Ep 18: What a Tool

What is a tester without their tools? As a manual tester I generally don’t use the coding tools, but that doesn’t mean my toolbelt isn’t nifty.

But first, apparently, the 9th September was National Software Testers day, because on the 9th September, 1947:

While she [Admiral Grace Hopper] was working on a Mark II Computer at Harvard University, her associates discovered a moth stuck in a relay and thereby impeding operation, whereupon she remarked that they were “debugging” the system.1

And while the terms bug and debugging were around before that, it is this incident that is credited with popularising the term. So I hope you all had a good software testers’ day, free of moths in your code.

Moving on to the show, let’s talk about the tools of the trade.

Firstly, we use the Atlassian suite of products.

  • So, Confluence is our document repository, our haven of information. I try to update it whenever I notice something that’s not quite right, so I can contribute to the inconvertible truth that is our confluence. Meeting notes go on there, and you can add actions and mention people by username and they get a notification. I think the only thing missing is multiple people editing like on GDocs. I don’t think you can do that on Confluence, but its functionality that I very rarely need, so I don’t miss it much.
  • We use JIRA to track the bugs, organise sprints and stories, track time, plan time. Pretty much everything.

    I like being able to organise sprints there and plan the developers’ time by dragging and dropping the sprint into their planner, so everyone can see what resource is allocated to which project.

  • Jira is also where I manage my test sessions, make notes, link them to tickets, create bugs, things like that.

    JIRA capture is a nice browser plugin that makes logging bugs on JIRA a lot easier. You can take and edit screenshots, and link bugs/tasks to the relevant stories. You can use templates so all bugs in a project are automatically added with the correct sprint, version, component, things like that.

  • I keep showing clients Jira Capture to try and get them to add annotated screenshots to tickets to help us all, and some have taken this to heart; even if they don’t user capture they add screenshots with annotations to tickets, which is great.
  • HipChat! Useful and fun. We have lots of rooms, one per project, and one for teams, and pretty much anything people want. I use this all the freaking time and I love it. I like being able to check in with people and make sure I’m not interrupting something before going and asking them something – good for communicating with devs and people who are not in the office for whatever reason. The downside is that I have it on my phone and I’m far too quick to reply to things when I’m out of the office – I need to get some willpower!
  • Sublime Text 2: Texteditor
    When I do need a text editor, I use Sublime. It meets my needs simply, and its nice and clean. Good for looking at XMLs if needed.
  • Virtualbox/browserstack. I work on a mac, and so I need virtual machines for various versions of IE (and Edge soon), to test in those browsers.
  • Ghostlab. I use ghostlab when I need to test a site in multiple devices and browsers. Its nice for things that need testing for glitches or compatibility issues as opposed to close feature testing. You can sync multiple devices and browsers, so doing something on one reflects that action across all of the devices and browsers. It saves a ridiculous amount of time
  • Paper journal. This has actually partly taken over from Trello for me at the moment. I’ve found a great system called BulletJournal2, and its a way of organising a to-do list that is structured enough to make it nice and easy to follow/keep consistent, but not too structured. I don’t utilise all of the methods as I don’t need to, but the basics are nice. I also keep a page a day at least for scribbling notes and plans down if I need to get my thoughts clear.
  • Google Calendar. I stalk my colleague’s calendars like no-one’s business. I organise a lot of meetings as scrum master and so knowing people’s schedule is vital.
  • My tools are far more linked to organisation than testing, but then sometimes it feels like I do far more organising than testing. My manual testing requires fewer specific tools, mostly organising and taking notes that scripting or automated testing.

    As always, I am interested to know what tools and process people use, as this is how you learn new things to make you work harder better faster stronger. So please do let me know your favourite testing tools! 😀