Sunday, September 2, 2012

Learning from RTI - Recording my testing session

Can you replicate the bug again for me?
How many times have you answered the above question? It might be asked by testers, programmers, managers and anyone interested in the bug. Sometimes, even you will like to replicate the bug. So, lets consider that you discovered a bug, a good bug, a important bug!

Now, you need to replicate but you are not able to! Oh, what do you do now? Try again? Call for help?
You don't have the proof but you have seen it. You were smart enough to take a screen shot too immediately. But, no one is ready to believe you. No one can help you unless you identify the exact steps to replicate the bug. This has happened to me many times. After attending the Rapid Testing Intensive event, I learnt a valuable lesson:
Be ready for scrutiny with some proof of your testing activity.
James Bach recorded most of his testing sessions. In fact, Rob Sabourin had all of his sessions recorded with audio! I was impressed with his work. The first thing I did after returning to work was to install the Fast Stone Capture application. I wanted to test like the experts. I wanted to improve my test reports and testing efforts. I had Jing already installed on my machine but the limit for recording was 5 minutes only. I started recording my test sessions. The first few recordings were huge and covered some unnecessary stuff too.
When I say 'unnecessary stuff', I don't mean Facebook, Skype chats, Google Chat pings. What I meant to say was that it recorded whatever I typed in my testing notes, the time I was browsing through multiple folders, the emails I checked, the testing status blog I updated about the testing session.

Later, I realized that I could anytime pause the recording, complete the tasks and resume recording.

Now, for the benefits and questions part:

What did I gain:

  • A proof of my every testing session: In previous releases, I always had the doubt if it was tested on build 17 or build 15. I can now go to the particular folder, watch the appropriate video - I save my videos with an appropriate name - and figure out if it was tested or not.
  • Attachments to the bug reports: People are now able to figure out the issue better by going through the attachments. This has saved me a lot of time.
  • A happy feeling: I am open for scrutiny once again. I have better answer to what I did in the given time and why a particular test took X amount of time. As a tester, I feel complete (read satisfied) now after this activity.
  • Uninterrupted testing activity: If I notice any problem, I don't stop there and worry about taking a screenshot, calling a programmer or testing on a different environment. I either pause the recording and save immediately or note the time on the video. I will get back to it later.
  • I learn from my testing sessions: I play back the recording in my disposable time and notice patterns of what I do well and how I waste time. The next testing session, I try to incorporate my learning. This is important - As Robin Sharma says - "Many of us are busy being busy". If we don't learn from our mistakes, how will we improve?  

Now for the questions:

  • Is FastStone Capture a free tool? - No, its available for free trial for 30 days. Ask your company to buy the license. Use it for 30 days, demonstrate the value addition and if they still can't afford the 20 USD license, I am sorry. 
  • What about the quality, size of the video? - I like what I got out of this tool. A very important point to note is that the tool saved a eight hour session successfully. I had left the recording open and forgot to stop it. It crashed after 8-10 hrs maybe BUT it gave me the option to SAVE the session. 
  • Is it just a screen recording tool or can it be used for screen capture too? It has very good screenshot editing tools in built and many other options available too. As I use Jing for screenshot, PotShot for screenshot at periodic intervals, I don't use FastStone Capture a lot for Screencapture.
  • Have you tried XYZ tool? I don't know :) Please let me know which tool you use?
This is the first post of a series of posts planned on my learning from Rapid Testing Intensive (RTI) and how I have implemented in my day to day testing activity.

As I mentioned on the last day of RTI, I feel like I am restarting journey as a software tester!  


Siva said...

Try the best I've used so far.

Chris Kenst said...

I think Robert uses Blueberry FlashBack Express:

Amit Kulkarni [Admin] said...

My comment is not about suggesting any tool so you may want to discard as that might not be related to your question.

However, my question is - do you record every session, or what criteria that you decide that you'll be recording this session, and not this one, sort of.



kittu said...

I am using CAMTASIA for my recordings,its also a good one.

Ajay Balamurugadas said...

@Siva: Thanks. Sundar has tested CamStudio and finds the video size to be comparitively huge compared to FastStone Capture.

@Chris: Yes, he used Blueberry s/w. Too costly for me for the value I expect out of the recordings. Thanks.

@Amit: Hey, long time. I record my testing sessions, bug investigation sessions and don't record any unfocused testing sessions.
If I know that I will not test for 45 mins at a stretch, I don't start the recording.

Again, too costly for my needs.

Chris Kenst said...

Too costly how? The software license is free.

Bhuvanesh said...

I used Webex Recorder and webex player tool in my initial days of testing. I recorded the entire testing session of around 1 hour and the file waas also not heavy. The tool is free too.