"Quality Products Doesn't Happen By Accident. It's A Result Of Good Tests And Hard Work"

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Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Intuitive Repulsion

On Thursday January 17 2007 my colleague Shoukath presented me a puzzle. It is "--/- = --/- = --/-" where - is a number between 1 and 9 and no number must be repeated twice. From the first look itself I got an intuition that the dividends of all the numbers must be multiples of nine and divisors of all the numbers must be factors of nine. I worked that way and I solved the puzzle quickly.

The answer is 81/9 = 54/6 = 27/3. If u asked me about the cause of that intuition my answer will be "I don't know". Even then I followed it and solved the puzzle easily.

My question is "Is it a good idea to follow such instincts?"

In the book "Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking" author Malcolm Gladwell call such a process as "Intuitive Repulsion". The book is all about snap judgments and the contexts in which it proved useful. The author states that "The decisions made very quickly (snap judgments) are every bit as good as decisions made cautiously and deliberately".

I am not sure about weather we should follow such instincts especially when it comes to testing. If following such instincts ends in uncovering bugs then it proves to be really useful. Because delivering (quality) products in time is the major concerns of all management.

And I believe that concept of "Blink" is a two sided blade. It can prove to be useful in times as well as it can mess up your whole testing activity because we are making decision based on little information. So be careful while making decision on weather to follow or not to follow your instincts.

Post Script:
In the post "Quick Oracle: Blink Testing" James Bach describes about "Blink Testing". It is a testing technique that he found helpful. Blink testing is not about snap decisions but about recognizing patterns automatically. He has specified lot of examples where Blink testing will fit. I too tried "Blink Testing" for checking log files, for testing and comparing web pages (I was working on a project for migrating web pages from .Net to J2EE Technologies). And Blink testing really proved useful. Thank you James.

Updated On 02-Feb-2007
I am updating this for sharing some interesting information about "Blink Testing". Pradeep Soundararajan shared this information with me by leaving a comment on my blog. The information is "It was Michael Bolton who coined the term - Blink Testing!". Thank you Pradeep, for sharing such information's.

Here is one more interesting link "Blink . . . or You'll Miss It". It is an article on sticky minds posted by Michael Bolton.

Thanks & Regards

Nishanth Balachandran

Friday, December 29, 2006

Who Is Responsible For Poor Quality Of Software?

The answer is obvious "Testers". Let them be in any form or in any name like QA, QC, or Tester. They are responsible for poor quality of software. Do you agree with this? I hope you don't agree because the answer is wrong. There may be chances that testers are responsible for poor quality of software but not always. "Obvious answers may not always be the right answer".

Beginning Note:
All the statements and claims made by me in this post are my learning from my experience. I have tried my best to make it informative, meaningful and truthful. I have not intended to hurt anyone by the statements in this post.

My Answer:
I believe that every one associated with the project who did injustice to their work is responsible for poor quality of software. It may be the guys of top management who believe 10 women can give birth to a baby in 1 month. It may be programmers who are aware of the existence of a bug but still they are waiting for a tester to find that bug for fixing it. It may be Testers who just merely tested the product and didn't test with passion.

Top Management:
The roles and responsibilities of top management in a project are very huge. They are responsible for recruiting developers and testers, making schedules and so on. While creating a schedule if any doubt about the completion of project with in timeline arises in their mind then they need to rethink about it and reschedule it. They also need to make sure that they recruited right people as well as right amount of people for the project.

I have great respect for developers. There are developers who really work hard and work with passion so that they can develop a quality product. There are developers who respect testers and fix the bugs with real interest. But there also some developers who are aware of the existence of a bug but still they are waiting for a tester to find that bug for fixing it.

Before writing anything about testers I recommend you to read Pradeep Soundararajan’s post "Being a tester V/s Working as a tester". In that article Pradeep shares his learning about two kinds of testers.
a) One who is a tester.
b) One who works as a tester.

I fully agree with his learning. And I am simplifying it again.
a) Good Testers
b) Bad Testers
Good testers are testers who have passion and skill for testing.
Bad testers are testers they lack passion for testing and they are on to testing because they want a job.

If a tester from the second category is testing the software then there is lot of chances to miss bugs. And the result may be poor quality of software. In such cases testers are responsible.

I have heard people blaming and cursing Testers for poor quality of software. For such people I have a request "Before cursing or blaming a tester for poor quality of software please think about other factors also”. Because it is not always true that testers are responsible for poor quality of software.

Thanks & Regards
Nishanth Balachandran.

Friday, December 22, 2006

Is This A Feature Or A Bug? - Updated

Hi Visitors,

This post contains additional information about one of my previous post "Is This A Feature Or A Bug?”. The finding in that post "In IE if a web page is added to favorites, Then it is possible to browse that page by giving the name we saved that page" puzzled me a lot and made me ask you “Is this a feature or a bug?”. If you want to understand more about that feature (or bug) please read that post also.

Now you may ask me "What is the need for this post?”, “What do you mean by Updated?" Yes, I am coming to it. It is another finding about that feature (or bug). And it is "In IE it is possible to browse folders and files saved in the desktop by just giving their names in address bar".

Create a folder in your desktop and name it as “http://www.google.com/”.

Open IE and give the name of that folder in address bar “http://www.google.com/”.

IE will open the folder “http://www.google.com/”.

As in my previous post on the similar feature (or bug) I am writing down advantages and disadvantages.

I don’t find any advantages. Because it is easy to open a folder in the desktop by just double clicking it rather than opening IE and typing the folder name. Actually it don’t make folder browsing easy.

It is similar to the disadvantages of my previous post. In a public internet cafe some one creates a folder or a file in desktop by the name of some webpage (Eg-www.google.com). And if some other guys came here to browse and he gives a web address (Eg-www.google.com) and if it is taking him to some folders or files, then he do not know or care for the reason, he will switch to some other browsers

Further Investigation:
I verified all other browsers (Firefox 2.0, Mozilla 1.7.13, SeaMonkey 1.0.6, Netscape 7.1 and 8.0) to check do they have the similar feature(or bug) or not. And they don’t have such feature (or bug).

I haven’t heard of this feature (or bug) before so I checked IE documentation, Microsoft online support documentation and googled the net. And I failed to find details about this feature (or bug) any where.

This Conclusion is also same as my previous conclusion. This is a bug rather than a feature. Please do post your suggestions also.

Note of Thanks:
I really like to thank James Bach (Great Tester who inspired me through his blog) for leaving a comment in my previous post "Is This A Feature Or A Bug?". Thank you Mr. James, that comment inspired me a lot. Comment from great testers like you will really rejuvenate newbie testers like me. Once again Thanks.

Nishanth Balachandran

A Bug

Hi Visitors,

In this post I will describe about a bug in messenger software I am using. This software is popular, common and widely used messenger software. Yes I am talking about AOL Instant Messenger and a bug I found in it.

Last week me and my colleague Shoukath was chatting on some testing topics through AOL Instant Messenger. Because of some technical problems our internet connection went down and I was told that it might take another 15 minutes to bring it up. So I decided to test the product I am currently using. And I started testing AIM.

In the login window of AIM I entered my username and password and pressed down enter key for a few seconds. Oh God! What is happening? The AIM window just vanished. And I tried to re-open it again by clicking the AIM icon on my desktop. Nothing happened. The window was not opening. It just crashed. Then I took Windows Task Manager and closed the aim.exe application and clicked on the AIM icon on my desktop again. Now it opened the window. I was excited by this finding and tried to reproduce it again. Yes it occurred again. The percentage of reproducibility of that bug is 100.

My Report on the Bug

Product Information:
Name: AOL Instant Messenger
Version: 5.9.6089

System Information:
Operating System: Microsoft Windows 2000 Professional [Version 5.00.2195]
Processor: Intel(R) Pentium(R) 4 CPU 2.66 GHz

Title: Holding down enter key for a few seconds from login screen is crashing AIM

Steps to Reproduce:
1) Download and Install AIM 5.9.6089
2) In the login window give your username and password
3) Hold down the enter key for a few seconds (20-60 Seconds)

Result: AOL Instant Messenger Crashes.

After this I checked the AIM Website for latest version of their IM Software and downloaded the latest version (AIM: I checked for that bug. But this time I didn’t find that bug. They have fixed it in the new version. Great! But still I wonder about that bug. I can coin only two chances for the presence of that bug in the product. One is they really missed the bug or other is they already know about this bug and may be because of some other constraints they released the product with the bug. Any way the bug is present in the AIM Version: 5.9.6089 and that is still available for download as Classic AIM 5.9 from their site.

I don’t know weather some one already had reported this bug or not. I posted this in my blog because I feel it’s worth sharing this information to all my visitors.

Nishanth Balachandran.

Monday, December 4, 2006

Is This A Feature Or A Bug?

Hi Visitors,

To be frank I am in a dilemma, last day I downloaded a copy of Mozilla. My intention was to be a part of the Mozilla Testing Community and test Mozilla. For testing Mozilla browser I used Internet Explorer (IE) as an oracle. I started testing Mozilla, and I reached the bookmarks menu. I compared the bookmark feature of Mozilla with favorites feature of IE. I found a feature in IE that is missing in Mozilla.

To add more to my excitement some doubts crawled into my mind. And my doubt is "That feature in IE is really a feature or a bug". Because that feature has both advantages and disadvantages. And I verified all other browsers (Firefox 2.0, Mozilla 1.7.13, SeaMonkey 1.0.6, Netscape 7.1 and 8.0) to check do they have the similar feature or not. And for my surprise other browsers don’t have such feature.

I hope you all are curious to know the feature. Shall I explain?

In IE if a web page is added to Favorites, Then it is possible to browse that page by giving the name we saved that page.

EG: - Open the link "www.google.com" in IE

Click on add to favorites

In the name field give "G" and click “OK”

Type G in the address bar

IE will load www.google.com web page.

"WOW" was my first reaction to this finding. And as I said earlier I checked all other browsers and for my amusement they all lacked this feature. You may say now "Oh this is an advantage. You were talking about some disadvantages also. What was that?"

I started digging more into it. I started giving G for Google, Y for Yahoo etc and it worked fine. And I felt like it makes browsing easy, a really cool feature. But then I tried to save a web page with the name of some other web page. Eg: - Add Yahoo to favorites by giving name as www.google.com. Oh God what is happening? When I give www.google.com I am getting Yahoo page.

It makes browsing easy.

In a Public Internet cafe some one adds a webpage to favorites using some other webpage name. And if some other guys came here to browse and he gives a web address and if it is taking him to some other page, then he do not know or care for the reason, and they will switch to some other browsers.

Further Investigation:-
I did some further investigations to check weather some where this feature is already specified or not. I checked IE documentation (i.e. help), Microsoft online support documentation and googled the net. No one has specified about this feature any where.

The link for Microsoft online support documentation is http://www.microsoft.com/windows/ie/ie6/using/howto/share/favorites.mspx#EZC

In IE documentation they have only specified “To open one of your favorite pages, on the Favorites menu, click the page you want to open”. And they are not mentioning about a feature like this.

I believe that this is a Bug rather than a Feature. Please let me know your opinions.

Nishanth Balachandran.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Better Be Late Than Never

Hi Visitors,

Let me introduce myself and let me tell you why I am here or what am I doing here. I am Nishanth Balachandran, a software tester by choice and by profession. I am working with Asthra Technologies Private Limited, Palakkad. Being in I.T Industry its already late for me to create a blog. Because its true that today blogs are the main medium for sharing and gaining information. It is better to be late than never. So I am starting this blog and this is my first post.

I believe you all have noticed the name of my blog "Tester's Arena". As its name implies I want to make this blog a playground for all the testers around the world. A playground for sharing and gaining information. I am a newbie in testing industry. By profession I am only 2 years old as a tester and by choice I am a tester from childhood. My pot of experience and knowledge is not very big. So I hope all my visitors will consider the glass as half full rather than half empty.

For my readers who are interested in my blog and are planning to visit the blog in future. I would like to tell you the types of information I like to share through this blog. And that is "Anything and EveryThing" that will improve or that will help in improving testing skills of testers.

Note of thanks:

In this occasion I would like to thank my colleague P.H Shoukath Ali for inspiring and encouraging me to create this blog. I would also like to thank all the great testers around the world who inspired me in testing and also in creating this blog.


Please feel free to pin point my mistakes or criticize me. Good suggestions and comments are always welcome.