Bugs come in through open Windows

Today I’m in a deep sorrow. I lost those two my beloved weirdo bugs which have magical powers.

I think it’s time for me to tell you all their beauty and my silliness. I was testing integration with Microsoft Excel, and, our product has its own ribbon when add-in is installed. In that add-in there is special Insert Object button. That’s the place where bugs decided to live and prosper. After inserting an object which is also an Excel file a blank Excel document would open up, and, cause a lot of trouble: closing it you would close all the file and file’s window would become blank, closing that blank window would end up in Excel not responding. The beauty was that not with all files this would happen. It would just be sort of random!

The second bug was with another part of files who usually did not have the first bug effecting them. So, it seems that everything works great: object is inserted and no blank window appeared. Dream on. Dragging the object Excel’s blank window would open up and flash. Creepy, right?

As a noob software tester, I checked the previous release with Excel 2010, and, of course, there were no bugs like that. I got so happy  and filed them even if later on I was confused several times when bugs did not reproduce. 

Today software developer writes to me and breaks my heart (of course, he is young, smart, and, cute… what else guys like that can do than break hearts?). It figures out that non-integrated Excel cannot handle its own Excel files inserted as objects. So, at least one bug, is not our problem, but Excel’s. Another bug is sort of a “son” of the previous one. Our add-in even solves the problem somehow for some files. So, that blank page does not show up, but flashing appears. Our guess is that it’s just an effect of this “father” bug. 

Of course, I wouldn’t be me if I did not say to a developer that he made me sad, and, I feel like a mother who just figured out that her two kids are actually not hers.  Our scrum calls are more than formal, but today that developer could not hold himself and started laughing when telling about discussing the bugs with me. 

To sum up, the lesson I’ve learned today:
It’s not always your products fault, check the native application, because Bugs come in through open Windows, and, well, everything else that’s made by Microsoft. 

It’s a Bug’s World… and Artistic Discoveries

Bugs love playing silly hide and seek games, and, breaking the rules. However, for a software tester aka seeker, it may be quite tricky to find the bug when it has magical powers!

Magical bugs know the secret of becoming invisible at the right place and time. Seeker comes nearby and bug simply disappears. Magic happens! At least their magic has its limits and cannot keep up with seeker’s patience and persistence. After a while it gets caught, and, then again, when seeker tries to write down an instruction for his best friend collecting bugs – a developer, then the bug again tries to hide. This may be tricky, but those bugs are most valuable.

Today two witty bugs fooled me! They were written down by me, but testing a new build – I did not find them and thought that maybe they got fixed with other bugs, so I talked to manager and dev leader about it. They agreed that it’s madly strange and those bugs are very witty, but we can mark them as No action… However, the real story was that those bugs just used their magic in the new build and hid under their invisibility coats. So, I even started to doubt their existence. However, I got really ashamed of myself and, tried to prove, that they actually exist… And it worked out. Though description is pretty awful: the bug may appear and may not appear – depends on his mood. Please be patient trying to meet with him. And, I’m so ashamed that I doubted bugs and changed their statuses 3 times today… But now they are caught and ready for the fix once again!

Also, bugs are preparing for winter. It’s madly cold outside, so, some of them were given gifts – pretty clothes by our team. Why so? Because we love taking care of our little bugs. Some of them are now fancy and will never be fixed, we have pet them… and they became… features! (Some people believe that the reason is not that we love bugs, but… that developers are lazy to fix them.).

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What is more, I must share you my artistic discoveries. Looking at biographies of bugs, I found this beautiful Excel file with pretty art in it. The tester who created that biography loved the bug so much that created brilliant environment for it to prosper. The artist’s name is Evgeniya Gapchinska. Lovely, playful and happy paintings. Check her out! While I found one with… a bug (how ironic). (:

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The Perks of Being a Software Tester

Today is exactly one month since I started my job. For this reason, I decided to give you a little treat and name all the best things you get with becoming a software tester. 

1. Software-awareness. 
Here I’m not just saying that you will learn more about the software you are testing. The more experience you have with software, the more comfortable you are to try out something new and make your life easier. Attitude on software just widens up making you try out features you never used before.

2. Ability to try out new software products.
Try out may be even a too humble expression as it is so much more than that. Being a software tester you participate in the process of creating a good software product. This makes you get to know the software really well. When it comes to testing integration, you get to try a lot of different products, for example, Autocad, Office, etc. All the newest products are there for you to try out. Of course, most of the job may be based on integration part, but you get to know the in-built flaws, and, new features, of the software. All of this allows you to learn more about what’s in the software market right now, try the product out legally, and, get to know what’s new in this new version of it.

3. Software testing is dynamic and full of constant learning.
There may be days that are bug-free, and, full of sadness by being repetitive, but, in general, being a software tester, allows you to test all kinds of different software. Usually, there are projects and they don’t last too long. For example, a new update for this product is coming to the market at a certain date, and, of course, the release build has to be bug-free. However, usually testing and fixing bugs for a new release may take only a month or two if it’s just an add-in. This means that you move on from one product to another, and, you learn new things constantly.

4. You are not scared of failing anymore.
First, I thought to name this “Being a software tester awakens your inner child”, but fail is the thing that inner child is not scared off. Children can be quite rude with their brutal honesty and bravery. They are not concerned what people think of them, they fall and get up, they are not afraid to try new things and are curious. Later on in life they get full of society’s norms and rules, and… become adults. Adults who are thinking of what others may think and are scared of trying new things in order not to fail. Being a Software tester breaks this attitude so much. We get happy when something fails. Software testers are not afraid to try something totally silly: what happens if I press on this big red button? (Adults would shout: Just don’t press the red button!). This changes the attitude on failing in life on the whole. It’s fine to fail, even the best products fail, so, let’s try and see what will happen. Let’s be playful.

5. Software testing improves your concentration and memory.
You will not do tasks mechanically, some bugs are really difficult to find, and, the road to their cave is not straight. Software tester must remember what kind of turns were done before in order to get there.
Once we got a really buggy build. To make matters worse, the product on which the integration was tested, changed. So, my developer came to me to see how the integration is working now. He did a lot of random things so quickly, I was trying to follow, but it was a challenge. Then after a while he modifies the Excel file, does some random commands in between, and, tries to exit the file. Instead of expected “Do you want to save?” message there comes nothing, and, that new file just turns off with all the modifications. The developer says “Oh, that’s no good. If I worked a few hours on that and it just turned off? All my work would go to waste.”. However, the developer did not remember himself what he did, and, the worst part was that me and my colleague could not sleep calmly after failing to reproduce that bug for 2 days. Today I caught it. Testing something else and playing around, I found THE BUG. I could not be happier. It was not easy to be very concentrated and try to make the same bug with as little steps as possible in order to find the real cause.
The main thing is that you cannot relax when searching for bugs: your memory has to store steps, and, you must be really concentrated in order not to miss the bug. No mechanical work is found here.

It’s raining bugs… Hallelujah?

After a long wait, my first bug was discovered. First bug filed. Though, this made me have mixed feelings.

Of course, I am very happy, indeed, to have found it. However, our new build is so buggy, that it even hurts a bit for me to file a new bug. What a pain it is for developers, and, I want our product to work perfectly. I shared those mixed happiness/sadness feelings with my fellow colleagues just to make them burst from laughter: “Oh, new software testers, they are so naive and still thinking about developers… Be happy that you found a bug. It’s your job. You do that, and, you’ll never be friends with developers.” 

After that first bug I found 4 more undiscovered ones… And, there is no light at the end of the tunnel yet! This build is very buggy and some bugs are parents to others… One tiny bug can go a long way!

I feel like today was my first real working day. I am tired, it was a busy day and lots of bugs are still waiting to be put in their tiny cages… I’ve learned a lot.

My last today’s bug was such a beautiful one! It was basically that all integrated dialogs, for example, open a file, had it… Imagine you press on open, a dialog appears asking you to select a file. There is a quick search field. You enter something, for example, ‘*.doc’ and by pressing run search, your documents with .doc should be nicely put in that window. I wrote it in, and, all the software got unresponsive. It just got all disabled. Even the red exit cross was unresponsive and disabled. What a wonderful bug! Made all the application somehow crash. Brilliant. I am truly proud that I found it. 

Housekeeping in testing

During my first job interview, I was overly-excited and happy. I wanted to become a software tester. I liked the tasks given, the questions asked. Then I decided that even if job market is not for me – I at least enjoy going to job interviews! I wish it was paid… 

One of the questions was about monotony at work. They asked me whether I think the job is going to be boring. Of course, I said no way and told them how cool it is to be a software tester! What kind of monotony are we talking about? It’s exciting, it’s out-of-the-box, it’s dynamic. My then-interviewer (now-boss) calmly replied that some days can actually be boring… Now I get it!

We finished our old-project and had to start another integration with different software. Excitingly, I prepared my fresh Windows 8 virtual machine… I turned on the software, and… integration is not there. Hmm, I try re-installing the build – same thing. Then, we figure out, that the build is not working. With no integration in software – we cannot do any integration testing… 

Now it has been 2 days with no build (writing this I feel as sad as if it was ‘2 days with no food…’). This means it’s a nightmare for software developers who are struggling to create a new one, and… It’s a nightmare for testers, too. We are working as secretaries now! Sooner or later this had to be done, but, at least it could have been between the breaks of testing. We do… housekeeping.

Housekeeping in testing basically means that we are updating old test plans according to the new release of the software (GUI changes). Also, most of the test plans are from 2006 and just shout for a make-over to our new test format. It’s a lot of copy-paste, formatting and document creating in Excel…. I dislike it sooo much, and, want to test things again!

Oh, God… Wait, no…. Oh, developers, please develop the new, working build…

Laziness of developers, tears on updates, and, fear of bugs

Feature tracking was quite an interesting test plan to do! We log in into integration server and see what kind of feature ID some of our actions get. For example, I have two verticals installed on my virtual machine: plain AutoCad and Autocad Civil 3D. Opening files in them gives me some kind of an ID in the license log list. Having in mind that we are testing integration with our product – the ID has to be different for integrated and non-integrated actions. 

The funny part about the test plan I did was that it was the best proof how lazy developers are. Two bugs in that test plan were not fixed at all because developers were waiting for approval of some kind of ‘higher’ people. So, they decided to re-schedule them to the next release. Of course, I did not get anything new – same bugs live and prosper when it comes to feature tracking. 

I thought that in the morning creating a new virtual machine with two verticals is going to be my longest wait for Windows updates, but… I was wrong. During our scrum meeting, I noticed that my computer is acting weird – the sound would disappear at times and a table with ‘your computer is causing sound problems’ made it clear that something’s bad. I am using this oldie computer with 4 GB RAM which is too little and made my surfaces load forever. Finally, the IT guy woke up and said that my computer is so old that they cannot add more RAMS, so they will just change all the computer. Well, it’s great, but I’ll need to set up all my work accounts and virtual machines once again (more updates!). So, now realizing that these are his last days of staying alive, the computer decided to install windows updates automatically causing everything to be so slow. I pressed shut down. 

It took 1,5 hours to install updates. 83 updates, then later on configuring when it’s restarted. I thought I will cry. It was not on my virtual machine – it was on my work computer. I could not do anything! What a waste of time, but, well, it so makes sense that even if we work 8 hours per day, only 6 are for testing. 2 left over hours are for irritating developers and setting up working environments… I both love and hate updates: it’s a must to have it to work properly, but takes ages… 

Our add-in’s release is going to happen next week if everything’s as it’s planned. Now we are into the final stage of testing. I took the first cursory test I looked at to test now. There was this one test case which was not executed with a comment that this feature was not in AutoCad versions before 2013. However, the tester who did the test before me was executing it with AutoCad 2013 and still left that case as not available. I decided to check it out cause the test plan itself does not have too many bugs and is pretty simple. And… Well, it’s a tricky test case. AutoCad itself does not have that feature implemented perfectly, but… It’s possible to do it. However, all the test case would fail because our integration is not working. 

This would make me happy if it was not the final stage of testing, because if now my bug will figure out to be a bug for this release – then, oh well, all the release will be postponed and a lot of test plans will need to be re-executed. And… developers will hate me, too. 

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