Quick Testing Tips Your daily feed of short software testing tips…


Pivotal Tracker for SBTM

Rick Grey and I stumbled on this tip on accident, but it turns out that Pivotal Tracker is quite possibly one of the best tools available for session-based test management. Pivotal Tracker is freemium, and provides a dirt-simple interface and workflow for managing stories. We've used it now for a number of projects, and I've really grown to like this tool as a management platform for testing.

When you use the stories as charters, it becomes an awesomely powerful charter management tool. You can do force ranking of charters so people can pull from the top, assign tags for coverage, track issues and comments on charters, and a number of other cool tricks. The tool also allows for export to CSV for access in the test managers most powerful reporting tool - Excel.

If you do session-based test management - check it out.

This tip was part of a brainstorm developed at the September 2011 Indianapolis Workshop on Software Testing on the topic of" Documenting for Testing." The attendees of that workshop (and participants in the brainstorm) included: Charlie Audritsh, Scott Barber, Rick Grey, Michael Kelly, Natalie Mego, Charles Penn, Margie Weaver, and Tina Zaza.


Sketching with a pencil

Okay, it's actually The Pencil. The Pencil Project powered by Mozilla.


What is that?

The Pencil Project's unique mission is to build a free and opensource tool for making diagrams and GUI prototyping that everyone can use.

Top features:

•Built-in stencils for diagraming and prototyping
•Multi-page document with background page
•Inter-page linkings!
•On-screen text editing with rich-text supports
•Exporting to HTML, PNG, document, Word document and PDF.
•Undo/redo supports
•Installing user-defined stencils and templates
•Standard drawing operations: aligning, z-ordering, scaling, rotating...
•Adding external objects
•Personal Collection
•Clipart Browser
•Object snapping
•Sketchy Stencil
•And much more...

Licensing and Versions:

Pencil will always be free as it is released under the GPL version 2 and is available for virtually all platforms that Firefox 3 can run. The first version of Pencil is tested against GNU/Linux 2.6 (Fedora, Ubuntu and Arch) with GTK+, Windows XP and Windows Vista/7.

And here's what I created as a trial in a few minutes.

On-Screen Data Entry


Sauce Labs

In his talk on screen recording APIs, Jason Horn mentioned he's an avid fan of Sauce Labs and their hosted Selenium solutions. There are a host of features and pricing starts from free (Linux and FireFox, limited to 500 min/month) and goes up to monthly and enterprise pricing. You can try some of the premium services with a free trial if you want to check it out. While I haven't personally used the product, I really like the idea and I'll have to check them out on an upcoming project.



I found really cool web page capture program over the holiday call FireShot. FireShot is a simple tool that lets you capture and annotate web pages. I needed something that would capture more than a simple screenshot since I couldn't size the page small enough to fit it into one image. This was perfect. Snap the shot, mark it up, send it off. Simple - and it's just a browser plugin. Check it out.


Rapid Reporter, exploratory notetaking tool

Today's tip is about Rapid Reporter, a tool created by a tester (Shmuel Gershon) for testers (especially those, who practice Session Based Test Management of Exploratory Testing, SBTM).

If you do exploratory testing, try the tool and let us (or the author) know how did it go.  Otherwise, at least try doing exploratory testing...



Support Details

supportdetailsFor those of you who do web testing, Support Details is a handy little utility for when you report issues. It automatically pulls down information related to the browser you're using, and it allows you to either download that info (csv, pdf) or email it to someone who can look into the issue. Since I have several computers and each has a couple of browsers (all constantly doing their own automatic updates) this is really nice for when I submit something that I suspect might be browser specific.



Today's tip comes as a recommendation from Anthony Panozzo. Anthony found this post from Google on BidiChecker and passed it along. BidiChecker integrates with JavaScript test frameworks to provide support for testing the appearance of bi-directional text (BiDi) data in the UI. You can check it out here.


Bookmark Current Tab Set

I've been using the Bookmark Current Tab Set Firefox add-on the last few days to help me organize different projects/clients.  For each project, I have:

  • a Google doc for my personal time tracking
  • a web tool for client-facing time tracking
  • a tab for JIRA, Redmine, or some other project/defect management tool
  • a tab for whatever product(s) I'm working on (if applicable)

I've also created one for all my blogs, Google Reader, and my Twitter account. That's handy as well for when I feel the need to do some socializing.

When I need to switch gears, all I need to do is close the current browser, open a new one and click on the bookmark set. Then I'm ready to go!


Are you still using screenshots?

pdf-dwnld-logo PDF Download by Nitro PDF Software is a free add-on for MS Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, and Google Chrome.

It allows taking complete snapshot of a web-page and saving it in PDF format. That is, all text blocks, hyperlinks, and other page elements can still be accessed (copied, searched for, etc.) , while potentially harmful content (like JavaScript) is removed.

By default, PDF files are allowed for uploading/downloading in web-based defect tracking systems. From now on, you have an opportunity to provide even more valuable content in your bug reports.

How to install PDF Download

  1. Follow the link.
  2. Download and install the add-on.
  3. Restart the browser

How to use  


Once you are on the page you want to capture (that is, you have it opened in your browser), simply press the button on toolbar, and select an option in the menu.

The add-on places request to a download server, which captures pages, creates PDF files, and sends them back for download.


IP Address Tools

IP Address Tools  is a free toolset provided by

Check out their FAQ page to read about fundamental Web terminology and technologies, explained in a very intelligible manner.

Other tools you may find useful:




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