Saturday, February 13, 2010

Weekend testing EWT05: my first attempt

I read about it, heard about and received the tweets. I was (indirectly) asked to participate. It should be exciting. It must be something new. So I became curious about it.

Initially I started to find excuses not to participate. It is weekend, why testing. I have more important things to do. It is too late or too early. I need to reconfigure my PC. Dinner must be cooked. My batteries are low. I might even thought about starting to write a left-handed course for software testing written by a right handed person. I'm sure when I would have took more time to think about excuses I would have been more creative.

Instead I looked up for the tweets, visited the website, send a PT to Markus, downloaded and installed Skype and registered to the site mentioned above. Confirmed the mail for registration and was ready for business. I thought. This time it seems that acting to get things moving was shorter then finding arguments not to do. I was in the race.

For me it was testing multiple applications. not only was I new to the application which was introduced by EWT. I also am new to Skype and needed to find my way again in the mantis database :)

Somehow I managed to be there on time. "There" was the place somewhere on the Skype-universe. We grouped as a cluster of bugs you sometimes see. Although we seems to be unknown to each other, somehow it felt familiar. Amazing how people with a same goal could be able to communicate with each other. Like bugs, there were some who were introduced on a later moment. They also made a difference in our quest for fun on the European chapter of weekend testers. (you can follow them on twitter by:

As you might have read on the website of EWT the time frame is short, the tour takes just two hours. Like I wrote, I first started testing the Skype. One lesson here is that under time pressure you focus on the goal: " am I able to use Skype within time without reading manuals ready tom communicate with the people I need to talk to?" I have to say that I succeeded that part. OK, I had to close several windows which might be worth reading after all. I tried to search on the email address for "europetesters" and managed to find a contact in Skype. Yes! I was in business. After a while the crowd came together and formed a group.

The process was quite easy: take the time to get to know each other, spend a bit of that time to be polite and say "hello and welcome" and work on smiley’s when someone says something nice. We used the text-part of Skype as far as I know. This we did until the first assignment was given: install a tool called: Virtual Magnifying Glass 3.3.2

Now I can exaggerate how complex this tool is. Keep in mind that there was just a small period of time to test the application. When going into retrospective mode I might tell that the testing starts when opening the website for downloading. There are immediately a few questions which are risen.
- is this the right site?
- is the tool available
- is there a tool which can be downloaded (like I said I didn’t had that much time, it was somehow a kind of challenge for me.)
- which version to download. I have an Windows operating system, only also a virtual machine which is running a Linux distribution. I had thoughts to download also the Linux version. And left that thought due to time as the application was unknown for me.

Just before downloading I asked myself a question I automatically ask myself every time I download something: where to store the application? Normally it would become part of the directory where I store applications. This time I decided that they are part of this testing project and stored in the project folder. Testing starts not only when the application is running. It starts when you first got aware of questions you ask yourselves about the application.

After I confirmed I was able to download the application I choose not to install it immediately. Installation of an application is also something which can be tested. I placed that item into the scope of my test challenge. so I waited until the first mission was mentioned. it was a very vague mission and soon it was sharpen to more words to leave the statement still nothing more then "Test this"

I heard that testers are willing to neglect such an assignment because it is to vague. I'm sure we would be able to spend a lot of the available time to make the assignment SMART. Weren't time which was left more valuable for us so we started testing. As I did also. In the meantime they send us a link with the location where to submit the issues found. I was glad to see that they used Mantis as I worked with that tool.

As the time for testing was started, I missed some of it by registration of myself to that tool. I lost some valuable time because the CAPTCHA was too small; it was too hard to see whether the O was an "O" or an "0". After 4 attempts and actually considering installing the magnifier to support me on this I managed to get a CAPTCHA without those nasty symbols. Like I said, tested multiple applications. I also tested myself.

I managed to subscribe, even manage to find the proper database if was confused and distracted by the subscription issues that an empty database made me think I was on the wrong place. It turns out that no one yet entered any issues. Perception of expectation was distracted by previous experience and also be pushed by time.

After spending valuable minutes to important things I started my tour using the application of the weekend. When starting an application you can ask several questions like:
- will the executable start an installation script?
- or is the application started because it seems a small application?
- will the application start?
- what can I expect?

After double clicking on the executable I noticed a wizard was started. How beautiful a mind works, at that moment I decided to test the wizard and making screen prints of it to make sure when something goes wrong I can reproduce it without installing it again. again I was confronted with lack of good preparation, were was that good screen capture tool I used in the past? On my old PC of course which left me with the plain good old CTRL+ALT+PrtSc combination.

The approach of the wizard was quite easy:
- look at the text
- are buttons working
- can I install on selected location
- what about using the back button
- is the application installed
- is the application ready for usage
- what else can I learn from the application

Sometimes you see in the installation wizard references to manuals. While writing this down I missed to check this. Manuals can be a source of information too. Thanks to the screen-print I can confirm that there is no such reference. (I checked the documentation I made)

The application can be started! The first thing I learned from the application is that my key-combination was of no use because it functions mostly on menu-pop-ups. I wished I had that other tool back again. There was no time to lose anymore as while testing communication was also by us, members. You might think that communication was distracting us, sure it was, every time you need to look who was replying now. Also valuable information was provided. like: " just 10 minutes left".

This left me just to recheck some functions I decided to focus on and to open the folder where the application was installed to check what kind of files were stored. I noticed an editable application file, not only the manual, also the "ini-file"! When time is short and you want to learn about the application in a different way: open the "ini-file" and start messing around, change the value, raise the number, check if the values match what you saw in the application like controls set to 0 or 1. Keep restarting the application. Stress the application using the means you have. In this case an text editor can be valuable.

During testing I found several issues which I submitted to the database. While doing this I noticed that the way writing down issues divers sometimes. Initialy I forgot to write about my system (PC and OS and installed language) I also noticed that the expectation was not always mentioned. I remembered to think in front about what to write down and what the audience is for whom Im writing it down. Although I posted some information like:
- what was the behaviour found
- what was the expectation (after 2 issues)
- which actions used
- reference towards screen prints
- when necessary: which data used

Finally the remaining 10 minutes were finished. Now the wrap up for another hour took place. Here we came up with some good lessons learned. I believe that the next time we could be more active on sharing our experience. I had difficulties not to continue testing as the conversation started late :). After a few minutes the structure was there, a strong part was that we listen to each other and hopefully learned. I did.

So this was a "short" description of my first experience. At the end I had fun and sure will attend again. Thanks!

For me I came up with the following quote: "Minds are shaped when guided under pressure in a certain direction trying to maintain vision and control."


  1. Excellent. Though I am 5 sessions late in commenting, the lessons and the interactions at EWT05 is still fresh in my mind.

    Thanks to your post, I felt I was talking to you about your approach in detail.

    Ajay Balamurugadas

  2. Hello Ajay,
    Was indeed a very good session. Weekend testing is a good way to learn from each other. Thanks for taking the time and make us learn.