All posts by Karlo Smid

Screen size test strategy: always test on smaller screen

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This short post is about simple but effective test strategy that varies application environment: screen resolution.

When you test application, ask developers which resolution they use and then set the resolution for your computer screen to value that is less than minimal developers value. Screen resolutions have some standard values.

For example, if minimal developer resolution is 1440×900, you should set 1280×800.

Developers use large screens with big resolutions, so they are not best representatives for users of your application.

Using this strategy you will find corner view cases. If application view contains a lot of UI elements, then you issue will be dismissed. In that case, when you are testing again that application page, set you screen to larger resolution. But do not forget to set it back to lower one when you are done with that screen.

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Bottom up Heuristic

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This post is about heuristic that I discovered while I wrote rspec ruby test script. Heuristic can be applied in any situation when you investigate errors reported on file line number.

One of my test frameworks includes Ruby where I write test scripts in rspec. I like rspec because it represents domain specific language (DSL) that makes testing code more readable and maintainable.

So yo have been in situation when you run your test suite, and you get test run report that contains line numbers where your check failed.

You need to update your test script. If you start your edit from top to bottom, your script will be no more aligned with test report. Now you have to run test suite again in order to align it again, and that takes time.

It is time for bottom up heuristic. Start your edits from bottom up directions, and you will keep your test report with test script. You will save some test run cycles and become slightly more productive.


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Do not be tester’s police

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This post is about 99 seconds talk that I presented at Testbash Brighton 2017. Idea is that we should not act as tester’s police in agile team.

Doing stand up comedy helped me to do public speaking, and doing 99 seconds talk in front the full Testbash audience was a great experience. Stand up comedy helped me to realize one other important thing. Greg Wilson said in his stand up comedy video course: Do not be the stand up police, you need to worry about you r act in front the audience, not about other stand up comedian acts. Doing that, I improved my stand up comedy act a lot.

Presenting your ideas and knowledge as police officer is not a good approach. How do you feel when you are stopped by traffic police officer? I am always nervous and scared, despite the fact that I had not done anything wrong.

You have to tailor your approach first. When you have some feedback on developer, product owner or conference organizer, try first to understand their line of work.

Being a developer is hard work. New languages, frameworks, IDE, coding katas are what they need to learn on daily basis. So it is possible that they put testing mindset on the side. For start, just try to read some introduction blog posts about their topics.

Project owner has to deal with people and how to direct their talents to final product. And people are emotional machines, they compare with each other, and product owner is in the middle of that story.

Organizing a conference is hard work. Try to organize one, and you will know what I am talking about.

When you comment on blog post idea, do it by writing your own blog post with follow up thoughts. You do not have a blog post and you put harsh words as your comments? Shame on you!

In order to feedback on something, you need to be credible for that. Organize a conference, write a blog post, read about development framework or language. You have to own the right to comment on something.

All 99 talks can be found in this 30+minute video:

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Do not keep your credit card and PIN together in your wallet heuristic

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This post is about testing heuristic : “Do not keep your credit card and PIN together in your wallet”.

Heuristic is commonsense rule (or set of rules) intended to increase the probability of solving some problem [WolframAlpha]. Heuristic is fallible.

Captcha is [WolframAlpha]

a type of computer-administered test, usually in the form of distorted text or images, aimed at determining whether the respondant is a human or computer; used as a security measure on many websites to block automatically generated spam, since computers should be unable to respond correctly

Here is how we can apply this heuristic on capcha problem. Developer finished his captcha code. You hit Chrome developer tool Inspect feature on Captcha element, and you see this:

There is captcha question “odaberi kokice”, and three answers, radio values 1, 2 and 3 with appropriate image.

Can you apply credit card and PIN heuristic here?

Credit card is question, and PIN is radio image name. Image name contains PIN value. So it is possible, using simple algorithm, to automated answer to this captcha. In this example:

if captch_question is odaberi kokice the select img/captch-kokice.png.

In proper captcha, img src must not contain easy decodable captcha answer.

<img src="0efc2e4ab9e04bc9dc66833dbb98505438c26f5557713e53c69090b586e62c4ceff814a5def8174f5c6d417aec5c2d2d1829fafaa9d12b461b3b0fff0ab894a4.png">

Also, having more than three captcha answers helps in your fight against crawlers, spiders and robots.

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Remote agile teams.

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This post is about using narratives in software development. I presented this idea at Brighton TestBash 2017 Open Space session. At that session we had two groups, one group was collocated agile team that is using in person communication almost all the time, opposite group was me, remote tester that is using communication tools most of the time.

We agreed on the premise:

Any software system begins as a shared narrative about a problem and the people who come together around solving that problem.

But first team is for in person sharing of this narrative (less typing), and I am for sharing that narrative using communication tools (more typing).

I do not claim that second approach is better than first one, but I think that using it, team can successfully share software narrative, along with some advantages.

Here is my tool set:

  • Jira or Github + ZenHub
  • Google docs
  • Slack

In one context, Github + ZenHub contains 95% of all information that I need to do testing. Also, communication is going on using github issues application. Slack has 5% of information. Product owner, developer and tester are all remote. So I think this is one of the main reasons why is all information typed and stored.

Because of that, I can always use tools SEARCH feature, to refresh my memory about the software narrative. This includes my own notes. FUTURE ME will read notes from PRESENT AND PAST ME.

So application domain knowledge is not LOCKED in my HEAD. This is risk for me because I can be easily replaced with another tester, but great benefit for the team and product. And this is what counts.

In another context I use Jira instead of Github. Jira has 5% of information, and Slack has 95%. In Slack we have dedicated channels that must properly named and used. As tester, you must be sure that you are subscribed to all those channels in order not to miss software narrative. Slack search feature works like a charm so I can easily travel back to the software narrative past.

Disadvantage being remote is  lack of emotions. Or maybe it is not because one emotion triggers another emotion and then the real job is not done. Also, it is possible to detected some emotions from the text context.

Conclusion? I think that remote positions are new thing of software development and this is one of the reasons why they are repealed by the traditional collocation teams.

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Week 15 reading list

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UX issue in comic book

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This post is about my other passion, comic books. I found one UX issue while enjoying Inkal comic book.

Observe following photo:

Inkal by Jodorowski and Moebius

On the right side, my user experience was broken. Can you identify the issue?

Everybody who reads from left to right, reads comic books in the same fashion. Actually, expects that comic book panels (frames or boxes) follows that flow. On the right side, that flow was broken. Note the arrows put by the editor. Those arrows are there to define panel flow that is different from the other parts of the comic book.

Why? My test idea is that editor needed to satisfy requirement that there must not be empty space on a page.

In first past, I automatically followed left-right panel direction, so I lost the flow. I needed to stop in order to comprehend story flow.

Which is better, empty panel or uninterrupted reader flow?

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What I learned on TestBash Brighton 2017 Open Sessions

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This post is about the last day of TestBash Brighton2017, Open Sessions moderated by Richard Bradshaw. Here are my takeaways.

Open session conference lets participants to propose topics they would like to discuss. This instance was a little bit different than my previous open sessions because each participant could propose only one topic and there was no voting, all topics were arranged into slots.

As you can see from the above photo, last slot was left empty for possible topics created during the open sessions and based on input and ideas received during the open sessions.

Dan Billing’s Proxy Security Surgery

This session was about security testing of vulnerable web application. It is an example of Dan’s workshop. I volunteered to be Dan’s driver while he was presenting security topics. I used Burb Enterprise on Mac, Chrome proxy switcher, and application was ticketmagpie that is available as docker image. We explored from security perspective payment, login and register features.

  • every tester gets scared when he thinks about security testing
  • security testing etics
  • always asked for permission to do it
  • we used burp in passive mode
  • Burp is Java application
  • Charles proxy is Mac alternative
Storytelling in software development

This session was my proposal and it was based on series of blog posts Software as narrative by Noah Sussman. The point is that software development is more like creating narrative. Every stakeholder has its role in novel called software development of application ABC. it was lively 45 minute discussion and I thank to all participants!

Legends of Charlie by David Christiansen

David read first two chapters from his book that is work in progress. I was there because I am currently reading book Writing the novel from plot to print by Lawrence block in order to improve my blog writing skill. And this session produced greatest takeaways!

  • scrivener is mac tool that helps writers to write a book
  • blog frequency: deep academic once a month, funny stuff once a day, experience based (my frequency for last two years), once a week
  • write draft => put it aside =>print it in double spaces => space after chapter => read it and comment
Simon Tomes

We provided to Simon feedback which features we would like to have in Exploratory session tool that he plans to implement. For now I know about following tools:

  • Exploratory Testing Chrome Extension (that I use it on daily basis)
  • Rapid Reporter
Heuristics with Paul Holland

And here we were, three of us, last session about heuristics. And two of us get free 30 minutes Paul Holland (Rapid Software Testing teacher) teaching about heuristics.

  • heuristics is fallible method that helps us to resolve a problem
  • heuristics is like metadata for test ideas
  • for example Test Obsessed Test Heuristics cheat sheet: Goldilocks – Too Big, Too Small, Just Right. Goldilocks is test heuristic which helps you to create test idea for integer input box: enter number 9223372036854775807

I noticed a great number of conference speakers at Open session which is great opportunity for every software tester. I joined and listened conversation between Paul and Anne-Marie Charrett. Topic was removing testers from software development because they represent safety net for developers. Ann-Marie said that what next happens is that software developers will create another safety net.

Paul suggested that next Open Session needs to have exposed names of registered participants as a means of attracting more testers to this valuable event.

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What I learned doing open mic stand up comedy in Brighton

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On Friday morning while I was having breakfast, I googled for open mic stand up comedy Brighton. There it was, Junkyard Dogs was the place at 7pm. I shoot organizer and email and excitement started to grow in my belly.

I have been doing stand up comedy in Croatian for six years, but only last two should be counted for. I have never done it in English. During conference breaks, I prepared my three bits and isolated punchlines that I need CORRECTLY to translate in English.Person on the right was Irish so I asked person on my left for help because he was an English.  He was happy to verify my translation. I was set to go.

I arrived at 6.30 PM. Another thing that I was interested in was to meet Brighton stand up comedians (amateurs like me). What are they thoughts and drives about stand up comedy. 21 people applied (in Zagreb we usually have up to 8 people and Brighton is three times smaller than Zagreb), and they were most of the audience (some brought relatives or friends). Also, I was interested how was open mic conceived.

EVERYBODY was extremely friendly to me. This was very important for my confidence.

Act had 5 minutes time limit. My first English act went very well. Most of my punchlines got laugh, one that were not related to English “known things” did not. That was expected, by I also wanted to execute negative test case.

I had trouble to understand all the jokes because of local accent, English facts and talking speed.

In order to do stand up comedy internationally you either have to do universal material or to do local facts material. And for local facts material, the best way is to experience those local facts.

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What I learned on Testival #28 meetup

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This is learning report on Testival #28 meetup that was held today. Our host was again Repsly in HUB385.

There were 15+ participant with three long talks/hands on presentations and four 5 minute lightning talks.

First we had Dario Đurić from Altima. He presented how to create and test web components. I learned that Polymer is Google framework for web components. As any good framework, polymer has out of the box testing support. Polymer enables developer to couple html, css and javascript in components, making your application frontend easier to develop and maintain in TDD manner.

Marko Elezović from Oradian presented how to write concurrent integration tests for api towards the database. Language was Scala, specs was framework for writing tests. Developed testing framework runs tests concurrently. In order to do that, Marko showed us how he resolved issue where every test suites has dedicated postgres database.

Marko Varat, Repsly Inc: presented UX Testing – Product Development Sanity Check.

I learned about tools UXpin, MixPanel and FullStory, tools that help in testing UX aspects of new features.

There were four lighting talks:  Kreso from Repsly explained how Repsly successfully hired senior tester in tough market, Zeljko presented Selenium bindings in Scratch, Zoran from ButterflyMX explained which frameworks they use in order to do TDD in their  Ruby on Rails project. I presented Ministry of Testing TestSphere cards and possibilities how to use them.


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