Thursday, August 13, 2009

Bug Rejected – It's Unable to Reproduce!

One of the most hazardous hurdles for a software tester is ‘hard to reproduce bugs’ which truly scrapes up as a nightmare until resolved (At least to me it really is.)

These bugs gave a very tough time during initial stage of my career. I still remember the times when I managed hard to find a severe bug and when tried to proudly show it to my manager or developer, it suddenly got disappear. I used to try every possible way to reproduce it again but most of the times I came up with an embarrassing note (i.e. O God, where the bug gone?) and bashing my head with keyboard in front of developers/manager’s devilish smiles. Though it happens once in a blue moon now too but now I have learnt how to cope with these devilish gestures.

But eventually I realized it’s me who is missing the most important step of s/w testing and thus providing a chance to developers for their gem stones to remain undiscovered. I got to know the importance of ‘Test Reporting’ then. A tester’s efforts can never be termed as complete until unless she is not well equipped with pre and post notes of her test case.

I tried myself hard for being detailed-oriented. It’s my routine now to jot down all important information on my notepad before starting test an application. I follow this technique in every type of testing I do; whether its exploratory testing where you have full authority to play with the build or regression testing where you are already over burdened with testing both old and new features at the same time.

For instance, I try note following information as my Pre-Notes/Steps while testing a web application:

1. Type of browser (IE, Firefox, Chrome, Opera etc.)

2. Version of browser

3. Any extra browser add-ons installed (I often noticed ‘IE Developer toolbar’ messing up with ASP classic applications and generating an IE Explorer error)

4. Java script ON/OFF ( I had to test an invoice print report which had a bar code and it took me time to investigate why this bar code is displaying correctly at developer’s machine but not on my machine. It was a Sun JAVA applet that needed to be installed at my browser to display bar coded labels.)

5. Load images automatically ON/OFF (Must look into this utility before start testing because if you unchecked this utility there could be possibility that your image buttons will display their ALT text and the ALT text sometimes isn’t hyperlinked to correct path at all.)

6. Cookies ON/OFF ( now a days 80% web development is done using cookies capture, be sure about the option you have set for it before start testing)

7. No. of steps you ran through and the exact order in which you carried them out.

8. A short detail of files/folders/a third party utility used with the application being tested (if any).


And information below as my Post-Notes/Steps:

1. Try reproducing the bug again with your written steps and clues to make sure whether you hit the real blind spot?

2. Precised error description and/or error cause (if known).

3. Application version in which you reproduced the bug.

Though it seems time consuming and lengthy but guess what… It really works!

Whenever I try to reproduce any hard to reproduce bug; that childhood story of an ant always sparks in my mind. It was a part of my 6th standard course book and was entitled as ‘Try Again’. The moral of the story was an ant never gives up while constantly falling down the wall and tries to get up the wall each time with a new hope.

I bet there are a lot more things that need to be noted as Pre/Post notes and to know these all I am looking forward to your comments.

|-- Quality lies in the eyes of customer --|


  1. you are right fatima, writing notice is quite important while testing, there are some opensource screen capturing software, which help a lot in tracking steps.

    Nice post, keep posting

  2. fatima ur writing is pretty nice .... its all about what practical testing is and this writing is very very helpful for beginner testers .... it shows the experience :)

  3. @ rishy,
    Thanks very much you dropped by. I'll try keep posting the same kind of chunks in future Insha Allah.
    Though i am not very experienced in terms of 'clock ticking' but always try to get something useful from what I see while testing.


Carry on..Your comments cater me with the ingredients to bake this blog.