURITY.
There were many excuses for that:
  • I don't know Security Testing.
  • I am not skilled in Security Testing and I will never be skilled at Security Testing.
  • I need to have strong programming skills. So, no security testing for me.
  • No one asks me to perform Security Testing for this application. Why should I test for this criteria if the customer has not asked for it?
  • The programmers will not fix the security bugs.
  • The books & resources on Security Testing are many & very costly.
Looking back, I feel I wasted a lot of time! 
As I believe in not taking guilt trips but learning from mistakes and moving forward, let us move on.

Date: 13th April 2011 Time: 05:44 AM IST
There was a security competition on 99tests website. 
Myself and Krishnaveni registered for the security competition.

Competition ends on 16th April - 3 days and 6hrs left

I registered to this competition as I wanted to learn about Security Testing.
How can I miss this wonderful opportunity where testers compete and log some cool bugs. Then a thought struck: What is the fun in watching others log bugs? Why be a silent spectator?
I am aware that I can't run as fast as the security experts but I can crawl if not walk!
So, I decided that I will compete as an active competitor instead of being a silent spectator!
A plan was drafted right there!

  • Convert the .chm to pdf [Converted on April 13th - 07:00 AM IST]
  • Print the book [Printed on April 13th - 01:00 PM IST]
  • Read the book [April 13th - 11:00 PM IST for half an hour]
  • Apply leave for Friday [April 14th 05:30 PM IST]
  • Sleep well [ 4 hours]
  • Read the book [April 15th 11AM IST onwards]
  • Update the computer software [April 15th 03:15 PM IST]
  • Test & log bugs [April 16th 01:30 AM IST - 08:00 AM IST
With the goal in sight, passion inside, silence outside, I started security testing.

The BIG day - Friday April 15th!
I had not slept on 14th night as the build was released to us and I was on leave the next day. When I woke up at 11 AM IST, the body was happy after a well deserved rest of 4 continuous hours.
The book Web Security Testing Cookbook was easy to understand, to the point and very informative.

There were so many topics, each topic teaching me something very interesting. As I had applied leave to office, I had the time and the resources. No disturbances. It was easy to make my family understand about the leave [They are used to my strange ways of working by now].

Lunch Time: 12:20 PM IST
After many days, I had the chance to feast on home food. I love my mother's cooking and it had its own sweet effect. I was feeling sleepy and I had two choices:
                     Sleep now when there is no disturbance or sleep when there is noise/power cut
I did not want to waste time, motivated myself to concentrate, focussed my energy on the goal!

I did not sleep. Slowly but steadily, I was getting confident about my chances in this competition. Time was ticking by, I finished a major part of the book.

Break time: 06:00 PM IST
I took a break. I went for a bath and imagined finding bugs in the application and winning the competition.
Mind was fresh after the bath. I continued reading the book along with comparing notes from OWASP guide.
This continued till 11:00 PM IST. The only breaks were for lunch or drinking water or for toilet.

Trust in Alarm: 11:00 PM IST
I was tired. I wanted to sleep but again the 'What if' question came to my mind. What if I overslept and by the time I woke up, the competition ended? As I had not logged even a single bug by now, I was nervous to sleep. Should I stay awake or sleep for two hours?
I trusted the alarm and the alarm info popped up: 2 hrs 20 mins remaining.
Alarm was set to 01:30 AM IST

Final Push! 01:30 AM IST to 08:00 AM IST
I logged seven bugs - read about the topic, tested, investigated, read, logged.
I was not sure if I had done enough. Should I log three more? Should I log 30 more? No answer as my body was searching for the nearest bed!

To be frank, I was very tired and could not concentrate. I had to sleep. The battery of 2.5 hrs could last only 6.5 hrs. Though I would have loved to log more bugs, i was happy that I gave my best!

Results
I woke up at 12:30 PM IST and first task I did was to browse to the competition page to check out the results. This was the screen displayed:

I was so happy. I am still happy. This competition and the entire 4 days effort would motivate me to achieve my goals. And I want to dedicate this victory to one person who kept on encouraging me right from the moment I registered for this competition. Thanks Krishnaveni.

I have taken the first step - I have conquered my fears of Security Testing. What about you?

Leia Mais…

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

End of Q1 - Progress Report

I am Back!
Wish I could say that but I know that I am not at my best yet. My best is yet to come. 
Looking back at the three months in 2011, I am happy and disappointed with my progress so far.

First the 'not so good' news: 
  • I had few books on my list to complete by March. I started reading all the three books. There are quite a lot to read and learn from each of the books though.
  • I wanted to work on my programming skills but that is still a dream.
  • I could not fulfill a dream. I realized that I was not yet prepared for it.
  • Though I promised many people about many things, that remained as a promise. I did not keep the promise.
  • I started getting up late again. I missed the cab few times. I did not practice writing enough.
So, what is the 'good news' after so many 'not so good news'

The good news is that I have realized my mistakes early enough (hope so) and I have started working hard to get back on the right track.

Thanks to all my friends and well wishers - I am working hard towards my goals.

I will bounce back. As they say  - 
“It's not how many times you fall that matters, it's how many times you get back up.”

I will give in my 100 % in the next nine months. Next progress report is due on July 01st 2011.

Leia Mais…

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Thanks Arul...

Unedited Skype chat transcript of a conversation between two testers.
******************************************************************************

[11:41:54 AM] arulprasath: k
[11:42:21 AM] arulprasath: and then tell me or send me any article which explains
[11:42:30 AM] arulprasath: clearly abot
[11:42:39 AM] arulprasath: web application testing
[11:42:42 AM] arulprasath: for fresher
[11:42:47 AM] arulprasath: in software testing
[11:43:33 AM] Ajay Balamurugadas: Have you googled?
[11:43:37 AM] arulprasath: yes
[11:43:43 AM] Ajay Balamurugadas: and then?
[11:43:56 AM] arulprasath: but they  are not up to standards
[11:44:00 AM] arulprasath: ?
[11:44:17 AM] Ajay Balamurugadas: what do you mean by 'they are not up to standards'
[11:44:37 AM] arulprasath: since you are have exp any article which helps freshers
[11:44:43 AM] Ajay Balamurugadas: hmmm
[11:44:46 AM] arulprasath: thats why
[11:45:09 AM] arulprasath: i am asking
[11:45:26 AM] Ajay Balamurugadas: Agreed. Give me few mins plz
[11:45:39 AM] arulprasath: k
[11:46:51 AM] Ajay Balamurugadas: Arul, let me be frank with you
[11:46:59 AM] Ajay Balamurugadas: To help you, you must help me
[11:47:04 AM] arulprasath: k
[11:47:19 AM] Ajay Balamurugadas: 1. Please understand that what you are asking is a very vast subject
[11:47:55 AM] Ajay Balamurugadas: 2. People will respect you more and you will gain more credibility when you show them what efforts you have put
[11:48:07 AM] Ajay Balamurugadas: If you don't understand anything, Ask that.
[11:48:11 AM] Ajay Balamurugadas: Google that
[11:48:16 AM] Ajay Balamurugadas: Read books
[11:48:20 AM] Ajay Balamurugadas: Read articles
[11:48:23 AM] Ajay Balamurugadas: Blog about it
[11:48:32 AM] Ajay Balamurugadas: meet people who know or talk about it
[11:48:49 AM] Ajay Balamurugadas: and ask if your assumptions or understanding is right or wrong
[11:48:57 AM] Ajay Balamurugadas: Now tell me what should I do?
[11:49:21 AM] arulprasath: k i will do  that
[11:49:25 AM] Ajay Balamurugadas: Good!
[11:49:27 AM] arulprasath: :)
[11:49:37 AM | Edited 11:49:42 AM] Ajay Balamurugadas: I will wait for your results of your efforts
[11:50:04 AM] arulprasath: yes surely
[11:50:22 AM] arulprasath: monday i will send article regarding this
[11:50:29 AM] Ajay Balamurugadas: Very good!
[11:50:30 AM] arulprasath: thanks
[11:50:36 AM] arulprasath: :)
[11:50:36 AM] Ajay Balamurugadas: Can I publish this on my blog?
[11:50:56 AM] arulprasath: yes
[11:50:59 AM] Ajay Balamurugadas: :)
[11:51:03 AM] arulprasath: it your decision
[11:51:14 AM] Ajay Balamurugadas: its involving you
[11:51:15 AM] arulprasath: if you feel it is good u can do
[11:51:21 AM] Ajay Balamurugadas: so, I am asking you
[11:51:31 AM] arulprasath: :)
[11:51:45 AM] Ajay Balamurugadas: I will just copy paste the above conversation into a blog post
[11:52:07 AM] arulprasath: k np

******************************************************************************
I am confident that Arul will keep his promise...

Leia Mais…

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Perfecto Mobile - An Overview

As I had promised last month on twitter about a blog post on my experience with Perfecto Mobile, here it is.
What is Perfecto Mobile? 
To quote them,
Perfecto Mobile is a global leading provider of cloud-based testing, automation and monitoring solutions for mobile applications and websites, utilizing a wide selection of REAL mobile devices accessible via the web.
 So, I got interested in knowing more about them & wanted to use their services.
And they amazed me with their demo, the services offered and the support.

A demo was scheduled and I was briefed through the entire list of features:
* Selection of handsets
* Actions which can be performed on the handsets
* Automation - How to simulate some of the user actions
and most important of all, I was shown a real device and not some simulator!
The actions we performed were on a REAL MOBILE DEVICE.

For someone like me who always heard of simulators & tested on simulators, this was amazing - actions reflected on a REAL device.
I agree that it is different than testing on a physical device but according to me, it is effective than testing on a emulator.

So, once the demo was over, I got few free hours to play around. Special thanks to Sveta for the demo which included a lot of questions from my side. She answered each one of them to my satisfaction.

I was very excited to see if what was demoed actually works !!! Yes, I am a tester - a tester who likes to test to my satisfaction before endorsing a product. I recommend Hexawise, Rapid Reporter and now Perfecto Mobile

With free hours added to my account, I started exploring. I have a Nokia E63 and I was more interested in trying out features of E63.

I did a freestyle exploratory testing session of Perfecto Mobile. Wish I had learnt using Rapid Reporter before testing Perfecto Mobile!

Feel free to go through my overview of Perfecto Mobile.
CLICK HERE to view the report.

As a concluding note, I would like to highlight the advantages of Perfecto Mobile services.
I have tested an iPhone app on a simulator, found bugs which were not present on the actual device. Also, I could not reproduce the bugs found on iPhones on the simulator. Can you see the difference?

Testing on Emulators, Simulators is not equal to testing on REAL DEVICES.
Make use of the services provided by Perfecto Mobile - Variety of handsets, ease of use and most important - you can share your testing activities real-time.


TEST it yourself to BELIEVE it.  

Useful Links:
Perfecto Mobile website
Perfecto Brochure

PS: Let me search for what's an emulator & what's a simulator!


Leia Mais…

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Skype - Paired Investigation for list of commands issue.

Last night was amazing. We had a testers chat on skype.
I sent out this tweet    and Phil Kirkham was the first one to ping me on Skype. Later we had Mohinder Khosla, Tony Bruce, Shrini Kulkarni, Albert Gareev, Michel Kraaij and Bala Sista joining us.
We (me, Phil, Mohinder, Tony) started off with an initial deadline of 45 minutes till 11pm IST. Later, as more testers joined, we extended till 12 midnight IST.

The session was very good. I am assuming that each one of them had their share of learning. During the discussion, after I typed a phrase, I got this:


Immediately I typed what I thought I had typed, in a notepad and tried that on Skype. The same list was displayed again. The text was:
/Knowing what skills is/ might help us define 'skills' better
Calling this as the 'Master Text' for the rest of this blog post 
I decided that I will investigate this behavior later. As soon I got up this morning, I pinged Allmas Mullah on Skype with the text '/xyz/ might help' expecting list of commands.
She replied with a standard '?' . Not surprised with the reply, I explained the purpose of my ping and asked her if we can spend ten minutes to investigate this issue? (It was an issue at that time to me)
By this time, even Allmas had reproduced the issue on her side.

Allmas started off with brilliant questions -
What's the plan of action? What's the strategy of investigation?

I opened my  favorite tool for such sessions - Typewith.me (Thanks to Jon Bach for introducing this tool in WT32).
Chat from Typewith.me
 Ajay: Lets copy paste the commands here & google for that. take the solution & search for the problem in skype support page or google. I am suspecting some answer would contain the words - type 'these words' and you will get the list of commands. Then we can compare our test words & the actual words.
Allmas: Even if you just type '/' it gives you a list of commands. So, its the '/' .
Aj: Good, when I type / I don't see anything in Skype chat. not even the / character.
AM: What version of Skype?
Aj: 5.0.0.152
AM: 5.0.0.156
Meanwhile I click on the link http://www.skype.com/go/help.chathelp which is displayed at the end of the complete list of commands and found this:
To see a list of the available commands simply type /help into the chat.
I pasted this on our Typewith.me chat and tried /help on Skype. A short list of commands was displayed.
With few more tests like
  • Removing few words from the Master Text
  • A / followed by a word. Ex: /word 
  • /(space)word 
  • word/ word

I was thinking that the second / in the sentence was causing this issue & trying more tests like word/ word
and Allmas was progressing on the right track by pointing to me that even a character followed by / gives the full list of commands.
So we arrived at two points:
  • Just '/' does nothing
  • '/' brings up a list of all commands supported by Skype.

Then I realized where I was going wrong and started trying further tests like / in between two lines of text.
Ajay
/test
this

Allmas was highlighting that /command looks like a UNIX command and looking at the language in which Skype was written. I was searching for a user guide which would explain the usage of /commands and I was failing miserably in my attempt. Allmas gave the link. It was at Support link > Step by Step guide.

Amazed by the number of user guides provided, I quickly searched for what I wanted in few of them.
Allmas pasted this:

Does Skype for Windows have command line options?
Yes, you can use these options:
I did not ask for the link or the complete information. I replied with 'I am wondering if Skype connect is different from Skype windows as I am not getting much help from the user guides.'
This did not go well with Allmas as we were on two different tracks :)
What followed was interesting:
To read the unedited chat, please click here.
If you do not want to read the chat, just ignore the link and read further.
We clarified our assumptions, we exchanged our learning.

Learning for me:

  • My belief in my quote: "When we listen and respect each other, Paired testing ROCKS" increased.
  • There is so much information. If you are ready to learn, there is no limit.
  • Be aware of what actions you perform. I remembered what I typed - the Master Text. If I had not remembered it, I might have taken more time to come to the conclusion.
  • Recognizing that there is a trap and coming out of it before its too late.
  • I need more & correct practice.
Special thanks to Allmas who agreed for ten minutes and ended up discussing for ninety minutes.


Useful Links:
Chat Commands: https://support.skype.com/en/faq/FA10042/What-are-chat-commands-and-roles
User Guides: http://www.skype.com/intl/en-us/support/user-guides/

If you are interested in further investigation, try this:
Why does /getba, /get ba and /getbanlist give three different results.
/getba - list of commands
/get ba - blank
/get banlist - executes the command

I would love to be part of such sessions. 
Feel free to ping me on Skype/Twitter at 'ajay184f' and not /ajay184f :)

Leia Mais…